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Divided U.S. Supreme Court Rules That Annotated Codes Cannot Be Copyrighted

Posted May 5, 2020

On April 27, 2020, in Georgia v, Public.Resource.org Inc. , the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that Georgia’s official annotated code is not copyrightable. The George Code Revision Commission contracts with LexisNexis to compile the Georgia code and prepare annotations. In ruling against Georgia, the Court applied the government edicts doctrine, which holds that judicial writings and other official legal works published under government authority are not subjected to copyright. The dissent argued that annotations can be copyrighted in certain situations, although Congress can change the law to close that gap. See ABA Journal, SCOTUSblog, JDSupra.