WASHINGTON (CBS46) – A lawsuit involving the state of Georgia was granted certiorari by the United States Supreme Court and will be heard by the high court next year.
The case, Georgia, Et Al. vs. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., centers around an annotated copy of the laws of the state of Georgia. The state argues that the annotated version of the law is copyrighted and that the public has free access to that.
However, the official copy of the law is the annotated copy and activist Carl Malamud decided to publish the annotated copy online for public consumption for free and sent copies to legislators on USB drives. The state disagreed and said the annotated version is protected and sued Malamud and his organization for copyright infringement.
After losing at the trial level, Malamud won at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court ruled:
“As a consequence, we conclude that the People are the ultimate authors of the annotations. As a work of the People the annotations are inherently public domain material and therefore uncopyrightable. Because we conclude that no copyright can be held in the annotations, we have no occasion to address the parties’ other arguments regarding originality and fair use.”
The case now resides before the Supreme Court which will issue a ruling next year on whether the annotated version of the law can be copyrighted.
Click here for more on the case from SCOTUSBlog.com.