back to article US State of Georgia sues 'terrorist' for publishing its own laws ... on the internet

The State of Georgia in the US is suing the owner of the website for publishing the State of Georgia's own laws online. According to the lawsuit [PDF] filed this week, Carl Malamud has "engaged in an 18 year long crusade to control the accessibility of U.S. government documents by becoming the United States …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Lets hope he isnt black

    We wouldnt want anything bad to happen to him "accidentally"; especially while in US Police custody.

    1. JeffyPoooh

      He should know better...

      He should know better. There are secret laws that explicitly prohibit such behaviour.

      These laws have been tested and upheld in closed court during various secret trials.


    2. KA1AXY

      Re: Lets hope he isnt black

      Whatever his race, I hope he's not planning to vacation in Georgia anytime in the near future.

    3. streaky

      Re: Lets hope he isnt black

      It's not just black americans that randomly die in the US when dealing with the police. That's the irony; actually way more white people do *AND* there's no reporting standards with regards to who/why, so naturally there's no reliable data available.

      This is all stuff you want to be happening in a democracy of course.

    4. 404

      Aww hell <kicks dirt>

      We'all folks up here in Tennessee think them folks in Geeorgia are a mite tetched in the head anyways... dumb crackers... Like my uncle always said, 'Oncet ya cross that there Tennessee line, y'all out of the country'.*

      *The 'T' word is such a wonderful tool, especially in light of Mr. Malamud's name, to evoke an emotional response to any given situation. Given the expense in treasure and time to defend against malicious attacks, as I have experienced recently over a land contract, you don't stand a chance in hell against these fuckers without serious cash. You get put in a position where you have to make a business decision, rather than stand on principle. Damn bloodsucking lawyers... they always win.

  2. Katie Saucey

    This is a joke right? Oh yeah, it's 'mericca 2015. Can they not at least plant some 'evidence' and keep this out of the press? Frigg'n noob prosecutors

    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Georgia is taking the Arse out of Mecca

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Major change needed

    Deny the right to right to assert copyright in anything extruded from a state outfit. It has already been paid for in the form of tax money shifted to well-connected "friends & operators" and possibly excessive salaries to petulant civil serpents. End of story. Everybody wins.

    The fact that state throws money out of the windows to pursue "copyright claims" using "terrorism" as a sort of argument should lead to guillotines being erected on public places and cleansing to begin worthwith.

    1. ratfox
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Major change needed

      In fact, I did think that any document produced by the government was in the public domain (e.g anything written by the NASA). Or is that only the Federal government?

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Major change needed

        There's a difference between "in the public domain" and "is public domain". "In the public domain" means that the public know about it. The documentation that documents the fact that Harry Potter is a wizard is in the public domain, but not is public domain.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Major change needed

        Anything produced by the federal government is.

        But the local authorities do a lot of this sort of stuff, you have to sign that your bathroom remodelling meets the county plumbing rules, a copy costs $500 and changes each year -- it's just a hidden local tax.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Major change needed

          It's why I don't do any kind of work that would fall under the label "contracting" (aside from IT). It costs a fortune just to keep up with "code" even in one area.

          Some day they'll attach such rules to IT contracting. Watch.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Major change needed

          "But the local authorities do a lot of this sort of stuff, you have to sign that your bathroom remodelling meets the county plumbing rules, a copy costs $500 and changes each year -- it's just a hidden local tax."

          Based on my interpretation of US copyright law, there is no copyright on any governmental documentation, and that goes right down to local govt or provate corporations performing a governmental function (such as housing associations)

          IANAL, nor do I play one on TV. The problem when fighting this kind of thing is that unless the federal circuit courts make a ruling you can expect the local/state authorities to fight it every last step of the way, as it takes away their ability to profit from control freakery.


          Federal law expressly denies U.S. copyright protection to two types of government works: works of the U.S. federal government itself, and all edicts of any government regardless of level or whether or not foreign.

          That's pretty clear - and rules/regulations are edicts.

          1. Jim Mitchell

            Re: Major change needed

            Ah, but building codes in the US are NOT usually created by the government directly. They are developed by third parties and are the government just says that they must be adhered to. Essentially, "incorporated by reference". It is an interesting situation.

