Authentication of Primary Legal Materials and Pricing Options

Always worth reading is Intersect Alert, the one published by the SLA San Francisco Bay Region Chapter (and not to be confused with Chuck Bartowski’s Intersect).

This item about a new California Office of Legislative Counsel white paper is from the most recent issue:

Authentication of Primary Legal Materials and Pricing Options
“The recent passage of the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA) has brought to the forefront the issue of costs of authenticating primary legal materials in electronic format. This white paper briefly reviews five methods of electronic authentication. These methods are based on trustworthiness, file types, effort to implement, and volume of electronic documents to be authenticated. Six sample solutions are described and their relative costs are compared. The white paper also frames the legal landscape and background of authentication for primary legal materials in electronic format, and provides context and points to applicable resources. The aim of this collective effort is to promote the understanding of costs related to authentication and invite further discussion on the issue.”
http://www.mnhs.org/preserve/records/legislativerecords/docs_pdfs/CA_Authentication_WhitePaper_Dec2011.pdf

PSSST . . . Wanna Buy a Law?

From the December 5 – December 11, 2011 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek:

Psst . . . Wanna Buy a Law?

“When a company needs a state bill passed, the American Legislative Exchange can get it done” p. 66

How the American Legislative Exchange Council turns a bill into many, many, many laws.

By Brendan Greeley and Alison Fitzgerald.

Illustrations by Luke Best

The American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit based in Washington, brings together state legislators, companies, and advocacy groups to shape “model legislation.” The legislators then take these models back to their own states.  About 1,000 times a year, according to ALEC, a state legislator introduces a bill from its library of more than 800 models.  About 200 times a year, one of them becomes law.  The council, in essence, makes national policy, state by state.

Copyright, Technology, and Access to the Law: An Opinionated Primer

“Copyright, Technology, and Access to the Law: An Opinionated Primer”


NYLS Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08/09-1

JAMES GRIMMELMANN, New York Law School

Recently, the state of Oregon has used copyright law to threaten people who were publishing its laws online. Can they really do that?

More to the point, why would they? This essay will put the Oregon fracas in historical context, and explain the public policies at stake. Ultimately, it’ll try to convince you that Oregon’s demands, while wrong, aren’t unprecedented. People have been claiming copyright in the law for a long time, and at times they’ve been able to make a halfway convincing case for it. While there are good answers to these arguments, they’re not always the first ones that come to hand. It’s really only the arrival of the Internet that genuinely puts the long-standing goal of free and unencumbered access to the law within our grasp.

This essay, written for nonlawyers and people interested in contemporary debates over access to the law, explains what’s at stake in the Oregon dispute, how people have tried such things before, the role of new technologies in improving legal publishing, what the law has to say about it, and where we ought to go from here.

 

Source:  LSN Legal Information & Technology Vol. 1 No. 8,  04/08/2009

Towards an Open Source Legal Operating System

Here’s an article by Katie Fortney, who was an intern at our library.

Abstract:     
An informed democratic society needs open access to the law, but states’ attempts to protect copyright interests in their laws are a major roadblock. This article urges broader access, analyzes the implications and legal arguments for and against copyright in the law, and considers strategies for access advocacy.

Fortney, Katie,Towards an Open Source Legal Operating System(February 20, 2009). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1347158

Carl Malamud’s campaign and his many Stanford Law School friends

From Washington Internet Daily, “Agencies,” March 02, 2009 Monday, Vol. 10 No. 39:

. . . Carl Malamud, pushing state legislatures to renounce any claimed copyright interests in legal codes and make them freely available as searchable databases (WID June 20 p7), has support from big names in free-culture and open-government circles. They include [SLS professor] Larry Lessig, founder of Creative Commons, tech publisher Tim O’Reilly, Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle, Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer [SLS alumnus and lecturer] Fred von Lohmann, Columbia University law professor Tim Wu and University of California at Berkeley law professor Pamela Samuelson. Malamud’s model, described on his campaign site at YesWeScan.org, is Augustus Giegengack. The printer campaigned his way to becoming U.S. Public Printer by getting endorsement letters from Rotary Clubs and hand-delivering them to the Franklin Roosevelt White House. Malamud said the GPO should lead the effort to make all U.S. primary legal materials available online, create more materials for the public domain that can be re- mixed by users, “reboot” the .gov domain by “installing a cloud” and upgrading its video
capabilities, and work more closely with libraries.

Carl is our hero.  And we (as in librarians) are his.  Carl has been a guest speaker at our Advanced Legal Research class and has made many comments about the role of law librarians in liberating legal information, and he spoke at last summer’s AALL meeting in Portland too.

Carl Malamud – Liberating Law

Earlier Erika wrote about Carl Malamud and his public.resource.org codes.gov site.  Today our friend and hero Carl is the subject of a story in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Man provides code manuals free online
Matthew B. Stannard, Chronicle Staff Writer

The San Francisco Chronicle, Saturday, September 27, 2008, p. B1

. . .

“Not everybody is going to read the building code, but everybody who wants to should be able to without putting 100 bucks in the slot,” Malamud said. “Primary legal materials are America’s operating system.”

. . .

“It’s very clear in American law that you can’t get intellectual property protection for law,” said Pamela Samuelson, co-director of the UC Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. “Law belongs to everybody.”

. . .

“This stuff has been locked up behind a cash register,” Malamud said. “(It’s) way too important to just leave it there.”

