The right to know, have access to, and publish the law are foundational principles of the U.S. legal system. We’re happy to share our latest article authored by UniCourt CEO, Josh Blandi, that was published in the Daily Report, an online publication of Law.com. Josh’s article, Georgia Law Copyright Case Is Pivotal for Legal Innovators, discusses the overarching importance of SCOTUS granting certiorari in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org to establish once and for all that laws are not copyrightable. Josh also details in his article why UniCourt and 9 other legal innovators joined together to file an amicus brief supporting granting cert. with the help of Stanford Law School’s Juelsgaard Intellectual Property and Innovation Clinic.
Here below is an excerpt from the introduction of Josh’s article:
There can be no innovation in the legal field without open access to data.
Lawyers rely on legal data to make decisions. Consumers use it to educate themselves about the laws that govern them. Academics leverage it to not only teach, but to also innovate, create and collaborate with other academics to drive change in legal culture. Simply, we cannot improve or innovate the law if we are barred from full access to it, whether by entrenched professional norms or, as in the case of Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, spurious arguments that the law is, by its nature, precluded from open publication.
2019 promises to be pivotal for the open law movement as The Supreme Court reviews whether to grant certiorari in the case between Carl Malamud’s open law database Public.Resource.Org (Public Resource) and the State of Georgia, which has attempted to claim copyright protection in its state statutes and annotations. The case is a potential vehicle for deciding, once and for all, whether states and private organizations can copyright the law.
Ten Innovators Join Forces
In 2015, Georgia successfully sued Public Resource for publishing its state laws, and annotations to its laws, in the Northern District of Georgia. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that the Georgia statutory code—including its annotations—is not protected by copyright. The case was a watershed moment for open law advocates and represented a momentous shift in the direction of a comprehensive open legal data policy.
When Georgia predictably petitioned the Supreme Court to review the Eleventh Circuit’s decision, legal technology companies joined forces to file an amicus brief in support of review—not because they wanted to see the Eleventh Circuit’s decision reversed, but because they wanted it unequivocally affirmed.
You can read the full article here on the Daily Report.