We Interrupt This Hellscape With A Bit Of Good News On The Copyright Front
from the carl-malamud-versus-the-world dept
We’ve written about this case ? or rather, these cases ? a few times before: Carl Malamud published the entire Code of Federal Regulations at Public.Resource.org, including all the standards that the CFR incorporated and thus gave the force of law. Several organizations that had originally promulgated these various standards then sued Public Resource ? in two separate but substantially similar cases later combined ? for copyright infringement stemming from his having included them.
In a set of really unfortunate decisions, the district court upheld the infringement claims, finding that the standards were copyrightable (and also actually owned by the standards organizations claiming them, despite reason to doubt those ownership claims), and that Public Resource including them as part of its efforts to post the law online was not a fair use. But then the DC Circuit reversed that decision. While it generally left the overall question of copyrightability for another day, it did direct the district court to re-evaluate whether the publication of the standards was fair use.
Now back at the district court, the cases had proceeded to the summary judgment stage and were awaiting a new ruling for the court. One case still remains pending ? ASTM v Public.Resource.Org ? but the other one, American Educational Research Association et al. v. Public.Resource.Org, has now been dismissed by the plaintiffs with prejudice. Effectively that means that Public Resource wins and can continue to host these standards online. Which is good news for Public Resource and its users. But it does still leave anyone else’s ability to repost standards incorporated into law up in the air. Hopefully when the court eventually rules in the remaining case it will find such use fair, and in a way that others can similarly avail themselves of the ability to fully publish the law.