Public domain scores a huge appeals court victory: the law cannot be copyrighted (UPDATED) – Boing Boing

Last week, Malamud and EFF his lawyers, Alston & Bird and Elizabeth Rader scored a massive victory in this fight: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit struck down the state of Georgia’s bid to suppress the publication of its laws, upholding Malamud’s right to publish them. The appeals court’s decision was unequivocal in its support for the position that the law is free for all to read and write — and that Georgia’s bid to make its laws pay-to-read was unconstitutional and illegitimate….”

The Internet’s Own Instigator

“For the past 25 years or so, Carl Malamud’s lonely mission has been to seize on the internet’s potential for spreading information — public information that people have a right to see, hear, and read….

Indeed, Malamud has had remarkable success and true impact. If you have accessed EDGAR, the free Securities and Exchange Commission database of corporate information, you owe a debt to Malamud. Same with the database of patents, or the opinions of the US Court of Appeals. Without Malamud, the contents of the Federal Register might still cost $1,700 instead of nothing. If you have listened to a podcast, note that it was Carl Malamud who pioneered the idea of radio-like content on internet audio — in 1993. And so on. As much as any human being on the planet, this unassuming-looking proprietor of a one-man nonprofit — a bald, diminutive, bespectacled 57-year-old — has understood and exploited the net (and the power of the printed word, as well) for disseminating information for the public good….”

Carl Malamud open letter to Georgia General Assembly and RELX

“I am writing in the matter of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA). Despite a crystal-clear unanimous decision from United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on October 19, 2018, holding that people have the absolute right to speak and read Georgia’s official laws, I have been been unable to purchase a current copy of the OCGA….”

Despite Losing Its Copyright Case, The State Of Georgia Still Trying To Stop Carl Malamud From Posting Its Laws | Techdirt

When we last checked in with Carl Malamud and his Public.Resource.Org, they were celebrating a huge victory in Georgia, where the 11th Circuit had ruled that of course Malamud was not infringing on anyone’s copyrights in posting the “Official Code of Georgia Annotated” (OCGA) because there could be no copyright in the law. As we explained at length in previous posts, Georgia has a somewhat bizarre system in which the only official version of their law is the “officially” annotated version, in which the annotations (with citations to caselaw and further explanations) are written by a private company, LexisNexis, which then transfers the copyright (should one exist) on those annotations to the state.

Malamud, of course, has spent years, trying to make it easier for people to access the law — and that means all of the law, not just some of it. So when he posted a much more accessible version of the OCGA, the state sued him for copyright infringement. While the lower court ruled that the OCGA could have copyright, that the State of Georgia could hold it and that Malamud’s work was not fair use, the 11th Circuit tossed that out entirely, saying that since the OCGA was clearly the only official version of the law, there could be no valid copyright in it.

It was a pretty thorough and complete win. And, if the state of Georgia were mature and reasonable, you’d think that they’d (perhaps grudgingly) admit that anyone should have access to its laws and move on. But, this is the state of Georgia we’re talking about. And, it appears that the state has decided that rather than taking the high road, it’s going to act like a petty asshole.

Last week Malamud sent a letter describing how the state is now trying to block him from purchasing a copy of the OCGA. He’s not looking for a discount or any special deal. He wants to buy the OCGA just like anyone else can. And the state is refusing to sell it to him, knowing that he’s going to digitize it, put it online and (gasp) make it easier for the residents of Georgia to read their own damn laws….”

Thousands of Copyrighted Works Will Now Be Freely Available to Teachers – Teaching Now – Education Week Teacher

“Teachers—especially those of English or the arts—rely on famous works of literature, music, and film in their classes, copying and repurposing them to analyze with students.

But often, embedding these works in curricula to share with other teachers or making them available to students can raise questions about copyright: How much of an original movie or poem can a teacher include, and how widely can resources made with these materials be distributed?

