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Malamud to propose an Edicts of Government Amendment

[UPDATE 1/14/14: the hearing including Carl Malamud’s testimony is now available vis CSPAN. JRJ]

Carl Malamud will be testifying at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Scope of Copyright Protection On Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 10AM. Hi testimony will be on the subject of Edicts of Government, including copyright assertions over state laws and federally-mandated public safety codes. He’s made his prepared statement available on his public.resource.org site.


Chairman Goodlatte, Subcommittee Chairman Coble, Ranking Member Conyers, and members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to provide to you this testimony on the subject of edicts of government. In this testimony, I will:

  1. Review the long-standing doctrine in the common law that edicts of government have no copyright because such court opinions, statutes, regulations, and other pronouncements of general applicability belong to the people.
  2. Discuss the legal threats that my non-profit, Public.Resource.Org, faces from several states for copying and posting their state laws online.
  3. Discuss similar threats that Public.Resource.Org faces for posting public safety codes incorporated by reference into federal and state law.
  4. Discuss why making the law available is not a threat to the business models of standards bodies and codification companies and why making these laws available is essential to promote innovation and the rule of law.
  5. Propose a simple amendment to the Copyright Act to bring it into line with long-standing Supreme Court precedent and with public policy.

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