It Was 37 Years Ago Sgt Pepper Taught LN To Make Billions

A little bit of nostalgia from Wired magazine this week who penned this small piece on the birth of LN..Did you know that turn over was $US2.8 billion in 2008 .. interesting how 2010’s figure will compare to that

They write:

1973: The law goes electronic, as the private computer-information service Lexis launches publicly.

The original Lexis product was limited to full-text searching of all cases in Ohio and New York. It took the company seven years to finally complete its manual indexing of all federal and state cases in the United States. That same year, Lexis added Nexis, a searchable database of news articles.

LexisNexis now competes with WestLaw for pricey contracts from law firms, universities and even the federal court system to provide full-text access to the nation?s legal history.

Many legal decisions, and nearly all legal filings, remain locked behind a paywall in the feds? antiquated online PACER system. LexisNexis and Westlaw buy those documents in bulk, annotate them, add proprietary case-reference codes and link them to other documents. Law firms pay top dollar for that service, even in the age of Google.

LexisNexis now claims to index more than 5 billion documents, including services that search through public records. Law enforcement, corporations, media outlets and universities subscribe in order to view criminal histories, read newspaper archives and comb through public documents.

It?s a profitable enterprise, even in a global recession. LexisNexis recorded $2.9 billion dollars in global revenue in 2008, with $713 million of that counting as profit. That?s a profit margin of 25 percent.

Which is to say that though information may want to be free, people remain very willing to pay for curated information 37 years after LexisNexis first offered its services.

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