The value of open access

“It’s a common question we get asked: “Why is open publishing important for the legal community?”

Part of the answer is that the status quo isn’t working. Information about the law should be available to everyone regardless of who they are. Legal information must not be restricted to those who have the most resources.

Another part of the answer is that members of the legal community often give their time for free to create content, or in some cases get paid very little to do that work. Then institutions have to pay to purchase or subscribe to content written by their employees. This is similar to universities who pay salaries to researchers who write articles as part of their work, which they then publish in journals after they’ve been edited by volunteers. The journals are then made available to the universities at a cost they can barely afford.

Open publishing is a model that helps the community get what it needs in a less extractive way….”

Revisiting the Open Access Citation Advantage for Legal Scholarship

“Citation studies in law have shown a significant citation advantage for open access legal scholarship. A recent cross-disciplinary study, however, gave opposite results. This article shows how methodology, including the definition of open access and the source of the citation data, can affect the results of open access citation studies.”

Revisiting the Open Access Citation Advantage for Legal Scholarship

“Citation studies in law have shown a significant citation advantage for open access legal scholarship. A recent cross-disciplinary study, however, gave opposite results. This article shows how methodology, including the definition of open access and the source of the citation data, can affect the results of open access citation studies.”

How Many Copies Are Enough Revisited: Open Access Legal Scholarship in the Time of Collection Budget Constraints

“This article discusses the results of a study in to the open access accessibility of law reviews, followed by a discussion of why open access has such a high rate of adoption among law reviews, especially in comparison to the journal literature in other disciplines.”

How Many Copies Are Enough Revisited: Open Access Legal Scholarship in the Time of Collection Budget Constraints

“This article discusses the results of a study in to the open access accessibility of law reviews, followed by a discussion of why open access has such a high rate of adoption among law reviews, especially in comparison to the journal literature in other disciplines.”

Law Professors Make Their Textbooks Free, Hoping to Ease Students’ Financial Burdens | Washington Square News

“Law textbooks, which can cost up to $300, take up only a small fraction of NYU School of Law students’ $66,000 tuition. Still, they are an expenditure that three professors hope to help students save.

Professors Barton Beebe, Christopher Sprigman and Jeanne Fromer have eliminated the costs of two required textbooks for trademark and copyright law classes — “Trademark Law: An Open-Source Casebook” and “Copyright Law: Cases and Materials” — which normally cost around $200….”

Law Professors Make Their Textbooks Free, Hoping to Ease Students’ Financial Burdens | Washington Square News

“Law textbooks, which can cost up to $300, take up only a small fraction of NYU School of Law students’ $66,000 tuition. Still, they are an expenditure that three professors hope to help students save.

Professors Barton Beebe, Christopher Sprigman and Jeanne Fromer have eliminated the costs of two required textbooks for trademark and copyright law classes — “Trademark Law: An Open-Source Casebook” and “Copyright Law: Cases and Materials” — which normally cost around $200….”

Justices debate allowing state law to be “hidden behind a pay wall” | Ars Technica

“The courts have long held that laws can’t be copyrighted. But if the state mixes the text of the law together with supporting information, things get trickier. In Monday oral arguments, the US Supreme Court wrestled with the copyright status of Georgia’s official legal code, which includes annotations written by LexisNexis.

The defendant in the case is Public.Resource.Org (PRO), a non-profit organization that publishes public-domain legal materials. The group obtained Georgia’s official version of state law, known as the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, and published the code on its website. The state of Georgia sued, arguing that while the law itself is in the public domain, the accompanying annotations are copyrighted works that can’t be published by anyone except LexisNexis.

Georgia won at the trial court level, but PRO won at the appeals court level. On Monday, the case reached the US Supreme Court.

During Monday’s oral argument, some justices seemed skeptical of Georgia’s position.

“Why would we allow the official law to be hidden behind a pay wall?” asked Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Georgia’s lawyer countered that the law wasn’t hidden behind a paywall—at least not the legally binding parts. LexisNexis offers a free version of Georgia’s code, sans annotations, on its website.

But that version isn’t the official code. LexisNexis’ terms of service explicitly warns users that it might be inaccurate. The company also prohibits users from scraping the site’s content. If you want to own the latest official version of the state code, you have to pay LexisNexis hundreds of dollars. And if you want to publish your own copy of Georgia’s official code, you’re out of luck….”

Georgia v. PublicResource.Org: Copyright Case Before the Supreme Court | Authors Alliance

“The Code Revision Commission (the “Commission”), an arm of the State of Georgia’s General Assembly, is mandated to ensure publication of the statutes adopted by the General Assembly. It does so by contracting with the LexisNexis Group (“Lexis”) to maintain, publish, and distribute the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (“OCGA”), an annotated compilation of Georgia’s statutes. Following guidelines provided by the Commission, Lexis prepares and sells OCGA, which includes the statutory text of Georgia’s laws and annotations (such as summaries of judicial decisions interpreting or applying particular statutes). Lexis also makes unannotated versions of the statutes available online.

Public.Resource.Org (“PRO”) is a non-profit organization that promotes access to government records and primary legal materials. PRO makes government documents available online, including the official codes and other rules, regulations, and standards legally adopted by federal, state, and local authorities, giving the public free access to these documents. PRO purchased printed copies of the OCGA, digitized its content, and posted copies online through its own website.

Georgia filed suit against PRO claiming copyright infringement. Before the lower courts, PRO invoked the judicially-created “government edicts” doctrine. As a matter of public policy, courts have held that government edicts having the force of law, such as statutes and judicial decisions, are not eligible for copyright protection. While the court of first instance agreed with the State of Georgia and the OCGA was found to be copyrightable, on appeal the Eleventh Circuit held that under the government edicts doctrine, OCGA is not copyrightable and rejected Georgia’s infringement claim against PRO. Now, the issue before the Supreme Court is whether Georgia can claim copyrights over the OCGA annotations or if it is prevented from doing so because the annotations are an edict of government….”

Georgia v. PublicResource.Org: Copyright Case Before the Supreme Court | Authors Alliance

“The Code Revision Commission (the “Commission”), an arm of the State of Georgia’s General Assembly, is mandated to ensure publication of the statutes adopted by the General Assembly. It does so by contracting with the LexisNexis Group (“Lexis”) to maintain, publish, and distribute the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (“OCGA”), an annotated compilation of Georgia’s statutes. Following guidelines provided by the Commission, Lexis prepares and sells OCGA, which includes the statutory text of Georgia’s laws and annotations (such as summaries of judicial decisions interpreting or applying particular statutes). Lexis also makes unannotated versions of the statutes available online.

Public.Resource.Org (“PRO”) is a non-profit organization that promotes access to government records and primary legal materials. PRO makes government documents available online, including the official codes and other rules, regulations, and standards legally adopted by federal, state, and local authorities, giving the public free access to these documents. PRO purchased printed copies of the OCGA, digitized its content, and posted copies online through its own website.

Georgia filed suit against PRO claiming copyright infringement. Before the lower courts, PRO invoked the judicially-created “government edicts” doctrine. As a matter of public policy, courts have held that government edicts having the force of law, such as statutes and judicial decisions, are not eligible for copyright protection. While the court of first instance agreed with the State of Georgia and the OCGA was found to be copyrightable, on appeal the Eleventh Circuit held that under the government edicts doctrine, OCGA is not copyrightable and rejected Georgia’s infringement claim against PRO. Now, the issue before the Supreme Court is whether Georgia can claim copyrights over the OCGA annotations or if it is prevented from doing so because the annotations are an edict of government….”