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Update #4

Boxing Day in Mississippi!

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First, thanks so much to all of you have signed up as backers. There was a really nice article by Nancy Scola about the campaign and it's been great to see all the tweets of support from friends old and new. 

Public safety codes are one of example of EDICTS OF GOVERNMENT. These are the laws by which choose to govern ourselves as a people and the rule of law says we must all know what those rules are. Another example of EDICTS OF GOVERNMENT are state laws passed by legislatures. You'd think there would be no question those are not under copyright, but believe it or not 8 states in the U.S. still assert control over who will read their laws and what they may say about them.

In May of this year, we picked 5 states and purchased their Official State Code. We scanned them, and made them available on the Internet Archive and for bulk access on our site. We've been bickering with the governments of Idaho and Georgia, but one of the states we hadn't heard from was the great State of Mississippi. I had sent their Speaker of the House and Attorney General a copy of their scanned code on a George Washington Thumb Drive.

In May, we sent this Geo. Washington Thumb Drive to Mississippi
In May, we sent this Geo. Washington Thumb Drive to Mississippi

 Well, yesterday we received a Certified Letter from the Attorney General's Special Assistant Attorney General demanding that we remove these materials from the Internet and all other electronic or non-electronic media. There was no email address, so I proceeded to prepare a 67-page return reply with Exhibits A-L. I thought folks might be interested in the 7 steps of the production process.

Step 1. Cover sheets are prepared with the Statue of Liberty. A Trodart self-inking red rubber stamp is used to stamp "If a law isn't public, it isn't law" on the front.
Step 1. Cover sheets are prepared with the Statue of Liberty. A Trodart self-inking red rubber stamp is used to stamp "If a law isn't public, it isn't law" on the front.
Step 2. Exhibits A-L are also stamped with radical sayings such as "Fair Use," "Equal Protection," "Due Process," and "Rubber Stamp Included."
Step 2. Exhibits A-L are also stamped with radical sayings such as "Fair Use," "Equal Protection," "Due Process," and "Rubber Stamp Included."
Step 3: Holes are punched in the assembled stack. I use "Carl" brand professional hole punchers. Carl, A Symbol of Quality.®
Step 3: Holes are punched in the assembled stack. I use "Carl" brand professional hole punchers. Carl, A Symbol of Quality.®
Step 4. Chicago Screws are made of brass or other materials and are ideal for large documents. We maintain an inventory from 1/8" up to 1".
Step 4. Chicago Screws are made of brass or other materials and are ideal for large documents. We maintain an inventory from 1/8" up to 1".
Step 5. To accompany the bound formal reply, we also inclosed a Trodart Model 5208 professional grade self-inking rubber stamp with red ink and the saying "If a law isn't public, it isn't a law. Justice Stephen Breyer."
Step 5. To accompany the bound formal reply, we also inclosed a Trodart Model 5208 professional grade self-inking rubber stamp with red ink and the saying "If a law isn't public, it isn't a law. Justice Stephen Breyer."
Step 6. The reply and the rubber stamp are enclosed in a white box, and then red, blue, and white crinkle-pak is used to create an image of the Mississippi flag.
Step 6. The reply and the rubber stamp are enclosed in a white box, and then red, blue, and white crinkle-pak is used to create an image of the Mississippi flag.
Step 7. The box is sealed with American Flag packing tape and stickered with a facsimile of a major credit card and the saying "Need Access to Justice? Don't Leave Home Without It." The Great Seal of the Seal of Approval is used to authenticate the source
Step 7. The box is sealed with American Flag packing tape and stickered with a facsimile of a major credit card and the saying "Need Access to Justice? Don't Leave Home Without It." The Great Seal of the Seal of Approval is used to authenticate the source

You may read the full text of our reply to the Special Assistant Attorney General as a PDF file. You may wonder why all the hooptedoodle and fancy printing? We want to send a message that we're very serious about this and that posting the Mississippi Code was not a casual hack, but a deliberate and carefully considered decision to make the laws of the states available to citizens. I've been presenting these kinds of issues to governments for over 20 years, and I've learned that you have to show determination, and nothing shows determination like a professional-grade rubber stamp.

Our hope is very much that this turns out the way a similar dispute in Oregon did, when we posted the Oregon Revised Statutes a few years ago. They called a joint hearing of the House and Senate committee with purview of this matter, asked us and citizens of Oregon to testify, and then unanimously waived copyright because it was the right thing to do. The result in Oregon was a flowering of innovation as new sites popped up that gave people much better access to the laws. I'm hoping for the opportunity to go to Jackson, Mississippi and discuss the matter.

Code is law. Copy that code.

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