Photo of Andre Hanson (US)

In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court held in Georgia et al v. Public.Resource.Org., Inc. (No. 18-1150) (April 27, 2020) that the state of Georgia is not entitled to copyright protection for its official annotated code.

The Copyright Act grants expansive rights for “original works of authorship.” 17 U.S.C. § 102(a). Georgia claimed it was the “author” of the Georgia official annotated code (“OCGA”) and, as the author, enjoyed rights as the copyright owner of the entire work. As the copyright owner, Georgia sought to prevent Public.Resource.Org (“PRO”) from posting digital versions of the Georgia annotated code on various websites without charge and without Georgia’s consent.

Brand promotion may be seen as encompassing (at least) three distinct but overlapping modes:

(i)  Advertising for the moment—the message is meant to drive immediate sales;

(ii)  Advertising for post-sale burnishment—the message does more than sell products today, it builds