Countersuit: Georgia can't copyright its laws


Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "As many of you may remember, the State of Georgia filed charges against Public Resource complete with a scurrilous and unfounded charge that we engaged in a "strategy of terrorism." I am pleased to announce that we are represented pro bono by Alston and Bird, one of the leading law firms in Georgia. Our legal team filed an answer to the Georgia complaint and we counter-sued, denying their over-the-top characterization as 'bizarre, defamatory and gratuitous allegations.'" Read the rest

Boston's WGBH initiates careless, groundless legal action against Fedflix project

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "I got mugged by a bunch of Boston hooligans. Readers of Boing Boing may be familiar with my FedFlix project which has resulted in 6,000 government videos getting posted to YouTube and the Internet Archive." Read the rest

Georgia sues Carl Malamud, calls publishing state laws "terrorism"

The State of Georgia claims that its statutes are a copyrighted work, and that rogue archivist Carl Malamud and committed an act of piracy by making the laws of Georgia free for all to see and copy. Read the rest

Nominate your Internet heroes for the 2015 EFF Pioneer Awards

Previous winners include Edward Snowden, Carl Malamud, Limor Fried, Laura Poitras, Hddy Lamarr, Aaron Swartz, Gigi Sohn, Bruce Schneier, Zoe Lofgren, Glenn Greenwald, Jon Postel and many others (I am immensely proud to have won one myself!). Read the rest

The next Librarian of Congress: a Librarian of Progress?

For the first time in 28 years, the Library of Congress is about to get a new Librarian, a person with enormous influence over the Internet and American life. Read the rest

IRS finally agrees to do something about its $1.5 trillion nonprofit database

Radical archivist Carl Malamud writes, "Since 2008, Public.Resource.Org has been trying to get the IRS to release the database of the annual reports of nonprofits in a better way. The nonprofit sector in the U.S. represents $1.5 trillion in economic activity and over 9% of jobs." Read the rest

San Franciscans: help free the records of the US court system

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez, "On May 1 (Friday) at the Internet Archive in San Francisco, I'm going to be running a 'PACER Polling Place' from 8am-5pm. I hope you'll stop by and give me a hand." Read the rest

EFF busts podcasting patent, invalidating key claims at Patent Office

A patent troll that claims that its failed 1990 cassettes-by-mail business is the same thing as podcasting got cut off at the knees today when the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) invalided its bogus claims. Over one thousand people (myself included) donated to the EFF's Save Podcasting campaign to defeat the troll.

The “podcasting patent” became big news in 2013, when a company called Personal Audio, LLC, began demanding licensing fees from podcasters including comedian Adam Carolla and three major television networks. Personal Audio doesn’t do podcasting itself, but instead used its patent to claim infringement and collect payouts from actual creators.

In petitions filed with Patent Office, EFF showed that Personal Audio did not invent anything new before it filed its patent application, and, in fact, other people were podcasting for years previously. Earlier examples of podcasting include Internet pioneer Carl Malamud's "Geek of the Week" online radio show and online broadcasts by CNN and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Personal Audio claimed to have invented podcasting, but the EFF convinced the USPTO that this was not the case:

In petitions filed with Patent Office, EFF showed that Personal Audio did not invent anything new before it filed its patent application, and, in fact, other people were podcasting for years previously. Earlier examples of podcasting include Internet pioneer Carl Malamud's "Geek of the Week" online radio show and online broadcasts by CNN and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

I hope the podcasters who were bilked by Personal Audio get their money back. Read the rest

Yo! Your Honor! A Response to the Chief Justice

PACER is America's all-but-inaccessible public database of court records. Carl Malamud explains the problem—and the solution: you.

Petition to Indian gov't for open publication of standards

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez, "Namaste! Public.Resource.Org respectfully submitted a Petition to the Honorable Ministry of the Government India charged with oversight over the Bureau of Indian Standards. In addition to hardcopy, we have placed the petition on our site and on the Internet Archive."

The purpose of the petition is to ask that all Indian Standards, government documents of great import and value, be freely made available so that the youth may be educated, the professions may be practiced, and the public safety protected. This is in reference to the almost 19,000 Indian Standards that Public Resource has posted on our site.

