Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, June 19, 2008

On copyrighted laws and OA

James Grimmelmann, Copyright, Technology, and Access to the Law: An Opinionated Primer, self-published essay, June 17, 2008. (Thanks to Andrew Raff.)
Recently, the state of Oregon has used copyright law to threaten people who were publishing its laws online. Can they really do that? More to the point, why would they? This essay will put the Oregon fracas in historical context, and explain the public policies at stake. Ultimately, it’ll try to convince you that Oregon’s demands, while wrong, aren’t unprecedented. People have been claiming copyright in “the law” for a long time, and at times they’ve been able to make a halfway convincing case for it. While there are good answers to these arguments, they’re not always the first ones that come to hand. It’s really only the arrival of the Internet that genuinely puts the long-standing goal of free and unencumbered access to the law within our grasp. ...
Comment. If you're looking for a thorough legal, historical, and ethical overview to this issue, start here. This excerpt is just the tip of the iceberg.