January 27, 2022

Techdirt: “State Of Georgia Sues Carl Malamud For Copyright Infringement For Publishing The State’s Own Laws”

UPDATE: The court docket (via PACER shows) that a summons was served to Public.Resource.org today and the organization has until August 14, 2015 to answer.

From Mike Masnick at Techdirt:

Two years ago, we wrote about the state of Georgia ridiculously threatening to sue Carl Malamud and his site Public.Resource.org for copyright infringement… for publishing an official annotated copy of the state’s laws.

This followed on a similar threat from the state of Oregon, which wisely backed down. Malamud has spent the last few years of his life doing wonderful and important work trying to make sure that the laws that we live by are actually available to the public. The specific issue here is that while the basic Georgia legal code is available to the public, the state charges a lot of money for the “Official Code of Georgia Annotated.” The distinction here is fairly important — but it’s worth noting that the courts will regularly rely on the annotations in the official code, which more or less makes them a part of the law itself. And then, the question is whether or not the law itself should be subject to copyright restrictions. Malamud has long argued no, while the state has obviously argued yes, probably blinded by the revenue from selling its official copy of the annotated code.It took two years, but the state has now done the absolutely ridiculous thing of suing Malamud.

Read the Complete Techdirt Blog Post

Note: Included on a list of many career achievements, Carl Malamud was the first person to make SEC’s EDGAR database available on the Internet when the SEC said it couldn’t be done.

Mr. Malamud discusses this in a 2010 interview with WNYC’s “On the Media.”

Hat Tip: Matt Weaver

Complaint: Code Revision Commission et al v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc. by LJ's infoDOCKET

AO 121 Form Mailed to the Register of Copyrights Office

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.