      3. dickeyjd

        Re: Major change needed

        Only material created by the federal government by federal employees is in the public domain. States and local governments can copyright their materials.

    2. Grikath

      Re: Major change needed

      Ah, but informing citizens of waht the government really is up to has always been an act of Terrorism.. Can't have the hoi-polloi play by the same rules on an even field now, can you? Something with a closed cabinet in a disused cellar with a sign "Beware of the Leopard!" , or the Alpha Centauri equivalent comes to mind.

      He's obviously touched a couple of fuses amongst the Powers that Be ( aka the Civil "Servants" ). A politician would have been warned off by his staff long ago not to try this line of attack..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Major change needed

        > the hoi-polloi

        Can I please be gratuitously pedantic and show off about the only thing I learned (and definitely the only I still remember) during my semester of classical Greek many years ago, and point out that "hoi" (οι?) is, in fact, the nominative masculine singular form of the definite demonstrative article? Or in order words, it means "the", and therefore "the hoi" is a bit of a pleonasm.

        I feel much smugger now, thank you for your tolerance.

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: Major change needed

          ... and how about PIN number?

    3. tfewster

      Re: Major change needed

      > Deny the right to right to assert copyright in anything extruded from a state outfit.

      Whoops. So all publicly funded research should be up for grabs for exploitation by commercial organisations without royalties? No thanks, if I've already paid for it once I don't want to have to pay a second time and I don't want damn freeloaders using it.

      Which is where these two extremes meet - If Carl Malamud is profiting from republishing documents owned by the taxpayer that are _reasonably_ available to those taxpayers, he's scamming people.

      > Without providing the publisher with the ability to recoup its costs for the development of these ... annotations, the State of Georgia will be required to either stop publishing the annotations altogether or pay for development of the annotations using state tax dollars.

      If that statement from the State of Georgia is actually correct, that there is a (reasonable) cost to creating the content, then a charge to cover the costs seems reasonable.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Major change needed

        But the research is also available to all their competitors

        With the current system you pay for the research, a single company rolls up and licenses it for an undisclosed (but tiny) fee and it disappears into their IP portfolio.

      2. shovelDriver

        Re: Major change needed

        Ah, but the costs of any work performed by or contracted by government has in fact already been funded - paid for - by the collection of taxes. Though there is the recurring theft by government employees, mostly politicians and upper-level brown-nose bureaucratics, which contracts work that has not been budgeted for. I do wonder if proper analysis would show correlations between that and bank account growth of gov employees and/or their favored contractors.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Major change needed

        Of course there is a cost to publishing it. It's the cost of operating government. So you think access to the law is a special privilege citizens should pay extra for?

    4. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Major change needed

      "Deny the right to right to assert copyright in anything extruded from a state outfit." says:

      As a matter of longstanding public policy, the U.S. Copyright Office will not register a government edict that has been issued by any state, local, or territorial government, including legislative enactments, judicial decisions, administrative rulings, public ordinances, or similar types of official legal materials. Likewise, the Office will not register a government edict issued by any foreign government or any translation prepared by a government employee acting within the course of his or her official duties.

      3.1.9 Are Government websites provided copyright protection?

      In accordance with 17 USC §10571, works prepared by government employees as part of their official duties are not subject to copyright protection in the U.S. (See FAQ Sections 3.1.1 and 3.1.2). This applies to government employee prepared works posted to government Web sites and to the government website itself if government employees as part of their official duties prepare it.

      However, if a government web site is developed or maintained by a contractor, parts of the web site authored by the contractor that are subject to copyright protection (i.e., that qualify as copyrightable subject matter) are protected by copyright. Ownership of the copyright and the respective rights of the Government and the contractor are in accordance with the terms of the contract under which the web site was developed or maintained. Additionally, it is possible that copyrighted works owned by others may be posted to government web sites. Copyrighted works that are not owned by the Government should be included on government web sites only with permission of the copyright owner and should include an appropriate copyright notice.

