When you hear the word “terrorism,” you probably think of names like Osama bin Laden, Timothy McVeigh, or Hans Gruber. Well as far as the state of Georgia is concerned, it’s time to add another name to that list: Carl Malamud.
Malamud didn’t blow up any planes or take over the Nakatomi Plaza. And he doesn’t have any ties to ISIS or Spectre. So what did he do that caused the state of Georgia to call him a terrorist? According to the Los Angeles Times, he took publicly available government documents and posted them online.
For roughly two decades [Malamud has] been working to make public laws, codes and court documents, well, public. At almost every turn he’s been fought by government agencies that prefer to extract a fee from taxpayers for access, even though, as Malamud points out, the public pays for the work in the first place, via taxes.
Last week, the state of Georgia filed a federal lawsuit accusing Malamud of piracy for posting the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (a.k.a. The state’s Laws) on his site, Public.Resource.org. Although the state agrees that the laws themselves should be free to the public, it contends that annotations, case synopses, and opinion summaries are “original and creative work of authorship that is protected by copyrights owned by the state of Georgia.”
Within the lawsuit, the state refers to Malamud’s actions as an act of “terrorism.”
Defendant’s founder and president, Carl Malamud, has indicated that this type of strategy has been a successful form of “terrorism” that he has employed in the past to force government entities to publish documents on Malamud’s terms. See Exhibit 2.
Consistent with its strategy of terrorism, Defendant freely admits to the copying and distribution of massive numbers of Plaintiff’s Copyrighted Annotations on at least its https://yeswescan.org website. See Exhibit 3.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “Exhibit 2” is a joke from a book Malamud published 20 years ago “describing… his efforts to make international code standards public.”
“That was a quip,” he told the Times. “I’ve been a public servant for 30 years. I put the law online, and to make that into ‘terrorism’ is distasteful.”
Despite accusing Malamud of implementing a “strategy of terrorism,” all Georgia has managed to do is file a lawsuit. I would hope that if they truly believed he was a terrorist, they might at least bring him in for questioning.