Georgia Puts Its Own Laws Behind A Paywall, Supreme Court Says Shut Up

Georgia Puts Its Own Laws Behind A Paywall, Supreme Court Says Shut Up

Georgia is known for a good many things. They have peaches, charm, naked cowboy burglars. But, one thing you can add to the bad list is trying to put their state laws behind a paywall. Yes, Georgia claimed to own the copyright for the Official Code of Georgia Annotated and sued for publishing it online. It's the type of move that comes straight out of the Evil Villain Handbook, or at least we think it is, as Georgia is charging us $9.95 a month to read it. Fortunately for any citizens of Georgia that are looking to abide by laws, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision (surprisingly bipartisan as both Ginsberg and Thomas were among the dissenters) that no legal document could be held under copyright. As Chief Justice John Roberts puts it:

"Officials empowered to speak with the force of law cannot be the authors of-and therefore cannot copyright-the works they create in the course of their official duties."

Now, if you wanted to get pedantic about it, and why not, we've got all day here, you would point out that Georgia wasn't actually looking to copyright their laws, only the annotated version provided by LexisNexis, which the state pays them to produce. The problem is that the state doesn't publish any official version of the law other than the one provided by Lexus Nexus. It'd be like if Moses refused to show you the Ten Commandments unless you paid to hear the book of slam poetry he had attached.

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Flip to see my dope rhymes about tea kettles.

That said, you can't help but empathize with Georgia, who clearly just wanted to feel sexy by having their version of an OnlyFans account. Sure, it seems hypocritical to enforce laws that people don't even have access to, but then again, money! Ultimately, ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law, even if that law is attached to Georgia's Patreon. But, at the same time, if you're literally unable to see the rules and regulations within your state, then we can't help but forgive you for thinking it ok to burglarize a home while wearing nothing but a cowboy hat.

Top Image: Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

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