The state copyright conundrum: What’s your state government’s rule on copyright? | Courtney | College & Research Libraries News
peter.suber's bookmarks 2018-11-09
"U.S. copyright law has a unique place in the world regarding federal works and copyright. Federal copyright law states that “Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government.”1 This is a broad and clear statement that works of the federal government are in the public domain and are free for use by all.
The copyright status of works of the state governments, however, is often far more difficult to determine. While reasonable policy would contend that state government works should be available to the public at large, many states assert a copyright interest in their materials, and, most concerning, many more lack any clear legal guidance on the issue. States often produce a variety of copyrighted works. Figuring out whether these state materials are copyrighted is a tricky question, and one that many librarians and archivists face from time to time.
Several years ago, one such state copyright conundrum arrived at my doorstep at just the right time. The question furthered a concept I had been toying with for years. The library community could benefit from the creation of an overall resource outlining the patchwork of state copyright laws. This would also give librarians, archivists, lawyers, and the public the ability to use this resource as an effective tool for advocacy and greater understanding of state copyright. The result was the State Copyright Resource Center...."