Archive for gov’t doesn’t get it

Company getting in trouble for publishing Oregon laws on web?!

Posted in open government with tags , , , , on April 21, 2008 by Pete Forsyth

The Legislative Counsel (basically the legal arm of the Legislature) has sent “cease and desist” letters to a couple web sites that republish the Oregon Revised Statutes. (links to correspondence)

The text of Oregon’s laws, having been written by the people or their elected representatives, are in the public domain. I think this much is beyond dispute.

But the Oregon Revised Statutes, a written record of those laws, is apparently under copyright by the State of Oregon. What does that mean? The formatting, the headings, etc. are copyright, but the underlying text is not. Or at least, that’s the best I can discern.

It’s disturbing that our elected government should be expending resources defending its purported ownership over something we collectively produced. I’ve explored this concept a little more thoroughly over here, and several of us hope to get the Legislature to take some action next session.

It’s good to see that allies are emerging, and I hope to learn more about Justia and


Senator Wayne Morse, where are you?

Posted in politics with tags , , on April 12, 2008 by Pete Forsyth
  • …Under our constitution all the president is is the administrator of the people’s foreign policy…
  • …I’m pleading that the American people be given the facts about foreign policy…
  • …You’re a man of little faith in democracy…I have complete faith in the American people to follow the facts if you give them. And my charge against my government is we’re not giving the American people the facts.

Voices like that of Senator Morse are notably absent among our present national leadership. I hear some echoes from Senator Obama, and others on occasion. But these sentiments rarely come out of Washington these days. We would be fortunate to have some leaders willing to state this kind of message so strongly today.