A Draft 50 State Survey of Copyright Claims in State Codes and Court Opinions

In preparation for the Law.gov event held at Stanford Law School in January of this year, I started to put together a list of how each state treats its legal publications for copyright purposes.  Specifically, I looked at the web versions of state codes to locate any claims in copyright over the code text.  This led to searching in the print editions held in our library to see what copyright was claimed in these series.  Finally I searched the codes themselves (aided by the indexes provided on Westlaw) to find any claim that had been codified.  Along the way, the search expanded to how states treat any copyright claims in their court opinions (either online or in their code) as well.

My  method was not scientific.  I looked for clear statements on each website directly related to the code or opinions themselves.  Small copyright notices at the bottom of pages that seem to claim copyright in the pages themselves were not considered claims over the code text or opinions.  I understand that an argument can be made that those symbols of copyright could extend to the entirety of the material posted by that entity.

A very rough draft of the results is posted here.  I obviously have a lot of work left to do, including cleaning up some of the questions marks that have been left unanswered.  Official print versions for the state codes and reporters will also need to be consulted to fill out these charts.  And administrative law is just a glint in my eye at the moment.

I hope this document can be expanded and that it may prove useful in the current discussion on access to state and federal primary sources of law.

2 thoughts on “A Draft 50 State Survey of Copyright Claims in State Codes and Court Opinions

  1. Pingback: Wilko, A Draft 50 State Survey of Copyright Claims in State Codes and Court Opinions « Legal Informatics Blog

  2. Here are some additional sources on state copyright of their legal publications:

    “Copyrights.” LexisNexis>50 State Comparative Legislation / Regulations>Intellectual Property.
    ◦Citations only. Cites to codes and regulations. Covers copyright of software and state publications and related topics. Includes Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

    Dmitrieva, Irina Y. “State Ownership of Copyrights in Primary Law Materials.” Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal 23 (2000):81-119.
    Pp. 97-109. Essay. Cites to constitutions, codes, and attorney general opinions in footnotes. Covers laws asserting copyright over statutory codes, court reports, and administrative codes.

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