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Professor Posts "Illegal Copy" of Guide To Oregon Public Record Laws

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the hey-man-I-paid-for-that dept.

Government 318

An anonymous reader writes "Copyright law has previously been used by some states to try to prevent people from passing around copies of their own government's laws. But in a new level of meta-absurdity, the attorney general of Oregon is claiming copyright over a state-produced guide to using public-records laws. That isn't sitting well with one frequent user of the laws, who has posted a copy of the guide to his website and is daring the AG to respond. The AG, who previously pledged to improve responses to public-records requests, has not responded yet." The challenger here is University of Oregon Professor Bill Harbaugh.

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318 comments

Inherintly unconstitutional (5, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445131)

How can the law which every citizen expected to comply with be allowed to exist under Copyright? How can keeping us from copying the law possibly be an advancement of the sciences and useful arts? Once it becomes law it is no longer a creative work and is now a fact, a fact which is by its very nature that which least deserves to be kept from the public.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (4, Informative)

Pinckney (1098477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445165)

Note that Oregon isn't AFAIK claiming copyright over their laws. The text in question is not the laws, but rather a book to explain the law. However, they can be understood without it.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29445219)

and I thought all works of government were to be public domain (except classified info)

Does not fly (2, Insightful)

mollog (841386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445257)

Nope, not buying it. Especially if it pertains to public policy. Any legal description, guide, index, or other derivative document of law should, by its implied use, be public domain.

Re:Does not fly (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445695)

Nope, not buying it. Especially if it pertains to public policy. Any legal description, guide, index, or other derivative document of law should, by its implied use, be public domain.

You are welcome to lobby Congress to incorporate that radical provision into copyright law, but I don't think its going to fly. If you restrict it to those when "created by a public entity", you might have a tiny bit better luck, as without that your proposal would deny copyright to privately written legal texts, etc. (Anyhow, rather than exceptions to copyright to the work based on its "implied use", why wouldn't you just create an exception to the exclusive rights of copyright based on the actual use as, essentially, an extension to the existing Fair Use rule? That seems to me to be more sensible.)

But, at any rate, that's not the law as it stands, so even granting (for the sake of argument only) that your proposal ought to be the law, it isn't the law, and so isn't a convincing argument for why this work would be outside the scope of copyright under the law today.

Re:Does not fly (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#29446059)

It's the law for federal documents. None of them are copyrightable.
I would be surprised in this would actually hold up in court, or even go to court becasue what started this and the fact that the assistant is involved in a case the AG is trying to cover up. If they take this to court, not only are they likely to lose* but facts about the other case will come out.

*based on other city agency tnhat ahve to give out public information.
check out Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)6

http://www.cendi.gov/publications/04-8copyright.html [cendi.gov]

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (5, Insightful)

samcan (1349105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445261)

U.S. government works are automatically public domain. Shouldn't state government materials be the same way?

The latest absurdity to come out of my home state. (The first was yesterday [slashdot.org].) And I thought Kroger was a good guy, for a Democrat.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445443)

I like the Per-Mile Road Toll system, so long as it eliminates the current gasoline tax, and the money is earmarked for only road projects. I also believe it will be necessary as we transition to EVs or pluggable hybrids that don't burn any gasoline. They need to be assessed for their road usage somehow, and the per-mile toll system seems a logical step.

I don't think these systems should be GPS-enabled, but instead tied to the odometer which tracks miles but not location. Perhaps at your annual car inspection you would say, "My odometer claims I drove 20,000 miles," and hand-over around $180 to the state inspector after he verifies the claim. That seems like a good approach to me.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445751)

U.S. government works are automatically public domain. Shouldn't state government materials be the same way?

Maybe they should be. You are free to lobby your state government to create a law dedicating every state-created work which would be subject to copyright to the public domain.

Personally, I think copyright protection can often be useful to states, though I'd like to see states recognize that, given the fact they aren't private entities competing for profit that benefit by imposing costs on other entities that are similarly situated, they would be well advised to generally adopt liberal licensing schemes for most works.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (-1, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445953)

>>>U.S. government works are automatically public domain. Shouldn't state government materials be the same way? The latest absurdity to come out of my home state. (The first was yesterday [Congress Mulls Research Into a Vehicle Mileage Tax])
>>>

I like the Per-Mile Road Toll system, so long as it eliminates the current gasoline tax, and the money is earmarked for only road projects. I also believe it will be necessary as we transition to EVs or pluggable hybrids that don't burn any gasoline. They need to be assessed for their road usage somehow, and the per-mile toll system seems a logical step.

