Bloggers! Help Defend The Public Domain – Prepare To Host/Repost “Baby Blue”

Harvard Law Review Freaks Out, Sends Christmas Eve Threat Over Public Domain Citation Guide by Mike Masnick.

From the post:

In the fall of 2014, we wrote about a plan by public documents guru Carl Malamud and law professor Chris Sprigman, to create a public domain book for legal citations (stay with me, this isn’t as boring as it sounds!). For decades, the “standard” for legal citations has been “the Bluebook” put out by Harvard Law Review, and technically owned by four top law schools. Harvard Law Review insists that this standard of how people can cite stuff in legal documents is covered by copyright. This seems nuts for a variety of reasons. A citation standard is just an method for how to cite stuff. That shouldn’t be copyrightable. But the issue has created ridiculous flare-ups over the years, with the fight between the Bluebook and the open source citation tool Zotero representing just one ridiculous example.

In looking over all of this, Sprigman and Malamud realized that the folks behind the Bluebook had failed to renew the copyright properly on the 10th edition of the book, which was published in 1958, meaning that that version of the book was in the public domain. The current version is the 19th edition, but there is plenty of overlap from that earlier version. Given that, Malamud and Sprigman announced plans to make an alternative to the Bluebook called Baby Blue, which would make use of the public domain material from 1958 (and, I’d assume, some of their own updates — including, perhaps, citations that it appears the Bluebook copied from others).

As soon as “Baby Blue” drops, one expects the Harvard Law Review with its hired thugs Ropes & Gray to swing into action against Carl Malamud and Jon Sprigman.

What if the world of bloggers even those odds just a bit?

What if as soon as Baby Blue hits the streets, law bloggers, law librarian bloggers, free speech bloggers, open access bloggers, and any other bloggers all post Baby Blue to their sites and post it to file repositories?

I’m game.

Are you?

PS: If you think this sounds risky, ask yourself how much racial change would have happened in the South in the 1960’s if Martin Luther King had marched alone?

Comments are closed.