On June 21, 2017, the Lawyerist podcast interviewed Carl Malamud about his crusade to bring free public access to laws, statutes, and regulations on the internet. Of particular interest in this podcast, Carl Malamud discussed his battle with the State of Georgia and Lexis-Nexis about the State’s licensing of its Official Code of Georgia Annotated as known as the “O.C.G.A.” exclusively to Lexis. Others have tried to license the Official Code of Georgia Annotated but Lexis has refused to license the O.C.G.A. at any cost. Lexis makes the code available for free but not the annotations. Lexis claims a copyright in the annotations, captions, catchlines, history lines, editorial notes, cross-references, indices, title, and chapter analyses. The statutes themselves are public domain as government works. This is problematic because the Annotated Code is the official code of the State of Georgia by statute. See, O.C.G.A. § 1-1-1(” The statutory portion of such codification shall be merged with annotations, captions, catchlines, history lines, editorial notes, cross-references, indices, title, and chapter analyses, and other materials pursuant to the contract and shall be published by authority of the state pursuant to such contract and when so published shall be known and may be cited as the ‘Official Code of Georgia Annotated.’ “) it is hard to believe that the official laws of a state of the United States are not available for free on the internet.
Carl Malamud is doing a great service to our society. He is fighting to make law and governing codes freely available online. These resources are available at public.resource.org. If Abraham Lincoln were alive today perhaps the Gettysburg Address might have gone…”A government of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations, shall not perish from the Earth.”