January 25, 2022

Report: “U.S. Court Ruling Sparks Debate Over Access to Laws in the Digital Space”

From Government Technology:

It seems like a given that the public should have easy access to any laws that govern it. But as digital technology has redefined what constitutes access and ease, the idea has become increasingly complicated.

This debate was at the center of a recent court ruling that questioned whether technical standards created by private entities and incorporated into law can be copyrighted. The answer, as passed down by a U.S. District Court, was indeed they can, and anyone who subsequently posts them online is committing a copyright violation.

This ruling was issued Thursday, Feb. 2 by U.S. District Court Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of Washington, D.C., in a lawsuit brought against Public.Resource.Org, a site dedicated to the promotion of free municipal, state and federal legal codes. The plaintiffs in the case were a group of standard development organizations responsible for underwriting technical standards about building safety, product specifications and other consumer interests.


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See Also:  “Public.Resource.org Files Countersuit as “Georgia’s Legal Battle with Public Records Advocate Deepens” (September 16, 2015)

See Also: “State Of Georgia Sues Carl Malamud For Copyright Infringement For Publishing The State’s Own Laws” (July 24, 2015)

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.