The Georgia legislature seems to have lost the idea of transparency in government. The Peach State is suing Carl Malamud, operator of the Public.Resource.org website, for copyright infringement. His transgression? He published the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) and made it available to the public free of charge and without restriction.
Georgia has an agreement with Lexis-Nexis to make the annotated laws available in book form and on the Internet, but the Internet site is available only to users who agree to the “Terms and Conditions” of the website. When a user enters the site (after having been redirected from the Georgia General Assembly website) he is greeted with this notice:
Your use of this service is subject to Terms and Conditions. These Terms and Conditions do not apply to the Statutory Text and Numbering contained in the Content of the site. However, the State of Georgia reserves the right to claim and defend the copyright in any copyrightable portions of the site. Please indicate your agreement to the Terms and Conditions by clicking “I Agree” below.
This is troubling, because Lexis-Nexis refers to the OCGA as “the essential reference you need to guide you quickly and efficiently in understanding the Georgia statutory scheme.” Furthermore, those terms and conditions do not allow the information to be copied or shared. Section 2.1 warns,
You may not copy, modify, reproduce, republish, distribute, display, or transmit for commercial, non-profit or public purposes all or any portion of this Web Site, except to the extent permitted above. You may not use or otherwise export or re-export this Web Site or any portion thereof, or the Content in violation of the export control laws and regulations of the United States of America. Any unauthorized use of this Web Site or its Content is prohibited.