Georgia Asserts Copyright in Official Annotated Statutes; Public.Resource.Org Responds

The U.S. state of Georgia has asserted copyright in the annotations of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, which has been posted free on the Web by Public.Resource.Org.

The statutes, and the letters in the dispute, are available at https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code/ga/

The state, acting through the Georgia Code Revision Commission, has sent Public.Resource.Org a cease and desist / takedown letter.

Georgia’s letter states that Georgia asserts “no copyright in the statutory text itself or in the numbering of the code sections,” but asserts copyright in “all copyrightable aspects of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated.”

Public.Resource.Org has sent the commission a letter responding to the assertion of copyright, which contests the assertion of copyright in the annotations:

The distinction between “the statutory text itself” and additional materials perhaps would have some bearing if the publication in question were the independent commercial endeavor of a publication firm. […]

However, the publication in question is not by some independent endeavor, it is by the Official Georgia Code Revision Commission and the document is clearly labeled as the official Official Code of Georgia Annotated. […]

The Official Code of Georgia Annotated is a publication of the State and it is the definitive statement by the State of the law. Any lawyer would ignore this publication and any of its components at his or her peril. Any citizen wishing to read the Official Official Code of Georgia Annotated would have trouble distinguishing between the “statutory text itself” and those materials outside the box. No matter how you slice that cheese, it all looks the same. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated, every component of it, is the official law.

For more information, please see the complete letters.

HT Greg Lambert

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One Response to Georgia Asserts Copyright in Official Annotated Statutes; Public.Resource.Org Responds

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