Appeals Court Tells Georgia: State Code Can’t be Copyrighted
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Appeals Court Tells Georgia: State Code Can’t be Copyrighted

In a democracy, people should have the right to read, and publish, the law. In theory, that should be easier than ever today. The Internet has vastly improved public access to the “operating system” of our government—the local, state, and federal statutes and regulations we are expected to abide by. Unfortunately, some states have actually fought against easy access to the law. In Georgia, state officials have used copyright to extract fees and reward companies with state contracts. On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11 th Circuit handed down a powerful opinion that struck down the state of Georgia’s attempt to use copyright to suppress publication of its own laws. The ruling, which gives Georgians the right to read and publish the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, or OCGA, may also improve public access to legislative documents in other states. It’s just in time for this year’s Open Access Week , a time to celebrate the social benefits that we all reap when information is readily accessible. The case originated when Georgia’s Code Revision Commission threatened, and ultimately sued, open records activist Carl Malamud and his organization Public.Resource.Org (PRO). In an effort to make Georgia’s official […]

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