Terry Martin and I blogged a while back (here and here) about the great state of Oregon asserting copyright in its state statutes – or more correctly, in the editorial materials (annotations, indexing, and the like) added to the Oregon Revised Statutes by state staff.
The latest news: The Oregon Legislative Counsel Committee, a joint committee of the bicameral Oregon legislature, has decided to allow its statutes to be made available on the web without licensing. Public.Resource.org reports, complete with video, on the decision of the Committee to unanimously approve a motion to waive assertion of copyright on the Oregon Revised Statutes. Listening to the beginning of the hearing was interesting – not only in seeing a state’s legislature in action, but also factually: I learned that 26 states assert (but don’t necessarily enforce) some form of copyright in their statutes. I was pretty impressed with the legislators on the committee – especially considering that Oregon has a “citizens’ legislature,” meaning that most of the legislators have “day jobs.”
Bonus: If you just can’t get enough of copyright issues, over at LibraryLaw, Peter Hirtle has a fascinating post about the “Messy, Messy” copyright status of Edison’s wax cylinder recordings.