# Possibility of obtaining copies of court documents

I recently read about the court case Reed v. Cognitive Media Networks Inc., et al., Case No. 3:15-cv-05217, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. This case is referred to as Vizio Smart TV Tracking Software Class Action Lawsuit on this site.

In this lawsuit, plaintiff Palma Reed of California accuses Vizio and their partner Cognitive Media Networks Inc. of hiding tracking software inside Vizio TVs. This was done with the intent to monitor in real time what programs consumers are watching and then reporting this information to a server operated by Cognitive Media Networks Inc.

I would be interested of obtaining copies of the court records but I am not in any way related to this case.

Additionally this case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, but I live in Florida. So if there is a way to obtain the documents, it would have to be done either online or by postal mail.

Is it possible to obtain copies of these court documents, and if so, how can I do it?

## TLDR:

• Install RECAP, use PACER.
• Beware of costs, which run up quickly.

PACER is the place to get these documents, but PACER is not free, and the sign up is pretty horrible.

• 10 cents per page for things like PDFs, capped at $3 per document. • Search results cost 10 cents per "page" retrieved, with no cap (i.e., be VERY careful what you search for). • Dockets (long tables listing the documents in cases) cost 10 cents per "page" capped at$3.
• There's $15 free per user per calendar quarter (January-March, April-June, etc). Exceed that amount you get charged the full price. Search results and dockets are priced by the "page", but if you dig deeply, few people within even PACER itself know what a "page" of a docket or search results is, because those are just web pages. If you dig deeply enough, you'll eventually learn that web pages are priced by the amount of data retrieved from their back end database, at a cost of 10 cents per 4320KB of data (it took me two weeks to get that answer). The Judicial Branch makes about$140M/year this way.

Finally, you need to know that PACER isn't a single system, but rather is about 200 separate installations of the same system, one per courthouse, each with its own website. The one you want is the Northern District of California.

• It should be noted that RECAP is explicitly legal. Federal court documents, as works of the federal government, are categorically ineligible for copyright, so they fall into the public domain as soon as they are produced. – Kevin Nov 25 '15 at 2:57
• Except that pacer does not charge unless you hit a threshold in a month. – user3344003 Nov 25 '15 at 14:36