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Copyright in Primary Legal Materials in Common Law Jurisdiction

Australian Intellectual Property Journal, Forthcoming

26 Pages Posted: 7 May 2006 Last revised: 14 Oct 2008

Noel Cox


Date Written: September 1, 2008


This paper examines the underlying policy considerations regarding the ownership of copyright in statutes, regulations, and also law reports. It compares and contrasts the positions in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. It looks particularly at the implications of electronic publication, and the role of private publishers. In essence, it asks whether the strict legal principle, that the Crown (or in the American system, the State) owns the copyright in statutes and judicial decisions, is less important than the principle of encouraging public access to the law.

Keywords: copyright, statutes, regulations, judgements

Suggested Citation

Cox, Noel, Copyright in Primary Legal Materials in Common Law Jurisdiction (September 1, 2008). Australian Intellectual Property Journal, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

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