As of Jan. 1, thousands of works are newly exempt from these questions. At the beginning of 2019, anything that was originally copyrighted in 1923 passed into the public domain—meaning that anyone can use and reprint it, free of charge and without permission….”

800 GiB torrents with 1500k public domain paywalled papers from before 1923 : DataHoarder

“Happy public domain day to all! A special thought for people in the USA, who until yesterday suffered a 20-years-long winter of ever-expanding copyright.

Today we return to the racket of academic publishers who abuse copyright to enslave thousands of researchers and leech billions in public funding from cultural institutions every year. Following my release of public domain papers and seeing the format of some other releases by other users, today I bring your attention to Scholarly works published until 1909(torrent) and in 1909–1922 (torrent).

Please download and seed the torrents above! Or if you prefer you can add the hashes/magnet links directly, but not all clients support the web seeds provided this way….

These datasets contain 1,518,078 PDF files from various sources, often with added OCR. They were all published before 1923 in international journals. I’m not providing legal advice, but if you consider them simultaneously published to USA they should all be in the public domain in the USA. Yet, publishers apply indiscriminate copyright statements to the contrary, which may constitute copyfraud, and lock nearly all of them behind paywalls or other hurdles, hoping to milk some more profit for who knows how many centuries.

You can also download PDFs by individual publisher, going by their DOI prefix and checking the full list of DOIs (19091923). Internet Archive can also support the direct download of individual files inside the ZIP files but that’s probably best handled by other repositories….”

Where to Download All the Books That Just Entered the Public Domain

“So, how do you actually download these books?

It largely depends on what site you go to, and if you can’t find a book on one site, you can probably find it on another. For instance,, as well as The Literature Network (mostly major authors), and Librivox (audio books), Authorama (all in the public domain), and over a dozen other sites all have vast selections of free ebooks.

There’s also a handful of archiving projects that are doing extensive work to digitize books, journals, music, and other forms of media. A blog post from Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain listed some of the most recognizable works published in 1923, as well as links to download these books on digital archiving projects Internet Archive, HathiTrust, and the Gutenberg Project. …

In total HathiTrust, a massive digital archiving project, has also uploaded more than 53,000 works published in 1923 that just entered the public domain. Over 17,650 of them are books written in English. Similarly, Internet Archive has already uploaded over 15,000 works written in English that year….

If you’re interested in academic papers, Reddit user nemobis also uploaded over 1.5 million PDF files of works published in academic journals before 1923. Your best bet for actually finding something you want to read in there is to know which academic paper you’re looking for beforehand and check the paper’s DOI number. Then, search for the DOI in one of nemobis’s lists of works—one list includes works published until 1909, the other includes works published until 1923….”

Public Domain Day opens floodgates and a few cans of worms – SlashGear

“January 1, 2019 wasn’t just the start of a new year. It was also the start of a new period in the creative history of mankind. After a 20-year delay, copyrighted works from 1923 are now in public domain, with everyone free to adapt and remix them without fear of prosecution. A key moment in copyright and trademark history, these now pubic domain works could usher in a new corpus of literary, musical, and artistic works that could now go public rather than stay underground or in the dark corners of the Web. But it could also challenge existing laws that may have remained untouched since the 20s, causing a bit of chaos in the very same industry….”

Mickey Mouse will be public domain soon—here’s what that means | Ars Technica

“As the ball dropped over Times Square last night, all copyrighted works published in 1923 fell into the public domain (with a few exceptions). Everyone now has the right to republish them or adapt them for use in new works.

It’s the first time this has happened in 21 years.

In 1998, works published in 1922 or earlier were in the public domain, with 1923 works scheduled to expire at the beginning of 1999. But then Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. It added 20 years to the terms of older works, keeping 1923 works locked up until 2019.

Many people—including me—expected another fight over copyright extension in 2018. But it never happened. Congress left the existing law in place, and so those 1923 copyrights expired on schedule this morning.

And assuming Congress doesn’t interfere, more works will fall into the public domain each January from now on….”