November 27, 2020

Center For Democracy & Technology: “Paywall to Georgia’s State Legal Code a Broad Misapplication of Copyright Protections”

From the Center For Democracy & Technology:

The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) has joined our colleagues at the ACLU Foundation and the ACLU Foundation of Georgia in filing an amicus brief in Code Revision Commission v. Public.Resource.Org. The brief calls on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to preserve equal access to justice by upholding established precedent that bars the state from copyrighting its laws. We are joined on the brief by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.

The case is shaped by the unique circumstances under which the state of Georgia publishes its official state legal code, known as the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA). The state publishes only an annotated version of its state law, which serves as the legal code that state agencies, courts, and lawmakers rely upon and cite to. Georgia claims that because the OCGA contains annotations, it transforms the code into a copyrightable work that can be sold for profit. As a result, to gain access to the official version of the laws that govern them, Georgians can do so only after ordering it from a legal publisher for $395, not including shipping and tax.

Read the Complete Blog Post

Direct to Full Text of Amicus Brief (29 pages; PDF)

See Also: Library Copyright Alliance Joins Amicus Brief: Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc.

See Also: Report: “U.S. Court Ruling Sparks Debate Over Access to Laws in the Digital Space” (Feb. 16, 2017)

See Also: Techdirt: “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.

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