I don't think these systems should be GPS-enabled, but instead tied to the odometer which tracks miles but not location. Perhaps at your annual car inspection you would say, "My odometer claims I drove 20,000 miles," and hand-over around $180 to the state inspector after he verifies the claim. That seems like a good approach to me.

Anyway back to topic -

Although all U.S. government works are automatically public domain, State Legislatures have no such law. Apparently Oregon is one of those that does not make laws or documents public domain.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445317)

This particular instance might not actually be the law but there are plenty of instances where standardized laws have been written by trade groups and then implemented by multiple states, if you look for a copy of the law it says see publication xyz which you can't find a copy of without spending $$$ for because it's under copyright. It's all the same mentality where the government thinks it's ok to keep things to themselves, it's absolutely not. If this was the work product of that agency then it was paid for by the citizens, if it was the work product of a firm hired by the agency it's the same deal, and if it's boilerplate from some 3rd party then if it's used under license by the government agency should make it completely open. A good example of such shenanigans is the national electric code, if you want to legally modify the wiring in your home in most jurisdictions then you need to follow it but it is only available for $82 from NFPA which is just wrong.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445339)

Even if I bought your explanation, the book was produced by Oregon taxpayers so it the copyright holder is *them* not the AG who is just an employee of the taxpayer. QED the book should be freely-copyable by the people who paid the bill (Oregonians).

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29445421)

"state-produced" guide to using public-records laws

A short Oregon History of the law... (5, Interesting)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445661)

Even more Ironic: Many of these came about due to complaints from the media, caused by one School district.

A few years ago, the publicly elected board of a very small rural school district in southern Oregon decided to investigate some reports of fraud, embezzlement, unfair contract favoritism, and lots of other nasty allegations about some employees at the school. Not the teachers, but, if I remember right, the food service, facilities, etc. So the board hired someone they liked to investigate. (He happened to also be the school board's lawyer). So he did his investigation, and when they did the presentation to the board, they kicked everyone out of the room, chatted for a few minutes, and let everyone back in.. then the board said "there was nothing in the report that showed any truth the rumors". So people asked to see the damn report. And the board claimed it was Attorney client privilege under state of Oregon law, which is not available under the open records laws.

Basically, the Gist of why every newspaper and TV channel (and a bunch of citizens) were filing objections, was the district was arguing that even if they pay a lawyer to do anything for the district (even write a book report) that could be considered client-attorney privilege, if the board decides.

Well, that and the people were pissed that the Small school district, that had huge money problems, had a roof collapse in a school they couldn't afford to fix, etc.. spent huge amounts of money, appealing rulings too keep secret a report paid for with tax payer dollars, about how tax payer dollars were potentially being abused. (I don't miss living in the small towns)
http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A126655.htm [state.or.us]

Re:A short Oregon History of the law... (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29446017)

I would have stolen the report. If my taxpayer dollars are paying for it, I'm going to look at it. (And make copies.)

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445749)

Per the article considering their rationale for charging for it is that "only a truly elite group of people want, and to "cover costs of publishing", it's noted that PACER is supposed to be free as well, which is also law documentation.

So considering that the book charges for nothing, it's noted that it would be a legitimate government cost to ask the government to fund cost of any copies of the book requested and to provide it freely as they would any other book upon which is the basis of law.

Or they could I don't know, post it as a PDF or something and just move on. Whoops.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (2, Insightful)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445169)

This is part of the massive conspiracy to eventually make all citizens criminals by default. To alleviate the problem, all citizens will have to go to some form of re-education at a young age to receive a certificate that deems them non-criminals. Or something. Really, I think it's just a way for them to say we're all law-breakers, then not let us see what law it is. Our Kangaroo Courts will throw more people into jail faster if you remove the "why" part of "Guilty!".

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (2, Insightful)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445233)

I read that book. Something about a new testimony or something. What I learned is that we're all sinners.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445465)

At least that'll appease our right-wingers that want the US to be a Christian Nation...

