Copyright question...

  • Axe
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I don't see a "legal" forum (not suggesting we should have one either, heh), so I figured I'd post this one in here...

Does anybody know if Laws & Acts are copyrighted documents?

I know fair use would allow us to quote relevant parts in a document or article, but would reproducing the contents of an Act on my own website? Would those Acts be Copyright to the US Gov? Or are they public domain?

Now, I've been looking at Acts both in the US and in the UK, and I don't see any actual copyright notice in the DMCA for the document itself, but bringing up, for example, the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1991, in the UK, it says right there at the top of the document "© Crown Copyright 1991", although, it also says that permission is granted to reproduce in part or whole as long as it's accurate (ie, not modified), and that the Crown's copyright notice stays intact.

http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1991/Uk ... 9_en_1.htm

Quote:
© Crown Copyright 1991

Acts of Parliament printed from this website are printed under the superintendence and authority of the Controller of HMSO being the Queen's Printer of Acts of Parliament.

The legislation contained on this web site is subject to Crown Copyright protection. It may be reproduced free of charge provided that it is reproduced accurately and that the source and copyright status of the material is made evident to users.

So, does anybody know the status of Acts in the US? Are they public domain? Is it a similar deal to the UK where they can be reproduced as long as they are accurate, and a specific copyright notice & original source is published?
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • RichB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I don't believe that any US Government works are covered by copyright, although things like images that appear on government websites and are produced by third parties may be copyrighted.

I'm basing my opinion on Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105.

That refers to the federal government, but I don't know about individual states.
  • RichB
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Post 3+ Months Ago

A more detailed analysis of that section can be found in a House report reproduced here.

Note the line:

The effect of section 105 is intended to place all works of the United States Government, published or unpublished, in the public domain

There are some limited exceptions noted on that page too for things like stamps and works of the US Postal Office.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

interesting twist there...*rubs chin in ponder*

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