There was an article on slashdot the other day, about how legal information is only available to those who can afford it. The original article is here. I have a few issues with this article, and not just because I work for one of these companies, in the group that develops one of the products. Despite the fact that she claims to know what she's talking about, she misses the boat completely. Westlaw and Lexis provide value added content to legal documents, and charge for that. The average Joe American can't generally afford to use these services, as they are expensive, and that was a key point in her article, but I contend that even if they were cheap to use ($20/hour), it would still be unrealistic, as the services aren't geared toward non-lawyer types. From a business standpoint, it doesn't make sense for West and Lexis to give their products away to Libraries, as every lawyer in America would go to the local law library to do research, and West and Lexis would be out of business. It irks me sometimes that people don't think.