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29445337)

Conspiracy? Sure, that might be true if it weren't already the state of things. They don't need to conspire any longer, that reality has already come to exist.

There are literally so many laws now that even a swarm of lawyers, each with their own area of expertise, couldn't say that any given activity was legal with 100% confidence.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (1, Insightful)

JesseL (107722) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445623)

"Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get It straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against - then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it.

There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Resrden, that's the garrie, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445183)

The question here is not whether he can post the laws themselves; that has already been tried and failed. He is posting a copyrighted guide to the laws.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445331)

I know, don't reply to yourself, but I screwed up. I meant to say that copyrighting the laws has been tried and failed.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29445363)

you're saying he failed to post the laws themselves?

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (2, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445445)

He is posting a copyrighted guide to the laws.

Which was paid for by the taxpayers. Why is it copyrightable again?

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#29446013)

Who wrote the guide (i.e. who paid for it to be written), and who owns the copyright?

Inherently crazy (1)

mollog (841386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445197)

First of all, I have an issue with the government copyrighting anything. If the government created it, it is public domain, right?

If there is some issue of value of a property, then the government needs to sell the property to a private party. But the concept of the government blocking access to legal documents such as text of laws, records and minutes of meetings, etc., blows my mind. That AG needs to be sued.

Government corruption, again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29445329)

The U.S. federal and state governments are sometimes extremely corrupt.

Banks and big corporations control the government, not the people. This government arrogance concerning the average citizen is common.

Re:Government corruption, again. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445997)

It's a natural reaction brought upon by years and years of, well, corruption guised as "governmental". On one hand allowing banks and big corps to control the government is their fault, but on the other, it is also the government's fault for allowing themselves to be controlled by the banks and big corporations. chicken vs egg argument to me?

Re:Inherently crazy (1)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445819)

Exactly.

If I write software to solve a problem in my company, it belongs to my company, I can't go out and copyright it.

The only reason for a copyright would be to prevent someone else to take it and claim it as their own works, and to prevent anyone from preventing free distribution of this document.

So besides jumping up and down pointing a finger and crying plagiarism, what else is to prevent a scoundrel from doing this?

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (3, Insightful)

Shagg (99693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445223)

I thought the government wasn't allowed to hold a copyright. Content that is created by the government (IE, with public funding) is automatically public domain. That's spelled out in copyright law, isn't it?

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (2, Informative)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445531)

I know it is spelled out for the Fed, but I'm not sure it is so for the States. Each State is a semi-independant entity, and copyright law may have left that in the hands of each state. This attitude is common in the Constitution.

Any experts out there that can clarify?

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (1)

Shagg (99693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445569)

You're probably right. I think it'd Fed only.

IMO, it should apply to states as well though.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29445309)

And if they are prevented from being copied and freely distributed, how can anybody be reasonably expected to comply with them? Surely the better the understanding of the laws, the less likely it is that they'll be broken.
Logically, it would be impossible to follow a law without knowledge of its existence. You might happen to do so by sheer happenstance, but given the somewhat convoluted workings of the majority of them, it's a long stretch. Should you even be prosecuted for failure to comply?
While it's true that very few people are aware of all of the laws (a gargantuan task, sadly), at the very least they need to be freely available so that it is at least possible to familiarise yourself with them.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (5, Informative)

sukotto (122876) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445605)

There's precedent for this. Gilmore v. Ashcroft ( http://cryptome.org/freetotravel.htm [cryptome.org] ) shows that the government doesn't even have to let you read the law.
Copying is a subset of reading. So if they can stop you from reading the law, they can certainly stop you from copying the law.

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445713)

This is so very true. In this case, it is merely the interpretation and application of the law that is "creative."

Re:Inherintly unconstitutional (1)

icannotthinkofaname (1480543) | more than 4 years ago | (#29446031)

How can the law which every citizen expected to comply with be allowed to exist under Copyright? How can keeping us from copying the law possibly be an advancement of the sciences and useful arts? Once it becomes law it is no longer a creative work and is now a fact, a fact which is by its very nature that which least deserves to be kept from the public.

Simple answer: There are few, if any, good reasons why it can happen. For any law to be reasonably enforceable, it must be communicated to the citizens in a timely manner and in language that the average citizen can understand.

To prevent distribution of the text of a law by any means is to make that law ineffective. In short, they can't keep it from you if they mean to enforce it.