      3.2 Government Works Included In Non-Government Works

      3.2.1 May another publisher or individual republish a U.S. Government work and assert copyright?

      A publisher or individual can republish a U.S. Government work, but the publisher or individual cannot legally assert copyright unless the publisher or individual has added original, copyright protected material. In such a case, copyright protection extends only to the original material that has been added by the publisher or individual. (See 17 USC � 40372 regarding copyright notice requirements for works incorporating U.S. Government works.)

      (It goes on to cover a lot more. My reading of this is that Georgia is going to find itself pilloried over this.)

    5. Gannon (J.) Dick

      Re: Major change needed

      Nothing like Copyright to get the gubmint acting stupid.

      Unless ... maybe some one will notice that the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) specifically says persons not citizens. I'll share my popcorn. It will be fun.

  4. Trigonoceps occipitalis

    Knowledge is Power

    Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.

    Kofi Annan

    The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Information, knowledge, is power. If you can control information, you can control people.

    Tom Clancy

    Knowledge is power. Information is power. The secreting or hoarding of knowledge or information may be an act of tyranny camouflaged as humility.

    Robin Morgan

    Knowledge is power.

    Sir Francis Bacon

    So, Georgia, are you servant or master?

    1. James 51

      Re: Knowledge is Power

      You know you play too much 40K when you read this and think 'Knowledge is power, guard it well.'

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Knowledge is Power

      You must remember that the Obarmy administration has set the president over the last few years.

    3. John Bailey

      Re: Knowledge is Power

      You forgot.

      "We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious. They stole it from us. Sneaky little hobbitses. Wicked, tricksy, false! "


      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Knowledge is Power

        And simple complex words create, command and control worlds and provide power and energy to leading virtual systems of operation/relatively remote anonymised control. Hence the earlier burning of books campaigns/information purges.

        Such actions/proactions today though, are problematical and practically impossible whenever information and intelligence are freely shared over virtually provided networks.

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Alien Knowledge is Power ..... Clarification and Addendum

          Such earlier actions/proactions as the burning of books and information purges are a problem nowadays for they have no effect whatsoever on the rise and drive of relatively anonymous remote control systems of administration/perceptions management/media command and control/spooky rule with sublime regulation.

          Deny and/or ignore that it and IT deliver braver new orderly world order futures and derivative ventures to markets and prime and sub-prime state and non-state actors and you will be just as a helpless and hapless spectator to all that is provisioned? ’Twas ever the case for the pathetic and apathetic of nature though, and natural enough justice to boot in the root.

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            Re: Alien Knowledge is Power ..... Clarification and Addendum, and a Valid Point to Ponder

            And when intelligence bodies work with empowering systems that do not heed and respond to new directions and novel instructions, is command and control lost in the traditional and conventional and granted to the radical and revolutionary for the purging of neo fascist entities with militant tendencies and glaring inadequacies?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    devil in the detail

    "That annotated version is frequently used by the courts to make decisions of law"

    This seems to be the key point. Questions that spring to my mind are

    Is the annotated work actually cited or is it more like a reference work that links useful case history with the law?

    Who buys it ? Lawyers, legal students, the judges?

    Does the state of Georgia make a profit from sales?

    Anyone got any answers.

    1. Old Used Programmer

      Re: devil in the detail

      That's along the same lines I was thinking... If the courts use (let alone, rely on) the annotations (or glosses), then those annotations are, functionally, part of the law and the same copyright and access rules should apply to them that apply to the underlying statutes.

    2. Bc1609

      Re: devil in the detail

      From the TechDirt post linked in the article:

      "While the annotations are often used to better understand the relevant case law, it does not appear that the courts directly refer to the annotations themselves."

      While the annotations are doubtless a useful resource, they're part of a reference work, not actually part of the law. It's the difference between reading the text of Hamlet free on the internet and paying for the Arden scholarly edition which explains all the dick jokes. As someone who once spent a lot of time creating editions of old manuscripts and explaining all their dick jokes, I have no problem with annotations being protected by copyright.

      This is not a case of "requiring a license before allowing citizens to read or speak the law". The law is available online, free, at the Lexis link provided in the article (I know it says it's a blank page but it worked for me; maybe you should check that, Kieren).

