Technical Free Copy Questions

  • Does the one free look pertain only to the main document, or does it include all attachments?

    The one free look pertains to all attachments, as well as the main document filed.

  • I click on the document number link and nothing happens. Why?

    Try updating your browser or downloading the free Mozilla Firefox browser.

    Alternatively, PDF reader software may not be installed on the computer you are using.

  • When I click on the link in my e-mail, why do I get a blank screen?

    It is possible some of the settings on your PDF viewer are incorrect. If you are using an Adobe product, try the following: Click on Edit >> Preferences>> Internet >> uncheck Allow Fast Web View and Display PDF in Browser.

  • When I click on the document link in my e-mail notification (NEF), why am I prompted for a login?
    • If it is a Social Security case, you may need to log in so the system can verify you are an attorney of record.
    • If 15 days have elapsed since the document was filed, the free copy has expired and you will be required to log in.  You will be charged for viewing the document.
    • If the link has been used, you will be charged for viewing the document.
  • If I forward an email notification I received to another individual will that individual be charged for viewing the document?

    The document within an email notification (NEF) is accessed by a hyperlink.  This hyperlink takes you to a site that will allow the first viewing to be free.  The first individual to click on the hyperlink within the NEF email will not be charged.  If you forward the email notification without viewing the document, the recipient of the email will be able to view the document for free.  Anytime after the first viewing, a charge will be incurred to view the document.  The document should be saved to a local hard drive during the first viewing.

  • Will I be billed by PACER if I click on the docket sheet report hyperlink located on the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF)?

    Yes. Clicking on the docket sheet hyperlink found on the NEF will cause a PACER login screen to appear if you have not already logged into PACER. Once you have completed the login screen you will be presented with the current docket sheet for that case. Access to the docket sheet will result in PACER charges. For full details regarding PACER fees, go to

  • Is there an expiration with the one free look?

    Yes. 15 days from the date the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) is sent to the recipients.

  • Can an attorney's support staff receive a copy of the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) e-mail?

    Yes.  Attorneys may add support staff as secondary recipients through the “Maintain Your E-Mail Address” screen on the Utilities page of CM/ECF.  For more information, click here.

  • Who receives the automatic e-mail notification?

    The e-mail notification goes to the e-mail address of the registered attorney of record in a case and to all secondary email accounts associated with the attorney’s account.

  • How do I receive my “free copy” of a document?

    Each attorney of record in a case or pro se litigant will receive an email containing a hyperlink to a filed document. One free copy is available to each party of a case (e.g. attorney of record or pro se litigant) and any secondary address on the email information screen within CM/ECF. The free copy does not apply to transcripts.

  • I’m no longer attorney of record in a case but I’m still receiving the e-mail notices for the case. Why?

    An attorney of record will continue to receive email notifications in a case, even after updating his or her contact information with a new email address, until the attorney is terminated from the case.  To terminate yourself from a case, you may need to file a notice of withdrawal or a request for approval of substitution or withdrawal, depending on the circumstances.  For further information on that subject, click here.

    If you changed your email address, you may have updated “all” cases, instead of only the cases in which you are still attorney of record.  Call the ECF Help Desk for assistance in updating only your current cases.

  • Are there any reasons why I wouldn’t receive my court generated “free copy” e-mails?
    1. The most common reason for non-delivery of court emails is that the email has been identified as spam either by the recipient or automatically by the user’s Internet Service Provider (ISP).  If a recipient inadvertently identified a previous court email as spam, the ISP may be blocking email from the court.  Contact your ISP to rectify this situation. Some ISPs may automatically route court email to a junk or spam mail folder.  Check the junk, or spam, mail folder and mark the email from the court as not junk mail.
    2. The attorney may have moved or the firm changed e-mail addresses and the attorney has not updated his/her e-mail address in the system.  If email begins to bounce and the Court cannot contact the attorney at the address on record, the email address is deleted.  Counsel would then only receive documents by U.S. Mail at the address on record.  For information about updating an attorney’s contact information, click here.
    3. The attorney is not on the case docket as counsel of record.
    4. The recipient may be receiving a Summary of the Notices of Electronic Filing and not the Individual Notices of Electronic Filing.  There are two types of automatic notification, Summary and Individual.  Some attorneys prefer to receive the summary while having their secondary addresses receive the individual.  The summary is sent to an attorney just after midnight and contains all the activity in the attorney’s cases for the previous day.  Individual notices are sent each time activity occurs on a case in which the attorney is counsel of record.  To change this preference, go to “Utilities” on the blue menu bar at the top of the screen, click “Maintain Your E-Mail Address,” select an email address, and choose either “per filing” or “summary report” in response to the question, “How should notices be sent to this e-mail address?”


  • Will I be billed by PACER if I access a PDF document through the Notice of Electronic Filing (NEF) more than once?

    Yes.  Users are encouraged to save each document the first time it is viewed for subsequent access.