Can the law be copyrighted
- Since we were talking about copyrights, here's the case that decided
that the law cannot be copyrighted. It was a circuit court ruling, not
the Supreme Court, in 2002. The case was Veeck v. SBBCI.
The issue was about 'building codes' which had been written and
copyrighted by a private organization (SBBCI). (Building codes
basically say how buildings are to be built.) The codes were enacted
directly into the law somewhere. The question was whether the building
codes lost their copyright upon becoming law.
The summary from the ruling is:
"The issue in this en banc case is the extent to which a private
organization may assert copyright protection for its model codes, after
the models have been adopted by a legislative body and become "the law".
Specifically, may a code-writing organization prevent a website operator
from posting the text of a model code where the code is identified
simply as the building code of a city that enacted the model code as
law? Our short answer is that as law, the model codes enter the public
domain and are not subject to the copyright holder's exclusive
prerogatives. As model codes, however, the organization's works retain
their protected status."
Which I got from here:
I had heard of this case, which is why I was saying that the text of
legislation cannot be copyrighted, and so there's nothing to worry about
there (until/if the Supreme Court ever rules otherwise). Of course,
it's up to our imagination how this might extend to other law-related
- Joshua Tauberer
** Nothing Unreal Exists **