      Of course, that doesn't make the State's accusations of "terrorism" any less ridiculous; neither does it remove issues concerning the State profiting from the publication of these annotations.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: devil in the detail

        "While the annotations are doubtless a useful resource, they're part of a reference work, not actually part of the law. It's the difference between reading the text of Hamlet free on the internet and paying for the Arden scholarly edition which explains all the dick jokes."

        I don't think you understand. I don't have to read the Arden version; I won't go to prison if I don't understand it. I will just fail to understand part of Shakespeare and that will just be part of all the other authors I don't understand very well and don't have time to have explained to me in depth. But the annotations here seem to relate to how the law is actually interpreted. They are, de facto, part of the law. If I read an annotation that says "Terrorism means anything that Officer Dibble doesn't like", or (since it's Georgia) "Of course this section only applies to black people", then I discover that the free law I read is not the same law that is applied.

        If annotations are needed to explain to various people how a law works, they are part of the law and should be freely available. Ignorantia juris non excusat might have made sense when law was made by small communities, but nowadays there is so much law (to the vast benefit of lawyers) that it reads like a scam. If people must pay to read the law, something is very wrong with society.

        1. Eddy Ito

          Re: devil in the detail

          Of course laws are a scam. A lot of regulations are based on restricting access to documents. Take the National Electric Code, sure you can go down to the library and look at it but try downloading a copy on the web-o-tubes.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: devil in the detail

            Using copyright to restrict access to regulations ( eg the national electric code) should be illegal - and is in several countries.

            1. PNGuinn

              Re: devil in the detail @ Alan Brown

              OK - let's bring this over the pond to Blighty.

              National Laws - available for free over the interwebs. (Off topic - it's frightening just how much legislation the beggars manage to excrete each year - clue - its not in the region of tens of megebytes.)

              Building regulations approved documents are available free on the web - but they seem to change where you can get em from regularly.


              British Standards - enreneering documents - are in many cases either enshirned into law or an approved way of compliance. Try getting THEM off the net. You might find access in a public library, but I've never found them available for loan. It's the sort of document you need to read through carefully, at least in parts, and have available for reference.

              They are:

              a. Eyewateringly expensive.

              b. Obsoleted and replaced regularly for minor changes.

              c. Used to be common sense engineering documents logicall written and easy to follow, increasingly appearing be the fruit of a committee of linguistically challenged camels sufering enhanced sleep deprevation from too many....

              Anyone other than a gofer at the very end of the chain HAS to have access to these documents

              to do their job legally, and, more importantly, safely.



              I've just had to shell out AGAIN for copy of the wiring regulations BS7671 because they've shat all over it with significant ammendments. Again. List price £85 And that's just ONE standard.

              1. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: devil in the detail @ Alan Brown

                "Let's bring this over the pond to Blighty."

                The difference is that in the UK, the crown reserves copyright on all works and as such can control access/availability.

                US copyright law expressly prohibits copyright on governmental works and edicts.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: devil in the detail

            Of course laws are a scam. A lot of regulations are based on restricting access to documents. Take the National Electric Code, sure you can go down to the library and look at it but try downloading a copy on the web-o-tubes.

            Actually, the NEC is freely available at


      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: devil in the detail

        "neither does it remove issues concerning the State profiting from the publication of these annotations."

        If the state is publishing them, then it's a government work.

  6. Mystic Megabyte

    Land of the free™

    As you can see, I have trademarked that phrase. Please pay me $1 each time that you say it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Land of the free™

      I'll start using just the moment it seems to be true.

      So don't plan on getting rich anytime soon...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "pay for development of the annotations using state tax dollars"

    Well, that's exactly what I expect taxpayers dollars to be used for also - not to pay for some politicians whims to collect votes... if you don't use taxpayers money to make available to them the very rules taxpayers are bound to, how could taxpayers vote sensibly the next time? Or the issue is exactly this, keep them ignorant of the rules you're setting forth, including court interpretations, so it's easier to collect votes?

    1. Mark 85

      Re: "pay for development of the annotations using state tax dollars"

      Take it a step further... if the laws are "copyrighted", then if you know the law without having a legal copy, you're guilty of a copyright/piracy law.

