Thursday, February 9, 2017

Can you hold copyright in federal law?; Washington Post, 2/8/17

David Post, Washington Post; Can you hold copyright in federal law?

"Unfortunately, I think Judge Chutkan got the copyright analysis correct on this one; there is simply no provision in the Copyright Act that can be read to strip protection for works that become, after their creation, incorporated into the law.

It is a very unfortunate state of affairs. Almost 10 years ago, in response to a similar copyright claim (by the state of Oregon, no less) asserting copyright in the text of its laws, I wrote that “it  is completely outrageous that in 2008 [!!] we do not have a complete and authoritative compendium of all of the laws of the 50 States, and the federal government, available at no cost on the Internet.” It was true then, and it is true now; the idea that one has to purchase a copy of relevant regulatory requirements that you are required, by law, to comply with is outrageous — and the fact that one can consult a hard copy of the regulations at the Office of the Federal Register in Washington does not make it less so."

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