I don't care if the text of United States law or Oregon law reads differently; this is how it is from an ethical standpoint.

Remember (1, Informative)

captnbmoore (911895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445159)

He who controls the information controls the people. The only need to claim copyright on laws is to keep people from understanding the laws. If some of these laws were to get out it would probably piss off the people. Just like bupkis's new Health care reform law that fines people 3800 for not having health insurance.

Re:Remember (1, Offtopic)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445397)

Please learn the background on the health care debate before you make yourself sound silly again. None of the current proposals have the $3800 number, and the reason for the "fine" is a simple, statistical necessity for a working system. (For reference, the "fine" is typically the actuarial value of a benficiary; i.e. - the cost to insure a member of a nominally infinite pool without maintenance costs).

Re:Remember (1)

captnbmoore (911895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445485)

Yes your absolutely right. Now show me in the Constitution where the Gov can force me to have to pay for something that I don't want.

Re:Remember (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445579)

Try going without car insurance for a while, and see how well that works out for you.

Try not paying taxes for a while, and see how that works out for you.

Re:Remember (1)

captnbmoore (911895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445631)

Until you get pulled over or have a accident I guess it works out ok for lots of folks. I don't pay taxes. I'm 100% disabled via the fine gov-run heath plan called the VA.

Re:Remember (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445857)

Until you get pulled over or have a accident I guess it works out ok for lots of folks.

That's the point, it's fine until the government finds out you're driving without it. Then you often end up in jail with hefty fines. I actually hit a guy (very slick roads, company truck, company too cheap for studs) and he was hauled off in the back of a police car for driving uninsured.

With the gov't health care plan, it will be pretty easy for them to find out, and therefore fine, people without insurance. They don't need to wait until you get pulled over, they have everybody with a social security number and a job.

Re:Remember (2, Interesting)

the_crowbar (149535) | more than 4 years ago | (#29446033)

In my state (South Carolina, haven't we been in the news a lot lately) a legally licensed driver can pay a fee ($550/year) to drive as an uninsured motorist. Driving without insurance is not illegal here. Of course most people who drive without insurance have not paid the fee and are illegal.

http://www.scdmvonline.com/DMVNew/default.aspx?n=titleandreg#RegisteringasanUninsuredMotorist [scdmvonline.com]

Cheers,
the_crowbar

Re:Remember (1)

captnbmoore (911895) | more than 4 years ago | (#29446063)

Still most people don't want their taxes going up even more to pay for the ones that don't want insurance.

Here is a quote on the new health bill.

"The plan would be paid for with $507 billion in cuts to government health programs and $349 billion in new taxes and fees, including a tax on high-end insurance plans and fees charged to insurance companies and medical device manufacturers."

Whom do you think will end up footing the bill. a small minority of people cause you damn well that the ins co will not pay the fees out of the kindness of their heart.

It's just one vicious cycle. soon you'll be working to pay just ins prem. and taxes. What's left won't be enough to feed much less house yourself.

As far as car ins. It is only mandated by certain states. Not all states have mandatory ins. I have car ins to cover any loses to the lien holder. and uninsured motorist. because there are people who drive without insurance. around here it's mainly Mexican's from Mexico.

Re:Remember (1, Offtopic)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445553)

Why shouldn't a person be allowed to self-insure? Mandatory health insurance is robbery on the part of government and the health insurance lobby.

Re:Remember (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445789)

The only need to claim copyright on laws is to keep people from understanding the laws.

I hate to interrupt your rant, but the issue here is not someone claiming copyright on the laws.

Is he profiting from the publication somehow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29445167)

I've never understood how state government purports to work, except on the taxation side. Do they only see dollar signs?

Why would they even CARE that he reposted their guide, unless he's selling it or using it to promote ad clicks, etc?

Is this legal guide somehow "sensitive information"? Are they trying to say the state's legal code is intellectual property?

Somehow I expected Oregon to be above this kind of horseshit.

Re:Is he profiting from the publication somehow? (1)

mikael (484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445375)

If someone else republishes out of date legislation,or information packs, then that can be a problem. It's not going to be fun arranging finances only to find that the laws or requirements have changed or are no longer valid.

