Legal Technology has an interesting article about Carl Malamud, the guy who's committed to making US caselaw freely available online. The article describes in detail the battle he's waging with Thomson West. He wrote a letter to them saying, "Codes and cases are the very operating system of our nation of laws, and this system only works if we can all openly read the primary sources." Two weeks later, the Thomson deputy general counsel and Vice President replied, highlighting "three categories of original work in the Reporters that West believes are subject to copyright protection," and signaling Thomson's willingness to defend its copyrighted intellectual property.
Interestingly, if lawsuits ensue, Malamud has friends and funding -backers like Silicon Valley philanthropists such as eBay founder Pierre Omidyar-and, more controversially, Google Inc.