Petition to Prohibit Copyright in Sources of Law

Carl Malamud of Public.Resource.Org has posted The Edicts of Government Amendment, a petition calling on the U.S. Congress to amend U.S. copyright law to expressly prohibit copyright in sources of law.

Here is the text of the petition:

To promote access to justice, equal protection, innovation in the legal marketplace, and to codify long-standing public policy, the Copyright Act of the United States, 17 U.S.C., should be amended as follows:

“Edicts of government, such as judicial opinions, administrative rulings, legislative enactments, public ordinances, and similar official legal documents are not copyrightable for reasons of public policy. This applies to such works whether they are Federal, State, or local as well as to those of foreign governments.”

This language comes directly from Section 206.01, Compendium of Office Practices II, U.S. Copyright Office (1984). It reflects clear and established Supreme Court precedent on the matter in cases such as Wheaton v. Peters, 33 U.S. (8 Pet.) 591 (1834) and Banks v. Manchester, 128 U.S. 244 (1888). The law belongs to the people, who should be free to read, know, and speak the laws by which they choose to govern themselves.

So far more than 100 individuals have signed the petition.

HT @johntrandall

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