PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) is raising fees by 25%, from 8¢ to 10¢ per page, in order to accommodate an increasing need for system support. The rise in cost will also go towards developing the next level of electronic case filing. PACER fees last rose in 2005 from 7¢ to 8¢.
In an attempt to lessen the blow for public entities such as local, state, and federal government agencies, the change will not go into effect until three years from now. In addition, users who spend less than $15 per quarter will not be charged, which surprisingly means that ¾ s of all users do not pay PACER fees.
Despite the fact that only 25% of users pay fees, PACER can still expect over $100 million in revenue once the changes are in place. Since these fees are only meant to be used for covering operation expenses, it makes one wonder how much it costs to maintain the site. It seems the fees are also being used for things such as court room renovations with flat screen TVs and better sound systems. But with a different PACER site for almost every judicial district, maybe little boost is needed to get things in order.
RECAP is a free Firefox extension that tells you when a record is available for free download via the Internet Archive.