Double standards galore (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29445185)

That's nothing.
A BSA's henchmen used an unlicensed software for License auditing in Finland.

http://www.samimattila.com/

Shoot him. (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445203)

Huh. That subject line just popped-up automatically in Firefox. That's kinda scary. ----- Anyway normally I'd say "fire the employee" but since there's no way for the citizens to fire Oregon's General Attorney, the only other option is to exercise the Founders' Constitutionally protected right to revolt. (amendment two)

As the founder of the Democractic Party observed: "When the people fear government, there is tyranny. When the government functionaries fear the people, then there is liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

Re:Shoot him. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29445303)

And if he looked at the current Democratic party, he'd probably demand to be removed from any Dem reference to his name.

Re:Shoot him. (1, Flamebait)

soundguy (415780) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445781)

...and if Lincoln could see the pack of ignorant, violent, reactionary animals that now infests and defiles his once-proud Republican party, he'd shoot HIMSELF in the head.

Re:Shoot him. (2, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445369)

Huh. That subject line just popped-up automatically in Firefox. That's kinda scary. ----- Anyway normally I'd say "fire the employee" but since there's no way for the citizens to fire Oregon's General Attorney, the only other option is to exercise the Founders' Constitutionally protected right to revolt. (amendment two)

The attorney general of Oregon is an elected position. So he can be voted out of office at the next election. Even if the position were not elected but appointed one could vote out of office the governor who appointed him. Also, the second amendment never gives you any Constitutionally protected right to revolt. It gives a right to keep arms.

Re:Shoot him. (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445739)

Also, the second amendment never gives you any Constitutionally protected right to revolt. It gives a right to keep arms.

And when they put that in the Bill of Rights, the country had just fought a revolutionary war for their independance from England, with an army made up of regular joe citizens.

I'll tell you one thing they were NOT thinking about when they put that in, and that's hunting. Care to guess what their reasoning may have been for making that provision manditory for the ratification of the Constitution, so soon after overthrowing an oppressive government?

If you guess the ultimate right of the citizenry to overthrow their government, you guessed correctly.

That said, I think the GP is treating it a little (by a little, I mean extremely) lightly, revolution is a terrifying option that would result in mass bloodshed and a broken, weak country. It's not something you do over a state AG claiming bullshit copyright.

Re:Shoot him. (5, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445811)

Well it's standard legal procedure when reviewing laws to go back and discover the "original intent" of the men who authored the law. Let's see what the authors behind the Second Amendment said about it - "On every question of construction (of the Constitution) let us carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed." (Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Johnson, June 12, 1823)

.

"The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed..... for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive. " ---Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia 1787).

During the Massachusetts ratifying convention William Symmes warned that the new government at some point "shall be too firmly fixed in the saddle to be overthrown by anything but a general insurrection."

"O sir, we should have fine times, indeed, if, to punish tyrants, it were only sufficient to assemble the people! Your arms, wherewith you could defend yourselves, are gone...Did you ever read of any revolution in a nation...inflicted by those who had no power at all?" and "nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined." - Patrick Henry

"When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them." - George Mason

"And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms....The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants" - future founder of the Democratic Party, Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William S. Smith in 1787

And last but certainly not least:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people," from the Constitution itself -AND- "Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness" from the 1776 Declaration of Independence

Aside -

I'm sorry if these pro-liberty, pro-revolutionary viewpoints are inconvenient for your pro-big-government view. I don't mean offense. I mean to educate.

Re:Shoot him. (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445821)

Also, the second amendment never gives you any Constitutionally protected right to revolt. It gives a right to keep arms.

Not explicitly but it's implicit if you consider what else the founders wrote and the context in which the 2nd amendment was written. The purpose is for defense of the individual. That includes defense from an oppressive state.

Re:Shoot him. (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445869)

Context: "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it," And in that point in time "abolish" meant war against the current government. Clearly the founding fathers gave us guns for more than just protection from fellow citizens.

Re:Shoot him. (1)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#29446015)

The Constitution does not give any right to break the system. That there may be an overarching philosophical right to do so if certain problems arise is a different claim. The Founders thought that there were circumstances where revolt was the only reasonable course of action. They didn't give a Constitutional protection to revolt for fairly obvious reasons.

Re:Shoot him. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445881)

P.S.