      If you are arrested, you can plead "not knowing" there was a law because the law is "protected" and not freely disseminated.

      Ah....this could be fun to watch.. pass the popcorn please.

  8. BongoJoe

    Ignorance of the Law... not a defence.

    So, cough up over three hundred dollars.

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Re: Ignorance of the Law...

      Actually, picking up from Mark85's comment ignorance would have to become a valid defence in Georgia as they are saying that the law 'as applied in a courtroom' is not the same as the law which is documented in a Public library or any free source. This would prevent low income people from maintaining an awareness of the laws as it applies to them and therefore the state is creating an environment where they are more likely to inadvertantly commit an offence.

  9. x 7

    Georgia's problem is that by printing this stuff online for free, black people can now read it.If only whites could read it wouldn't be a problem, but now blacks get to school and learn to read, you gotta stop them reading the equality laws

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Interesting Times ahead, El Reg ...... and especially so at Leading Cutting Edges

      Georgia's problem is that by printing this stuff online for free, black people can now read it.If only whites could read it wouldn't be a problem, but now blacks get to school and learn to read, you gotta stop them reading the equality laws...... x 7

      The world and his dogs of war have Georgia's problem, x 7, and it is no small matter that can be easily overwhelmed and defeated. Indeed, it is in actual fact and virtual fiction exactly the opposite case and will simply destroy all monsters.

      El Regers, please read the following tales, of which this snippet is quite an APT ACTive reality unfolding around everyone everywhere ......

      We are, for the first time in the history of the human race, experiencing something new in the body politic. Until recently, coercive political organizations were limited in their ability to control their fellow human beings. They simply didn't have the information, or the communications, or the reach to force everyone at every level of their society to bow to their will. With the exception of the printing press, the tools governments had during the American Revolution to control their populations were no different from those available to the Kings of Sumer or ancient Egypt.

      Then, about 200 years ago, that started to change. Beginning with the telegraph and the railroad, science gave them new ways to enforce conformity. Now, with evolutions in the control of money, surveillance, communications and data management, their ability to construct the ultimate totalitarian state seems unstoppable.

      But what the gods of technology giveth, they also taketh away. With digital systems comes increasing complexity and, in the cracks formed between those systems, hidden refuges for those who used to escape into a physical wilderness. For the politically dispossessed, there is now a new digital badlands. If you doubt that, ask yourself why, in a world dominated by government surveillance and big data, do we still have spam or Anonymous or hacking? Why have cyberattacks become more common, not less?

      Thieves Emporium is a story that analyzes this new badlands and the conflict that is arising from its existence. If you really want to know where our society is going, you need to consider the ideas it puts forward.

      This is not science fiction.

      But it is a fun read. ....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Minorities have had equal rights laws...

      for 50 years. You must have lived in a shoebox in your mothers basement to not know that fact. Either that or you are being as racist as anyone in this argument.

      What have they done with those rulings in that 50 years? They even got laws that give them an "unfair" priority in college admissions and public jobs over any other race/minority. What have they done with those opportunities? I say they have squandered them and don't deserve these protectionist reverse racism laws anymore.

      Did they all buckle down at school and get good grades so they could go to college and get a good job or did they sit on their hands and complain that they were the victim like the left needs them to?

      Did they emulate the successful people who used the system correctly and raised themselves and their families up or did they emulate the hoods down on the corner who sell drugs and steal for a living all while taking public welfare money under false pretenses? No, they called those hardworking, successful people Oreos and fiddled away any goodwill there may have been. The media glorified the thug behavior in too many TV shows and mainstreamed this as the new normal.

      Anyone can be a success here if they WORK HARD. Ask a recent immigrant. Too bad it doesn't take the same amount of effort to be a failure, but the left has coddled those failures so they have an army of uneducated idiots that can't understand that it is their own decisions and lack of gumption that keep them back, not anyone else.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's very simple

    If the material is copyright protected then you have to pay for it unless the owner of the copyright allows it to be specifically displayed or disseminated. That requires prior written agreement. Since Malamud did not obtain legal rights to publish copyright materials he is guilty and should be fined and if appropriate for repeat offenses, sent to jail.

