DOJ Moves To Open Microsoft Case Records

The Department of Justice proposed to provide copies of the public comment made regarding its proposed settlement in the antitrust case against Microsoft on free CD-ROMs.

Anyone who wants a copy of the of the comprehensive public comments made under the Tunney Act proceedings, which formed part of the proposed antitrust settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Microsoft Corp. , may be able to get one for free if the if the U.S. District Court in Washington accepts that proposal from the Justice Department.

The Department on Thursday said it would be able to afford to distribute CD-ROM versions of the public comments made under the Tunney Act proceedings at no cost.

In a motion filed with the court, the Department said the "CD-ROM(s) will permit access to the comments using the unique identifier numbers or, separately, using a list of substantive issues raised by the comments, and will be text searchable within each comment or group of comments.

"The United States will provide free of charge one copy of this CD-ROM or set of CD-ROMs to each individual person and five copies to each library or other institution that requests it. The United States will provide, at cost, additional copies above these limits to individuals or institutions upon request," it said in the motion.

The Department also asked Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to allow it to withdraw its prior proposal to develop a separate mechanism to distribute free CD-ROMs of the comments to public libraries in every state and to provide copies of the CD-ROM or set of CD-ROMs at cost and replace that with this proposal.

The latest proposal "combined with the other procedures in the United States previous proposal, particularly the posting of comments on the Internet … will ensure an unprecedented level and ease of public access to the Tunney Act comments without the massive and unnecessary expenditure of millions of dollars that would be required for full publication in the Federal Register.

The substituted procedure would further accomplish the Courts original goal of ensuring that anyone who wanted to review the comments but did not have access to the Internet or the means to buy an electronic copy of the comments would now be able to obtain them at no charge, the Justice Department said.