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InsiderOnline Blog: October 2008

The Opposite of Transparency

Did you know?

In California, government owns the laws and forces people to pay for a copy. Therefore, the more legislation and regulations the state creates, the more revenue it generates.

Sacramento collects nearly $1 million a year from these transactions, but how can anyone claim to own the law? Legislators and regulators assert the same copyright protections on their work as artists, musicians, and performers. Unlike creative endeavors, laws are rarely original, unique, or culturally valuable. As long as they are copyrighted, however, it is illegal to make or distribute copies without permission. Therefore, transferring California’s “latex foam rubber and filling regulations” to an iPod would trigger the same penalties as pirating a hit single or blockbuster movie.

Daniel Ballon of the Pacific Research Institute reports that a Web site called Public Resource.org is challenging the state’s monopoly. The site has made 33,000 pages of the California code available to the public for free. Good for them.

Posted on 10/10/08 11:59 AM by Alex Adrianson

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