If you try to publish an ABA ethics opinion on your blog without first seeking permission, you can apparently expect a copyright takedown notice. That’s what lawyer-blogger Ernie Svenson got (PDF) when he published ABA Formal Ethics Opinion 06-442. I had to link to it in Google’s cache because PDF for Lawyers apparently got the same notice and the ABA won’t give it to you unless you pay $20.

The ABA has every legal right to claim copyright on its ethics opinions and sell them. It is a private company, not a governmental entity. However, it also has the right to have those ethics opinions ignored by everyone because they aren’t freely available for review and comment. Open access to regulations is essential if you want anybody to follow them or take them seriously.

Read Ethics Alert: Be Careful About Posting ABA Formal Ethics Opinions On The Web on Ernie the Attorney.

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