Monday, February 6, 2017
Federal District Court Rules That Laws Can Be Hidden Behind Paywalls
Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
A federal district court has ruled that private standards organizations that write regulations, which are incorporated into federal law, can use copyright to deny access to knowledge of those regulations.The ruling came against Public.Resource.org, a site that publishes government documents on federal and state laws including regulations that become law through incorporation by reference: regulations that are initially created by private standards organizations and incorporated into federal law, but are not published in the federal code. Six private standards organizations filed suit against Public.Resource.org for what they claim is copyright infringement. As the EFF pointed out, this sets a precedent for a more secretive government since lobbyists and special interest groups often write draft bills that are passed verbatim. Citizens already break laws they don’t know about, but this will simply exacerbate the problem.