3 Count: Free Georgia Law

Georgia on my mind...

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1: Supreme Court Says Georgia Must Provide Official Code Free to Public

First off today, Bill Rankin at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Supreme Court has issued its ruling over the state of Georgia’s annotated legal code. There, the court ruled that the annotated code could not be protected by copyright, effectively ending the state’s bid to block free publication of it online.

The case pits the state of Georgia against Carl Malamud and his website Public.Resource.org. On that site, Malamud published the entirety of Georgia’s annotated code, which includes not just the legislation but summaries of judicial opinions, opinions by the state attorney general and other key references. Georgia currently charges $400 for the annotated code through a partnership with LexisNexis.

However, the Supreme Court says that practice may be coming to an end because the code cannot be protected by copyright. According to the 5-4 majority, since Georgia’s code is authored by the legislature as part of the legislative duties, the code is outside the reach of copyright protection. According to the dissent, some 22 other states also rely on a similar arrangement to Georgia’s and will likely have to give up selling the code. Some, it said, may stop producing annotated codes altogether.

2: Appeals Court Reviews ‘Star Trek’/Dr. Seuss Mashup

Next up today, Eriq Gardner at The Hollywood Reporter Esquire reports that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has heard arguments in the case over the comic book Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!, a Star Trek-Dr. Seuess mashup/parody that drew a lawsuit from Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

The project was launched as a Kickstarter in 2016 by the company ComixMix. However, in March 2019 the district court ruled that the book was fair use and effectively tossed the case. However, Dr. Seuss Enterprises appealed the case and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments on it this week.

To that end, the judges on the panel seemed skeptical of the lower court’s opinion. Namely, there was skepticism that the creation of a mashup automatically made it on par with parody and made it transformative enough to qualify as fair use. There were also questions as to the potential harm to the marketplace the mashup could do as it is intended as a graduation gift, something the original Dr. Seuss book is often used as.

3: Film Piracy Has Been Skyrocketing As People Stay Home

Finally today, Rosa Escandon at Forbes reports that, according to a new report, quarantine has caused an increase in legitimate streaming but has also caused a similar increase in piracy, with piracy-related sites seeing more than a 40 percent jump in traffic.

The report comes from the traffic-monitoring company Muso, which showed that the use of pirate sites grew by 41.4% in the UK and 42.5% in the United States. There were similar jumps in other European nations, such as 66% in Italy, 50.4% in Spain and 35.5% in Germany.

However, the news is not all bad as legitimate streaming services have also seen an increase in numbers with Netflix adding some 15 million subscribers and Disney+ also reporting a sharp rise in users.

The 3 Count Logo was created by Justin Goff and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

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