Free the Law – Amicus Brief in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org

The draft brief is up and ready for signons!

Brief: https://tiny.cc/FreeTheOCGA-Draft

To Sign On: https://tiny.cc/FreeTheOCGA-Sign

The IP & Technology Law Clinic would also like to thank Michelle Choi, USC Gould Class of 2020 and Tiffany Li, USC Gould Class of 2021 for their assistance drafting this brief.

tl;dr

If you are a law student, solo or small-firm practitioner, or legal educator (including law professors and law librarians*), and are interested in signing on to the brief supporting Public.Resource.Org and helping keep the law free for all to access and use, you can use the links above to read the brief and sign on.  Please share these links (including this page) widely!

*Important for law librarians: our colleagues and allies are preparing a brief specifically focused on the interests of law librarians, and you might find that that one better represents your views.  If you are interested in the law librarians brief, please go here for more information.  Please do not sign on to both briefs, even if you agree with both, as this may run afoul of the Supreme Court’s rules.  If you have signed on to our brief and wish to be removed for any reason, including to sign the law librarians brief, just email me at jef@law.usc.edu before the signatory deadline.

The Case

In 2013, Public.Resource.Org (PRO), a non-profit corporation based in California, purchased, scanned, and posted the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA).  The OCGA is the one and only official law of the State of Georgia, but the state objected strongly, maintaining that the only party who could make the OCGA available was their single, designated commercial vendor.  According to the State of Georgia, any other use–including PRO’s public dissemination of the law–is a copyright violation.

The State of Georgia sued Public Resource in the U.S. District Court and received judgement in their favor including a federal injunction prohibiting any and all dissemination of the code.  PRO appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and won a 3-0 victory, reversing the decision of the court below.

The State of Georgia appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Public Resource responded, maintaining that the State of Georgia has the law and the facts wrong, but nevertheless, the matter should be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

We prepared a amicus brief on behalf of 119 law students, 54 solo and small-firm practitioners of aw, and 21 legal educators in support of Public.Resource.Org, arguing that the Supreme Court should take the case to ensure that we have free access to all of the law nationwide, and not just to Georgia’s law.

The Supreme Court has since agreed to take the case.

Our Brief

Now, the Intellectual Property & Technology Law Clinic at USC Gould School of Law has drafted a new amicus brief supporting Public.Resource.Org.  The brief details how students, educators, and practitioners access and use the law, as well as why the Court should interpret the “government edicts” doctrine broadly, ensuring that private parties do not interfere with public access to the documents that govern our daily lives.

We are once again opening up the brief for sign-on by students, practitioners, and educators who agree with our arguments and want to ensure everyone has unfettered access to the law.

Please share the link to this page far and wide! You can go here to read the brief and here to sign on.  We will be accepting sign-ons until 11:59pm PDT on October 14, 2019.  And if you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to Prof. Jef Pearlman at jef@law.usc.edu.

Additional Information

Here are some links where you can find more information on the case.

 

USC Gould School of Law
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