The 11th Circuit appeals court has just overturned a lower court ruling and said that Georgia’s laws, including annotations, are not covered by copyright, and it is not infringing to post them online. This is big, and a huge win for online information activist Carl Malamud whose Public.Resource.org was the unfortunate defendant in a fight to make sure people actually understood the laws that ruled them.
Malamud has fought for years to put laws, IRS 990’s, and other basic government information such as the EDGAR and PACER databases online for free access. In 2009, after I disobeyed an order from Oregon Attorney General John Kroger and posted a bootleg pdf of the Oregon Public Records and Meetings on my UO website, Malamud drove up from California, bought a copy from the DOJ, ground the spine off with a belt sander, ran the pages through a sheet-fed scanner, and posted it too, taking the heat for me. Then he gave a talk at the UO Libraries, hosted by the late JQ Johnson, explaining why. After the state and national press took up the story Kroger caved, and the manual is now on the DOJ’s website. Story and video here. Thank you again Carl, and congratulations!