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717.1 Legal Publications

 

717.1 Legal Publications

 

A legal publication that analyzes, annotates, summarizes, or comments upon legislative enactments, judicial decisions, executive orders, administrative regulations, or other edicts of government may be registered as a nondramatic literary work, if the publication was “prepared by a private party, or a non-lawmaking official” “who lack[s] the authority to make or interpret the law,” and if it contains a sufficient amount of original authorship. Georgia, 140 S. Ct. at 1507, 1509, 1510. Examples of legal publications that may satisfy this requirement are listed below, but in no case does the registration cover any government edict that may be included in the work. See id. at 1504; see also Chapter 300, Section 313.6 (C) (2).

 

Examples:

 

• Annotated codes authored by a private entity not acting under the control of a legislative or judicial body that summarize or comment upon government edicts issued by a federal, state, local, or foreign government.

 

• A compilation authored by a private entity not acting under the control of a legislative or judicial body that contains legislative enactments, judicial decisions, or other government edicts, provided that the entity exercised a sufficient amount of creativity in selecting, coordinating, and/or arranging this material.

 

• Treatises that analyze or review legal subjects.

 

• Dictionaries, anthologies, and encyclopedias that define or describe legal subjects.

 

• Legal periodicals that cover specific areas of the law, such as law reviews, legal journals, legal newspapers, legal newsletters, and the like.

 

• Casebooks containing a selection of legislative enactments and judicial decisions that have been abridged and/or annotated with comments and questions for use in systematic instructional activities.

 

• Test materials that are used to determine eligibility for membership in a bar association or other professional organization, as well as study materials used to prepare for such tests.

 

The Office will consider an application to register a citator containing specialized indexes for tracing the prior and subsequent history of a judicial decision; for identifying decisions that have followed, explained, distinguished, criticized, or overruled a previous judicial decision; or for researching a specific area of the law. This type of work may be registered if it contains a sufficient amount of new text, such as an introduction or a brief summary of the issues discussed in each case. Likewise, a citator may be registered as a compilation, provided that the author exercised a sufficient amount of creativity in selecting, coordinating, and/or arranging the categories that appear within the work. However, the registration specialist may communicate with the applicant or may refuse registration if the claim appears to be based solely on the selection of judicial decisions, because citators typically list all of the subsequent decisions that cite the same case. The specialist also may communicate or refuse registration if the claim appears to be based solely on a system for conducting legal research or on any “idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery” that may be reflected or implemented in the work. 17 U.S.C. § 102 (B).