Legal publisher Casemaker will not fight the lawsuit filed against it by Fastcase over copyright in Georgia law, its CEO David Harriman told me today. The company agrees that state law should not be subject to copyright and will not file an answer to Fastcase’s complaint, he said. That means that the court could enter a default judgment in Fastcase’s favor.
“I’m mystified by the whole thing,” Harriman said. “They filed for a declaratory judgment in Georgia, for a declaration that state law not copyrightable. We’re all in favor of that, of having state law declared not copyrightable.”
Casemaker has a contract with the state of Georgia to publish its administrative rules and regulations. Harriman said that Casemaker entered into this contract at no cost to Georgia. Instead, it expected to make money by selling the content to other publishers.
He characterized what they sell as not so much the content itself, but the service of regularly updating the content and providing it in a suitable format for publishing. He noted that Casemaker makes the regulations available to the public for free through a Georgia government website.
What Casemaker charges for, he said, is the service of pulling all the materials together and keeping them up to date. Within two days of a change in any regulation, Casemaker pushes that update through to the publishers who subscribe to its service. Those subscribers include Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis and Bloomberg Law, he said.
“Other publishers seemed to see the utility in that,” Harriman said.
Harriman said that Casemaker will not respond to the Fastcase lawsuit.
“We would support a ruling that the law can’t be copyrighted,” he said.