We are very pleased that the petition includes signed affidavits from many prominent figures, including Sushant Sinha (who developed as a gift to his country the beautiful Indian Kanoon legal search service), Swaraj Paul Barooah (who is an eminent legal expert and runs the Spicy IP blog). They are joined by eminent engineers, as well as Sri Sam Pitroda (former India Chief Technology Officer and Cabinet Minister) and Dr. Vinton G. Cerf (an Internet engineer).

Code Swaraj! We are hopeful the Hon'ble Ministry will consider our points.

Petition to the Honorable Ministry

(Thanks, Carl) Read the rest

As Office of US Courts withdraws records for five top benches, can we make them open?

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has announced that they are removing the archives for 5 important courts from their infamous PACER system. PACER is the ten-cent-per-page access to U.S. District and Appeals courts dockets and opinions." Read the rest

IRS won't fix database of nonprofits, so it goes dark

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "Due to inaction by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Congress, Public.Resource.Org has been forced to terminate access to 7,634,050 filings of nonprofit organizations. The problem is that we have been fixing the database, providing better access mechanisms and finding and redacting huge numbers of Social Security Numbers. Our peers such as GuideStar are also fixing their copies of the database." Read the rest

Morse code instructional film - made possible by Boing Boing readers!

Carl Malamud sez, "This 1966 military film on good style in sending Morse Code is a real hoot. 38k views on YouTube and another 3.6k on the Internet Archive. This video was made possible by a crowd-sourcing appeal on Boing Boing in 2009 (and in the case of this particular DVD, a donation by Mary Neff ... thanks Mary!)"


Harvard Bluebook: more threats to those who would cite the law

Carl Malamud writes, "On May 16, Boing Boing brought us the story of five years of intimidation on the Uniform System of Citaiton required in the United States, a system otherwise known as The Bluebook. Based on your story, a stern keep off the grass warning was dispatched from the ever-growing Bluebook Legal Task Force at the eminent white shoe firm of Ropes & Gray." Read the rest

Five years of being intimidated by the Harvard Bluebook's copyright policies

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez, "For five years, Professor Frank Bennett, a distinguished legal scholar at Nagoya University School of Law, has been trying to add Bluebook Support to Zotero, the open source citation tool used all over the world. Professor Bennett asked Harvard Law Review for permission. They said no. He asked again. They said no again. He secured Larry Lessig as his lawyer. They said no to Lessig. I pitched in and got a bunch of angry letters from the most expensive law firm in Boston. Even a flaming headline in Boing Boing wasn't enough to get the Harvard Law Review off their $2 million/year revenue stream to permit a little bit of innovation. Frank Bennett finally said the hell with it after asking nicely for 5 years, and has now released Read the rest

Donate to free the legal code of Georgia, Idaho and Mississippi!

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "Public.Resource.Org is pleased to announce the launch of the 2014 Official Summer of Code!

We've selected 3 states -- Georgia, Idaho, and Mississippi -- and are raising funds to have the Official Legal Codes sent down to the Internet Archive to be scanned and made available to all. Your tax-deductible contribution can help make the law available to the people! Find out more at: YesWeScan.Org/ Read the rest

This Day in Blogging History: DC's liberated municipal codes; Game-design lessons from Disneyland; Blogger-read audiobook of Lessig's FREE CULTURE

One year ago today Municipal codes of DC, free for all -- liberated without permission: I was lucky enough to get another one of rogue archivist Carl Malamud's boxes of awesome. It's a copy of the municipal codes of DC, which are laws that you're required to follow, but aren't allowed to see without paying.

Five years ago today Game-design lessons from Disneyland: An outstanding talk on the lessons for level design to be had in the design of Disneyland. It was presented by Scott Rogers, Creative Manager at THQ in Los Angeles, who taught himself level design for Pac Man World by thinking about the experiences he'd had on many visits to Disneyland.

Ten years ago today Producing a blogger-read audio of Lessig's book: Lessig's new book Free Culture is available online as a gratis, Creative-Commons-licensed file, under terms that allow for the creation of derivative works. AKMA has proposed a hell of a derivative work: he's inviting any blogger who cares to to read a chapter aloud, recording it and posting it, so that a distributed audiobook of the book will be produced. Read the rest

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