Yes I agree voting Oregon's General Attorney* is probably the best course to follow. The problem is that people so rarely get voted-out, its essentially a powerless threat. "Please drop this nonsense or we'll vote you out of office mister!" See? It just doesn't work. He won't get voted out and neither will most of the other bums. It's an ineffectual threat.

*
* I'm English, not French. The adjective goes in *front* of the noun, not behind it.

So let me get this right; (1, Insightful)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445235)

Instead of paying $25, which helps to recoup the costs of making a book that's almost exclusively used by law firms, or possibly directly challenging the validity of the copyright in court, he takes the passive-aggressive route and posts copyrighted material on the internet for free.

Whether he happens to be right or wrong, there's no way he's going to win.

Re:So let me get this right; (5, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445373)

passive-aggressive

Or you could call it civil disobedience. He is deliberately calling out the AG so he can hopefully win without the trouble, time, and expense of a court fight.

Re:So let me get this right; (1)

Psyborgue (699890) | more than 4 years ago | (#29446037)

passive-aggressive

Or you could call it civil disobedience. He is deliberately calling out the AG so he can hopefully win without the trouble, time, and expense of a court fight.

Yup. I think people should join in. 10 people doing it is a lot stronger than one. I've already mirrored a copy [michaelcra...tfolio.com]. If you have web space, why not join in.

Re:So let me get this right; (3, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445433)

Actually, yeah he stands a good chance of winning. The AG would have to be insane to put this in front of a judge, as he would likely be dismissed quickly.

Re:So let me get this right; (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445469)

First, we are talking about a book produced by the state to help lawyers understand the enigmatic laws of the state. That is sad enough. Now I don't like passive-aggressive actions, but the only other options are to pay for something that should be unnecessary and public domain, or to try to follow the laws and get it changed through direct challenge of these laws that are apparently so difficult to understand, therefore requiring you to purchase this book anyways.

Re:So let me get this right; (1)

worthawholebean (1204708) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445507)

He can't challenge the validity in court unless he is harmed by the law - he has to have standing to sue. If he gets sued now, he can bring up the issues.

Re:So let me get this right; (1)

ZOmegaZ (687142) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445551)

That all depends on his personal victory conditions. Maybe for him, "win" is "get this information to the public regardless of personal cost". If that's the case, he's already won.

Re:So let me get this right; (4, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445929)

Instead of paying $25, which helps to recoup the costs of making a book that's almost exclusively used by law firms, or possibly directly challenging the validity of the copyright in court, he takes the passive-aggressive route and posts copyrighted material on the internet for free.

Usually, you don't have standing to challenge a claim of copyright in court unless (these are illustrative rather than exhaustive):
(1) You are the actual creator of the work, and the claim of copyright is itself therefore an actionable violation of your rights, or
(2) The purported copyright holder is suing you for violating the copyright, and you are interposing the invalidity of the copyright as a reason you shouldn't be held liable.

"Someone else made a bogus claim of a legal right" is not, generally, itself a cause of action on which you can prevail in court. If it were, the courts would be even more clogged than they are now.

What you call the "passive-aggressive" route -- violating a right that someone claims they have and challenging them to enforce it -- is a common way of challenging a legal claim, since it puts the person making the claim in the position of publicly backing down or filing a suit in which you can challenge the validity of the claim.

Win on the law or win in the public arena? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29446019)

If this goes to federal court, the AG will win, but it will be a Pyrrhic victory.

By taking it to court, the AG will lose the battle for public opinion and possibly in Congress when Congress carves out an exception to prevent this kind of idiocy.

Personally, I think the AG should come out and say "of course I am claiming copyright on behalf of the people of Oregon, how else am I going to protect it from being mis-used? Oh, and by the way, I'm licensing it under [insert popular free license here]."

Of course... (3, Insightful)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445239)

..he doesn't want people to know how to use the laws. They wouldn't need to pay a lawyer if such information was made public, right?

To Clarify: (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445245)

They are not trying to "Hide" this information from people, they are trying to get them to pay for it. The third page lists that additional copies may be purchased from the Publishers.

That being said, still pretty bad in my books. I mean the cost should only offset the price of production, and letting it loose on the internet shouldn't cost them money.

This is obviously a profitable document.

