Opinion | The Law© ? - The New York Times
Très drôle. J’avais écrit un papier sur un cas similaire en France, quand la loi se retrouvait appartenir à Reuters, quand le concessionnaire exclusif de la diffusion sur internet s’était fait racheter par Reuters. Heureusement, la concession s’est éteinte et n’a par chance pas été renouvelée.
In the last century, a number of lower courts issued lofty proclamations on how the law belongs to the people and the people alone. Meanwhile, copyright laws passed in 1909 and 1976 explicitly excluded any “work of the United States government.” But that exclusion applies only to the federal government.
So when the nonprofit organization Public.Resource.Org purchased, scanned and uploaded all 186 volumes of the annotated Georgia state code to its website, the state sued to take it down. The code was already available free online through the state’s partnership with LexisNexis. As part of the deal, Georgia gave LexisNexis exclusive rights to official “annotations” that elaborate on the law but aren’t legally binding. LexisNexis allowed users to read the law free and it sold the annotated code for $404 per copy.
Public.Resource.Org is no stranger to litigation. For years, it has been embroiled in lawsuits over its publication of fire and electrical safety standards, air duct leakage standards, nonprofit tax returns and European Union baby pacifier regulations. The founder of Public.Resource.Org was once labeled a “rogue archivist.” But if publishing building safety standards online is an act of roguery, it is time for the courts to take a hard look at what copyright is for.
Much of the litigation against Public.Resource.Org falls into an ever-expanding gray zone of the law, created by government outsourcing bits and pieces of its regulatory function to the private sector. Regulations for everything from student loan eligibility to food additives can use standards written by trade groups.