Ed Walters, Esq., of FastCase has posted Tear Down This (Pay)Wall: The End of Private Copyright in Public Statutes, on the VoxPopuLII Blog, published by the Legal Information Institute at Cornell University Law School.
In this post, Mr. Walters describes the extent to which U.S. state governments and for-profit legal publishers assert copyright in U.S. state statutes, and the problems this poses for due process of law, as well as for competition and innovation in the legal publishing industry. Mr. Walters explains the U.S. legal authorities prohibiting copyright in state statutes. Mr. Walters then proposes an innovative strategy with which state governments can preclude assertions of copyright in state laws. In the course of his argument, Mr. Walters notes the recent approval of the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act, which has the potential to make important contributions toward freeing state statutes from copyright restrictions.
This post will be of interest to advocates of open government data, as well as to government technologists, legal publishers, developers of legal information systems, and all who seek greater competition and innovation in the U.S. legal publishing market.