Code Revision Commission v. Public.Resource.Org and the Fight Over Copyright Protection for Annotations and Commentary
This Article analyzes Code Revision Commission v. Public.Resource.Org, a 2018 decision in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit applied the public edicts doctrine and held that Georgia’s copyright on the annotations, commentary, and analyses in the Official Code of Georgia Annotated is invalid. The U.S. Supreme Court granted Georgia’s Petition for a Writ of Certiorari on June 24, 2019. About a third of states claim copyright in the annotations to their codes, so the potential impact of this decision is substantial.
This Article’s thesis is that the Eleventh Circuit was wrong and should be reversed. It first discusses the code revision process in Georgia and the Public.Resource.Org litigation. It next analyzes the Eleventh Circuit’s three independent but related reasons for concluding that the annotations are law‑like: (1) the identity of the public officials who created the work; (2) the authoritativeness of the work; and (3) the process for creating the work. This analysis is followed by a discussion of the merger doctrine, a discussion of the use of the term ‘merger’ in O.C.G.A. § 1-1-1, and a brief summary of Supremacy Clause concerns. This Article concludes that the Eleventh Circuit should be reversed by the United States Supreme Court.
Shipley, David E.
"Code Revision Commission v. Public.Resource.Org and the Fight Over Copyright Protection for Annotations and Commentary,"
Georgia Law Review: Vol. 54:
1, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/glr/vol54/iss1/4