 

I especially enjoyed reading the comments — all favorable — and note that Carl is not just our hero:

Yep! This guy is my hero. When I had to repair parts of my house up “to code” I was like, “Okay, where’s the code book? Let me read up on it…” When I found out it wasn’t available for free from a government website (the most obvious place for it!) I was shocked. It just made NO sense…

. . .

Its about time!! I am a retired building contractor and I say its about time the public had ready access to laws like this that they are controlled by. if youre controlled by a law or regulation, you should have free and ready access to it Thanks, Mr Malamud

 

There are many more posted at SFGate.com.

 

Story update:

Carl is also the subject of a story in the September 29, 2008 New York Times:

“So many people have been moving into the public domain and putting up fences,” he said in an interview from his office in Sebastopol, Calif., where he runs a one-man operation, public.resource.org, on a budget of about $1 million a year. Much of that money goes to buy material, usually in print form, that he then scans into his computer and makes available on the Internet without restriction.

. . .

As of Labor Day, he had put, he estimates, more than 50 percent of the nation’s 11 public safety codes online, including rules for fire prevention. “We have material from all 50 states, but we don’t have all 11 codes for all 50 states,” he said.

Copyright claims for state statutes – Round Two

Our friends Carl Malamud and Tim Stanley are again in the news:

ROWLAND: California seeks compensation for posting laws online
Kara Rowland
The Washington Times, Monday, September 15, 2008

In the latest instance of states claiming copyright over their laws, public information activist Carl Malamud posted the California Code of Regulations online at public.resource.org. According to the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif., the state government is asserting a copyright over its laws so that people will be forced to buy a digital copy for $1,556 or a print copy for $2,315. The state rakes in nearly $1 million a year from sales of its code.

“We exercise our copyright to benefit the people of California,” Linda Brown, deputy director of California’s Office of Administrative Law, told the paper earlier this month. “We are obtaining compensation for the people of California.”

. . .

Oregon relented in June following negotiations with Mr. Malamud and Mr. Stanley.

Mr. Malamud told the Press Democrat he is willing to go to court.

“If that happens, it opens the doors to innovation,” he said.

My Lunch with Carl

I taught resources in the law at San Jose State University for about a decade.  One thing I told all of my students is that, at some point in their careers, they HAD to hear Bob Berring speak in public.  I instructed them to keep an eye out for presentations he’d be making so that they could attend one of them.  I told my students that they simply couldn’t retire until they had done this.  I still feel that same way about Bob, but since he’s now moved to the Dark Side of teaching contracts law, these librarian-focused speaking engagements of his are much less common.

But last week Erika and I had the pleasure of having lunch with Carl Malamud, and starting this fall all of our students in advanced legal research are going to receive the same admonishment from us:  They have to hear Carl speak.

Those of you attending AALL in Portland  will have such an opportunity and really should attend the Hot Topic session on Sunday, July 13 at 4:15 p.m., Push Back and Push Forward — Open Access in Oregon and Beyond.   You have my personal money-back guarantee that you will find Carl’s presentation entertaining, motivating and inspiring.  And you might be outraged as well — perhaps, even, at Carl.

Carl will be sowing the seeds for the “Doctrine of Primary Coverage,” and you don’t want to miss this.

Tim Stanley is way cool too, and his guest appearance in our advanced legal research class last year was, without doubt, the highlight of the course.

Who:  Tim Stanley and Carl Malamud

What:  AALL Hot Topic, “Push Back and Push Forward — Open Access in Oregon and Beyond.”

Where:  OCC-Portland Ballroom 254

When:  Sunday, July 13, 2008, 4:15 p.m.

Why:  To liberate the law.

Oregon and The Power of Persuasion

According to a detailed, must-read report of the Oregon laws copyright dispute hearing carried by the Loaded Orygun, the hearing “was an astonishing display of open-mindedness and respect for informed opinion that resulted in a victory for the public interest.”   As Loaded Orygun’s post ” Shocking Democracy In LCC Hearing: Decision Actually Swayed by Testimony!” reports:

 Carl Malamud and Karl Olson testified first, making arguments strongly based in case law history. Tim Stanley of Justia.org followed, expressing the impact that the LCC’s decision would have on his business, and also expressing a desire to serve as a facilitator in effective public discourse about the law. They had been pursuing a case in Federal court, which was clearly a concern of the LCC members. The LCC also took verbal testimony from three Oregon residents, the authors of this blog post: Pete Forsyth, a collaboration consultant; Bart Massey, a PSU professor and open source advocate; and Amy Sample Ward, formerly of the Chalkboard Project and current project manager for Connectipedia.org. A number of others, including wiki inventor Ward Cunningham and Portland attorney Matthew Whitman, submitted written testimony. Every legislator was thoroughly engaged with the process, . . .

It brings to mind the words of Margaret Mead:  “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

For those of you who will be in Portland in a couple of weeks, you’ll get to meet these free access thoughtful, committed citizens and learn what they are next setting their sights upon.

Who:  Tim Stanley and Carl Malamud

What:  AALL Hot Topic, “”Push Back and Push Forward — Open Access in Oregon and Beyond.” 

Where:  OCC-Portland Ballroom 254

When:  Sunday, July 13, 2008, 4:15 p.m.

Why:  To liberate the law.

More on Oregon

Carl Malamud’s Oregon page is now updated with the testimony from last week’s hearing:

http://public.resource.org/oregon.gov/