California’s Laws Are Copyrighted Too

In addition to Oregon’s laws, citizens are forbidden from downloading and saving California’s laws:

California’s building codes, plumbing standards and criminal laws can be found online.

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.

This passage comes from an article in a Santa Rosa paper about Carl Malamud, an activist for citizen access to government information. He has previously fought and won public access to the SEC corporate filings database (called EDGAR), U.S. Patent Office filings, Smithsonian records, the freedom to share CSPAN videos, court records, and in June got the State of Oregon to release copyright on its code. Information about all of these projects, and their full text, can be found at http://public.resource.org.