So the government of the State of Oregon — or at least a small bureaucratic slice of it — is claiming that it holds a copyright on portions of Oregon law, and is threatening a website that seeks to make laws easily available on the web. Oregon suggests it isn't copyrighting the laws, but their expression:
T]he Committee … claim[s] a copyright in the arrangement and subject-matter compilation of Oregon statutory law, the prefatory and explanatory notes, the leadlines and numbering for each statutory section, the tables the index and annotations and such other incidents as are work product of the Committee in the compilation and publication of Oregon law.
But the bloggers say they haven't included the annotations. You can see here an example of the sort of information they have included. The proposition that the state can copyright the numbering and headings of commonly used statutes strikes me as perverse in the extreme. It looks like Justia is enlisting some help to open a can of whoop-ass on Oregon. I wish them well in that pursuit. There is absolutely no reason that all the statutes and published cases in the country should not be made available for free if someone wants to put the work into it.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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