The Law©?
Art Law

The Law©?

Christopher Lee for The New York Times No one owns the law, because the law belongs to everyone. It’s a principle that seems so obvious that most people wouldn’t give it a second thought. But that’s what is at issue in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, a case about whether the State of Georgia can assert copyright in its annotated state code. This week, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in its next term. Americans deserve free and easy access to public records of all kinds, including court documents . But access to the law is the most important of all: Democracy depends on it. Keeping the law free of copyright is the first step. Yet the law is in disarray on the topic. The last time the Supreme Court ruled on the issue was in 1888, and it only addressed opinions written by judges. In the last century, a number of lower courts issued lofty proclamations on how the law belongs to the people and the people alone. Meanwhile, copyright laws passed in 1909 and 1976 explicitly excluded any “ work of the United States government .” But that exclusion applies only to the federal government. So when […]

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