I have blogged before about the absurdity of any government body in this democracy claiming that it can copyright our laws. This is so not democracy. When this man gets sued, I hope the lawsuit works its way to the supreme court. He will have my funding support!
He’s giving you access, one document at a time
By NATHAN HALVERSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Wednesday, September 3, 2008 at 4:30 a.m.
California’s building codes, plumbing standards and criminal laws can be found online.
This Web site contains the Sonoma County Code and the 38-volume California Code of Regulations. Sebastopol resident Carl Malamud put the laws online in hopes California and other governments will drop their claim to copyright.
But if you want to download and save those laws to your computer, forget it.
The state claims copyright to those laws. It dictates how you can access and distribute them — and therefore how much you’ll have to pay for print or digital copies.
It forbids people from storing or distributing its laws without consent.
That doesn’t sit well with Carl Malamud, a Sebastopol resident with an impressive track record of pushing for digital access to public information. He wants California — and every other federal, state and local agency — to drop their copyright claims on law, contending it will pave the way for innovators to create new ways of searching and presenting laws.
“When it comes to the law, the courts have always said there can be no copyright because people are obligated to know what it says,” Malamud said. “Ignorance of the law is no excuse in court.”
Malamud is spoiling for a major legal fight.
He has begun publishing copies of federal, state and county codes online — in direct violation of claimed copyright.
On Labor Day, he posted the entire 38-volume California Code of Regulations, which includes all of the state’s regulations from health care and insurance to motor vehicles and investment.
To purchase a digital copy of the California code costs $1,556, or $2,315 for a printed version. The state generates about $880,000 annually by selling its laws, according to the California Office of Administrative Law.[Source: He’s giving you access, one document at a time | PressDemocrat.com | The Press Democrat | Santa Rosa, CA]