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Hearing Monday: EFF Asks Appeals Court To Rule Copyright Can't Be Used To Control the Public's Access to Our Laws

Industry Groups' Lawsuit Threatens Public.Resource.org's Online Archives of Laws
PRESS RELEASE
May 10, 2018

Hearing Monday: EFF Asks Appeals Court To Rule Copyright Can't Be Used To Control the Public's Access to Our Laws

Washington, D.C.-On Monday, May 14, at 9:30 am, EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry will argue in court that the public has a right to access, copy, and share the law—and industry groups that helped develop certain legal rules can't inhibit that right by claiming ownership in those rules.

EFF represents Public.Resource.org, a website by a nonprofit organization that works to improve public access to government documents, including our laws. To fulfill that mission, it acquires and posts online a wide variety of public documents, including regulations that are initially created through private standards organizations but later incorporated into mandatory federal and state law.

Public.Resource.org was sued by six huge private industry groups that work on fire, safety, energy efficiency, and educational testing standards. The industry groups claim copyright over parts of laws—published online by Public.Resource.org—that began as private standards, and they claim they can decide who can access and copy that law, and on what terms.

McSherry will urge the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to overturn a lower court ruling that threatens to shut down Public.Resourceorg's online archive of laws. Private organizations must not be allowed to abuse copyright to control who can read and speak the law, or where and how laws can be accessed.

What: Hearing in ASTM v. Public.Resource.org

When: Monday, May 14, 9:30 am

Where: U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse
Courtroom 31
333 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001

For more information on this case:
https://www.eff.org/cases/publicresource-freeingthelaw

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