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[–] TexasComments 1 points 65 points (+66|-1) ago 

So Georgia is claiming its laws with legislative annotation are copyrighted and he illegally scanned them - which he admits to - but he scanned them for a good cause.

He's undoubtedly publishing unauthorized scans -- his only chance might be to convince the court that Georgia is abusing copyright when it puts some of its public record behind a paywall.

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[–] sojournerc 2 points 67 points (+69|-2) ago 

and copywrite should not apply in this case, since the public "owns" those words.

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[–] Ridonkulousley 1 points 39 points (+40|-1) ago 

The argument is not over the words of the law it is over the words of the annotation which were neither drawn up by legislators nor part of the legislative process. It sounds like they paid an outside source to write the annotations and placed that behind a paywall to recoup expenses and now that someone has posted them for free they are trying to sue.

They definitely have grounds but it does go against the basic concept of the state having these bills annotated.

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[–] AtheistComic 4 points 6 points (+10|-4) ago 

Actually I want to agree with you but I can't. The public doesn't own the annotations -- those are lawyer notes that help you to understand the law itself. Just like the government can charge you a toll on certain highways they can charge you a fee to view certain documents. It's unfortunate. It's sad. It's silly even... but for the most part these fees get buried in court costs anyways.

That said, every school should have free access to this database so that students can learn law.

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[–] Broc_Lia 1 points -1 points (+0|-1) ago 

Copyright applies in any case the government says it does, that's how government monopolies work. Ideally none of them would exist.

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[–] ChillyHellion [S] 0 points 11 points (+11|-0) ago 

I think that's a fair summary. Thanks!

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[–] RamenJunkie 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Public.

Paywall

Something doesn't add up here.

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[–] struchttinually 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

If the taxpayers pay for the annotation, then it should be free to the public. If the annotation work was done by non-public expenses, then it makes sense the funding source determines how to offer it's work. Not complicated.

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[–] oowensby 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

The state paid for the annotation work.

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[–] ghotioninabarrel 0 points 33 points (+33|-0) ago  (edited ago)

it would have to dip into tax dollars if it wanted to make this information free, and citizens would supposedly be deprived of "valuable analysis and guidance" if it wasn't published at all.

I don't see what the state's problem is here. He's doing the work that they acknowledge is good for free where they say they can't afford to. Does the government feel that if they can't do it, no one can?

[–] [deleted] 0 points 17 points (+17|-0) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] FinalRemix 0 points 12 points (+12|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Same reason you're not allowed to fill in that well "minor pothole" in the street by your house that's been there for years.

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[–] Broc_Lia 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago  (edited ago)

More accurately, it would be ok if he were paying them. I doubt the publishing house that received the copyright got it for nothing.

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[–] Mrpixel 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

They acknowledge that it would be good if they where free in the sense that if they could get them annotated for free that would be great. They have to pay for the annotation process thus they are not free, and they are trying to recoup their costs for having to pay for the annotations.

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[–] phly95 0 points 5 points (+5|-0) ago 

But it's the government that's suing, not the author of the annotations. This is fucked up on so many levels.

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[–] C_IsForCookie 0 points 21 points (+21|-0) ago  (edited ago)

This is the best summary of what's going on.

Posted by Engadget user ImSteevin, in the comments portion of that page:

This article does not explain this issue well. To begin with, it does not explain what the annotations actually are. They are information assembled by private companies to aid in legal research, but are not some sort of "secret laws" you will never understand if you don't pay lexis, plus they offer them free online anyway. You can find the same basic statutory information in both the annotated and unannotated versions of the law.

For example, if you check § 24-4-401 (definition of "relevant evidence", I picked it at random) in both versions you can see how similar they are. The annotated version has less than 20 words of references to items such as the legislative history which are helpful, but not necessary to the understanding of the law. Here is the portion found in the annotated version that is not found in the unannotated version: "HISTORY: Code 1981, § 24-4-401, enacted by Ga. L. 2011, p. 99, § 2/HB 24." These annotations are assembled by a private company to aid legal researchers, and this is the portion that is copyrighted. Lexis employs people to tracks this info down and make sure it is up to date. This info referred to in the history is also publicly available, you would just have to do the work the people at Lexis are doing. I still think it's good that this private/public relationship is being challenged in court but the article here makes it seem like a complete no-brainer when that really isn't the case. Lexis takes the law which anyone has access to, does additional research, and wants the public to access it through their site as a result.

Basically the man is being sued not over posting laws or their references, but for publicly posting additional research that another company (Lexis Nexis) did and charges for. The company does a lot of research to link laws to applicable cases and that takes a lot of work so they charge for it. It's all public info, and you can look it all up yourself, but they're charging because they did the work for you. It's a HUGE timesaver.

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[–] Paranoidroid 0 points 16 points (+16|-0) ago 

Shouldn't lexis nexis sue instead of Georgia?

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[–] PureFix 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Why would politicians sue the same companies that donate(d) to get them elected? /s

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[–] C_IsForCookie 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

You know, that was my initial question as well, but I honestly don't know. Maybe the state had the company do the work for them, so while it was on their site, since GA ordered it to be done, they owned the rights? Just a guess.

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[–] SilverBanana 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Thank you for posting this. The article is horrible half truth in reflection.

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[–] oowensby 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

But the work that Lexis Nexis did was work for hire that was paid for by the state. The state owns the work, and therefore the work should be available to the citizens of the state.

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[–] C_IsForCookie 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

If these details are true then I guess that's what he'll have to argue to a judge. There may be more to it than that, though. Maybe they're claiming that since he put it online, it's now available to people outside of the state as well?

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[–] aeschynanthus 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

I checked one of them, Volume 43 from 2013. It says on the second page:

Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2013

http://archive.org/details/govlawgacode210343ad

That link helpfully goes to the Internet Archive. Then there's a link to Official State Codes. It says they're uploaded by public.resource.org so it's the same guy, right?

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[–] C_IsForCookie 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Looks like they're both him. If you look at the bottom of the first link it says...

Digitizing sponsor Public.Resource.Org
Book contributor Public.Resource.Org

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[–] knightwarrior41 2 points 9 points (+11|-2) ago 

WTF? i hope that the state of georgia loses the lawsuit because what they did was just anti-democratic and something that just happens on dictatorships.land of the free home of the brave indeed!

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[–] Ridonkulousley 0 points 6 points (+6|-0) ago 

The argument is not over the words of the law it is over the words of the annotation which were neither drawn up by legislators nor part of the legislative process. It sounds like they paid an outside source to write the annotations and placed that behind a paywall to recoup expenses and now that someone has posted them for free they are trying to sue.

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[–] ktaed 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago  (edited ago)

The first comment of the article is far more informative than the article itself, sadly.

edit: the one by ImSteevin

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[–] milliamp 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

It's amazing how quickly you can get to the point when you don't have an agenda to play up.

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[–] Gerplunckamo 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

Here's a link to the Annotations themselves

https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code/ga/georgia.scan.2014/

You can do your part by downloading these files, and spreading the word as much as possible.

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[–] icemaze 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

Is anyone else reminded of Aaron Schwartz?

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[–] Broda 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

as a GA native i admit this state sucks ass. This does not surprise me.

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