Oh, Georgia, Georgia, Georgia. Really?? A Cease and Desist letter asking Carl Malamud to take down a copy of your state code?? Really??
If you haven’t read this latest act of attempting to control state statutes (and probably insure that that juicy little Lexis contract), take a look at the C&D Letter [PDF] dated July 25, 2013 that was written by Josh McKoon, Chairman of the Georgia Code Revision Commission and posted by Malamud on law.resources.org.
According to the letter, Malamud let the Georgia Assembly know back in May that he was going to post a copy of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated on his website, and sure enough, there it is “with no restrictions to its access.”
Of course, it is the “Annotated” part that seems to have made the Commission ink this C&D. Most likely because that part is claimed by Lexis. If you have ever spend five minutes in a room with Fastcase’s Ed Walters, you’ve undoubtedly heard his tales of how stingy Lexis is with the Georgia Code. It seems that the agents of the State of Georgia are very much in agreement with the idea that no one should have free access to this annotated material.
Fear not though! According to the letter, an unannotated version of the Georgia Code is available to the public for free at www.legis.ga.gov.
All kidding aside, I actually see why Lexis would claim a copyright to the Annotations… but why is the State of Georgia bringing the C&D letter? Do they actually have standing? (My Civil Procedure memory is a bit rusty.) Does the State have the copyright, or is it Lexis? I have always assumed Lexis owned that right. Maybe not??
I wonder if Georgia would allow Carl Malamud to place the unannotated version, or would that bring yet another C&D Letter? It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. Malamud is pretty feisty and doesn’t like it when states claim copyright on their statutes. It could make for an interesting legal battle.