What the Crap Oregon? (2, Funny)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445251)

First your state develops that absurd vehicle mileage tax system that was discussed yesterday and now your attorney general is trying to copyright a guide to your lawbooks? I thought we Californians were supposed to have the worst vehicle (overbearing emission standards) and copyright (Hollywood's home) laws on the books.

Stop making us look bad by making yourselves look worse. Give us back our position as Number 1 state in "Most Legislation Founded on Dumbfuckery!" Sheesh....

starved beast? (0, Offtopic)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445311)

The govt is acting like a starved beast when they resort to this sort of unofficial tax to get more money. I doubt the lawmakers ever had a debate over it. They may be happy to look the other way as long as it doesn't cause too much trouble. They're such cowards, always looking for ways to sneak in more revenue generation mechanisms and shift costs to make up for falling revenues from well known taxes, such as the gas tax which is NOT indexed to inflation and is regarded as suicidal to touch. Some leadership. It's why we have all these lousy toll road schemes.

Re:starved beast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29445843)

I have learned that Government(s), in this case meaning the people involved, are convinced it is their Business, their turf; a business to gain and wield power, and for money. People and their needs and wishes, are truly of secondary consideration. I think this is about someone getting uppity and invading on *their* profitable business of running government, not taxes.

Three aspects to copyright (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445327)

1. Claiming authorship. Not being done here.

2. Claiming sale rights. Again, no sales are being done.

3. Claiming Control rights. In order to enforce this, the controlling party must first specify that they do not want that information released to the public. This has NOT been done and the DA does not have the authority to do this. Only the party that has created them has the authority to do that. The legislative body is the only party that has legal right to object, and only as a whole. I.E. If the state assembly passes a law, then only the state assembly can object to someone printing that law. The DA can NOT steal control over those laws without express command by the state assembly.

Re:Three aspects to copyright (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445371)

Whoops, I misunderstood the article. Please ignore my stupidity. I did not realize that the state was claiming copyright.

The poster is a state employee? (3, Interesting)

syntap (242090) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445515)

I assume this professor is a state employee of Oregon as an employee of the University of Oregon... I wonder if he puts his job in danger by opposing his employer like that.

Don't get me wrong, I fully support what he is doing. My question is will the retaliation come in an unexpected direction, a firing based on behavior of a state employee or violation of oath to uphold state laws or something as opposed to any anticipated legal action over the posting itself?

Re:The poster is a state employee? (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445699)

You can't get fired from the state. At best you can get put into a job with no responsibilities. But you'd have to burn down the building before they'd even consider firing you.

Re:The poster is a state employee? (1)

soundguy (415780) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445941)

I assume this professor is a state employee of Oregon as an employee of the University of Oregon... I wonder if he puts his job in danger by opposing his employer like that.

Don't get me wrong, I fully support what he is doing. My question is will the retaliation come in an unexpected direction, a firing based on behavior of a state employee or violation of oath to uphold state laws or something as opposed to any anticipated legal action over the posting itself?

I wonder if his ass is powdered and diapered by federal whistle-blower laws? Might be a stretch.

Government copyright & license (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445687)

Government documents (from any government) may be copyrighted, but they must come with a standard license allowing it's citizens to use the documents however they want.

Didn't the Supreme Court already outlaw this? (1)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445723)

I thought the Supreme Court had ruled that laws could not be copyrighted? I realize that in some municipalities purchase law boilerplates and adopt them for general practices. There was a case in Texas that I recall
the Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal to copyright laws.

Re:Didn't the Supreme Court already outlaw this? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29445971)

I thought the Supreme Court had ruled that laws could not be copyrighted?

Maybe, but this isn't about a law being copyrighted, its about a book about the law (not the law itself) produced by an executive branch agency of a State being copyrighted.

tuBgirl (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29445767)

Is mired in an everything else NIIGER AASOCIATION

Title 17 Chap 1 Section 5 (1)

doas777 (1138627) | more than 4 years ago | (#29446027)

per http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html [copyright.gov]:
 105. Subject matter of copyright: United States Government works
Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.

that says it all. Govt work is free as in beer.

Ownership Chain (1)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 4 years ago | (#29446039)

Maybe it can be argued that the state of Oregon owns the copyright to the book, and the citizens of Oregon own Oregon, therefor the citizens of Oregon own the copyright to the book? That argument would be valid, but maybe not sound.
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