Oregon Going After Sites For Publishing Its Laws

Claims copyright infringement

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The state of Oregon is sending out take down notices to sites that publish public domain legal documents.

Oregon has sent cease and desist letters to Justia and Public.Resource.Org for posting copies of Oregon laws, known as the Oregon Revised Statutes. The notice states," The Oregon Revised Statutes is copyrighted material, the author and copyright owner of which is the Legislative Counsel Committee of the State of Oregon."

The state says that the text of the laws is not covered by copyright but the way the law is presented is protected by copyright (such as the numbering, the notes and annotations).

The letter goes on to state, "Revenue from the sale and licensing of that work product, both in print and database form, is dedicated by state statute to supporting the work necessary to compile and publish the Oregon Revised Statutes and to making the law accessible to the public."

Over at Techdirt Michael Masnick brings up a good point,"It’s difficult to see what Oregon could possibly gain in trying to force copies of its laws off of public resource legal sites."

The answer could be in the final paragraph of the letter which invites Justia "to inquire about terms for a license to display the Oregon Revised Statutes," on its Web site.


Oregon Going After Sites For Publishing Its Laws
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  • Guest

    Oregon is a backwards state!  Working in telesales I am amazed at how many of the people that I’ve spoken with from Oregon seem noticeably ‘out of touch’ with technology.  With as many people that I’ve spoken with in that state and the attitude about technology and understanding of what is current in the world, I don’t doubt that Oregon would take such an action.

    What is up with Oregon?  That is one strange state.  It’s like they are a drop back to 50 years ago and don’t have a clue about today’s society.

    Strange place.

    • Guest

      There may be lots of "pockets" of backward thinkers in Oregon, but beware of over-generalizing.

      Oregon State University was light years ahead of Harvard in the mid-90’s, in providing internet services for their students and faculty.  In fact, wireless modem access in Corvallis, OR existed LONG before any discussion of "wireless broadband" was discussed in any city around the US.  So users could access internet while in the park, as long as they were within range of the wireless modem access points…and this was pre-1996!!  Harvard may have initiated internet access before Oregon State, but they ended up being way behind many campuses in the US in getting "up to speed" as most moved away from "bitnet".

      So…I don’t doubt that one can find individuals in Oregon that are severely handicapped when in comes to technology, but I can also find that in my neighbors across the street here (in New England!).

      *Final note…"telesales" isn’t exactly a "modern" technology!!

  • Lyle

    It’s always about the money.

    Any "Justice Department" is far more interested in chasing the dollar than it is in serving justice. Just take another look at it with enlightened eyes.


  • Scott

    It seems the States are now getting into the action of protecting its constitutional charter laws by not letting internet sites post their laws.  This type of action is absurd, stupid and illegal.

    To understand that a copyright can be issued to a work of art, a phonograph, a movie, a play to an artists makes sense, but to shield State’s laws from being published on the internet doesn’t make sense at all. 

    There are no Federal laws protecting State laws in being published on the net or even offline from what I understand and know.  Even the Constitution of the United States can be published in any form by anyone in America even online without permission.

    When will Oregon and any other State of the Union realize that their laws are always open to the public domain and that they are the property of the citizen of the United States?  I hope soon.

    Oregon needs to read the U.S. Constitution and realize that their laws belong to us and we can anything we damm please with them–even publish them on the net which we also own as well.

  • http://www.2all.co.il/Web/Sites/chefitay/ ?? ?? ????

    a new ways to find more taxs, as mentuned, its the money that plays to the hands of heads of this country, and we should be worried that other countries will follow.

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