    The laws are very clear. If you want to access, use or distribute copyright protected materials then you must pay for them or go to prison for piracy and be fined handsomely. You can spin it any way you like but that is the law and copyright law exists for the purpose of protecting "art". End of discussion.

    1. Gordon 10

      Re: It's very simple

      Slow hand clap. Now go back and read the article properly.

      His whole arguement is that they are claiming copyright on something not copyrightable - therefore if he wins the case he hasn't breached copyright.

      Do keep up AC.

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: It's very simple

        It is the usual AC posting by one of the copyright organisations who writes the same drivel every time. There has been a change in the writing style - this one doesn't use "perp" - but the source is clear: just another troll.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's very simple

      I regret that I can only downvote this obnoxious post once. I can only think it is a wilful misunderstanding of what this is all about.

    3. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: It's very simple

      The laws may be clear, but if you aren't allowed to read them, you have a problem.

    4. harmjschoonhoven

      Re: It's very simple

      It is very simple indeed, just read the Copyright Law of the United States of America § 107.

      Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

      Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include--

      (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

      (2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

      (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

      (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

      The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's very simple

      That's what hitler said

  11. Identity

    Is that so?

    "It's also clear that Georgia did not put its finest lawyers on the case…"

    What makes you think so?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. JLV

    Hidden taxes and wastes of time

    There are way too many silly cases of standards and legal codes that are meant for public consumption, but are charged by nominally neutral and public-interest parties.

    For example, I find it galling that in 2015 we still can't access the mysterious ANSI SQL standards docs without paying a presumably large chunk of change for it.

    Ditto having to buy a sample house owner to provider contract from my province's home renovation/construction professional organization. This was a while back and it was only $25, but what a waste of time. How many of these things do they sell anyway?

    Anyone claiming to be an IT standards or public service entity should be shamed into being more open.

  13. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "without the ability to charge for access [..], the State [..] would not be able to maintain it"

    Sorry ? What kind of sorry excuse is that for scrounging more money for what is already a public resource ?

    Are you seriously trying to make people believe that they have to pay to consult what their taxes have already paid for ?

    It's the LAW. If your local government cannot maintain its services and duty to its public, then it is high time Georgians find a government that can.

    1. Tcat

      Re: "without the ability to charge for access [..], the State [..] would not be able to maintain it"

      Better yet. Let's have an election. Multi-issue.

      Tax access to the law you are required to follow? Y/N. (GA)

      Sales tax (2015 8%) on basic food like bread and milk. (AL)

      Slavery pride (SC)

      I'm an American and SE A Vet. I say let them vote.

      They want to tax the law, food, worship slavery? Let them form

      That stupid confederation. Just don't buy or sell crap nuthin to them.

      Let them live on Coke, cotton and corn. Don't ship a pint of decent Ale to a man unless he's dying.

  14. Stuart Grout

    UK comparison

    I can only assume the issue is the assumption that the state of Georgia is not allowed to charge for works it publishes.

    In the UK similar guides such as the Civil Court Practice guides are used by judges and solicitors but it's not free. This isn't published by the government and costs around £500. In other areas of law there are other commercial works that act as guides to the laws, few of which are free.

    The government also publishes guides but in general they're of limited value. In the past the government guidance was far more detailed but very expensive to maintain. This was probably one of the reasons the government's guidance has become more general and is now always prefaced by a statement that it isn't an authoritative guide.

    Being unable to recover the costs of producing such annotated guides has been very effective at making sure that commercial companies are now the main providers of such guidance, a win for free enterprise if not for justice.

    1. Tom 7

      Re: UK comparison

      Free enterprise is illegal.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If someone wrote a text book explaining the law, as it stood, I don't think anybody would argue that that was copyrightable. When I see people talk of "annotations", I read it as above. If these annotations/text book was produced by a private individual, I don't think this argument would exist. So, I am kinda see the problem, unfortunately. Whether they should be charging for them, especially in electronic format, is an entirely different question altogether. It is a moral question.

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      To an extent, I see your argument. However, the important bit is that judges use them to decide what the law is. This means that they are either a) being used wrongly by the judges because they are not official, and should be entered as evidence so that everyone knows what the decisions are being based on, or b) they are part of the law and not copyrightable under the relevant US federal laws. Either way, people subject to the law need to know them.

      On an aside, this is exactly the way it should be in the UK - anything relied on by judges in coming to a decision should be in evidence or copyright-free. However, it isn't.

    2. Tcat

      What Title Code are You Reading?

      Whoa. OK, I'm the slide-rule type brain. So forgive my stupid question. The Librarian Ruled on this matter already. *I* was having a coffee with milk one fine morning on the deck of my hi-rise watching the dolphins head north to San Diego when MS SAM the male voice read to me the RSS feed about the ruling.

      I got out of my chair and started to liberate the isptpi CTT standards buried by CompTIA (using in part my own 10 K USD contribution). Amazon about 1 year later took exception to my 'fair use' by it's own corporate standards and did a take down.

      I later did a take down on Barnes & Noble because of very detailed reviews where I did not receive a royalty payment or report based on detailed reviews.

  16. Alan Brown Silver badge

    In the old days, annotated guides were expensive to maintain not because of the annotations but because of distribution costs.

    This is the 21st century. Nowadays you only have to maintain one copy. If you want to get really sophisticated you can even arrange an automated system to notify interested parties whenever the content changes.

    I think he's going to win this one. I'm pretty sure federal laws on govt-produced documents override state ones.

  17. -tim

    I wish the state the best of luck

    I hope they manage to get this all the way to the US Supreme Court where it will be shot down for the next few decades. Some states that formed the US had already determined that concept of Crown Copyright was a bad idea by the early 1700s and had refused to pass any laws allowing it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse...

    ... unless you charge for copies.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Small-government conservatives

    Gotta love southern conservatives' dedication to limited government and low taxes.

  20. Alan Brown Silver badge

    This might help (or confuse)

    Edicts of government, such as judicial opinions, administrative rulings, legislative enactments, public ordinances, and similar official legal documents are not copyrightable for reasons of public policy. This applies to such works whether they are Federal, State, or local as well as to those of foreign governments.

    1. shovelDriver

      Re: This might help (or confuse)

      I do appreciate the pointer to that quote, but let us not forget that Wikipedia is not an official citation of what the law actually says. Rather, it's a place where almost anyone can proclaim and edit to make their viewpoint prominent. Those, including lawyers and judges, who rely on Wikipedia are - one might think - criminally culpable.

      1. Tcat


        OMG, I'm sorry to have to downvote you.

        YES, your point is correct and accurate. Completely.

        And it is the very point of democracy that Wikipedia and law are based on.

        CERTINLY, Wikipedia is subject to malignant. A temporary condition.

        ALSO, an accurate ~reflection of being human.

  21. Red Bren
    Black Helicopters

    Annotations for terrorism laws

    A terrorist is any person who causes embarrassment to the state

    1. Hans 1

      Re: Annotations for terrorism laws

      Georgians are like Texans, embarrassments to mankind.

  22. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A bit harsh on fools and dopes who do coke ........

    A terrorist is any person who causes embarrassment to the state ..... Red Bren

    Hmmm? So, Red Bren, are we to be led to believe that Lord Sewel of Gilcomstoun is a terrorist ....... for the behaviour of that lord both before and after the fact is more than just highly embarrassing to the state and Lady Jennifer ?!......

    And is the sad lord a public school upper class twit, too?!

    1. Red Bren

      Re: A bit harsh on fools and dopes who do coke ........

      Political commentary AMFM? Have you been upgrading your AI?

  23. Tcat

    A nice guy that live in Dublin attempted to work with me one state west, Alabama. I thought it would be great fun as Huntsville (Rocket City), AL has more PhD's per capita then even my much loved Seattle/Bellevue.

    *WOW*. The South East of the USA IS NOT a place for small business. We literally could not open a bank account. ME with a Redmond WA drivers license (he's some sort of weird engineer, not our kind) and HIM, Ireland? It's that the spawn of the Unabomber or the IRA or something about Dublin? <sigh>

    Google or anybody bringing thousands of jobs. Increasing payroll by 3 people? Bigger off.

    A waste of my time and life.

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