American Bar Association votes to DRM the law, put it behind a EULA

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Good luck. Truly, I wish these people the best, because the alternative is…awful.


It would be cool to get busted for the illegal distribution of legal materials.

It would be even cooler if you couldn’t, though.


Wow, what a surprise. The lawyers want to make it harder to find out what laws we have to protect ourselves.

I think Shakespeare said it best

‘‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,’’


Actually this is surprising, imho. Accessible laws and regulations are a condicio sine qua non for lawyers. And while they are as likeble as sharks they* always defended open laws - secret laws are bad news for lawyers and general public access does not devaluate the legal market**.

* in my case mostly the German organisations representing lawyers, but I thought this is part of the global professional ethics
** reading the laws does not really help laypersons, sooner or later a lawyer is necessary


If you can afford it. I had some issues with child support and went to a lawyer. They said they could help if I came up with $700. If I had that money, I wouldn’t have the issues with child support! I would file bankruptcy, but lawyers cost too much to do that. Let’s not even talk about corporate lawyers, who know the ones who use the law to allow their company to get away with anything.


It’s not all that cool.


These are the hard truths that no-one seems to be talking about. I’ve had so damn many people say to me “just get a lawyer”, as if they work for free.


I understand they have a business, but when you charge me $35 just for saying “Hi” when I walk in the door, I really don’t want to do business with you.

edit: added a word


To be fair he did say “busted,” rather than whatever the fuck it is that American cops are doing to people these days.


Again, repeating myself from other posts: if the law is not open and transparent on every level from conception to implementation to enforcement, it can hardly be styled as legitimate rule of law. It’s troubling enough as is, most bodies of statute should be refactored/regularized into something everyone can read and internalize. If we have a drivers’ handbook for operating a motor vehicle in public, then there should be a citizens’ handbook for remaining in compliance with any law that might be held against you.


If you advocate making the law anything other than public, you should have to rent a copy of Kafka’s The Trial from iTunes and read it on your iPhone, and you can’t use the large-screen versions or cheat by reading it on an iPad.


The mission statement of the American Bar Association: (emphasis added)

To serve equally our members, our profession and the public by defending liberty and delivering justice as the national representative of the legal profession.

For the ABA to actively encourage this opacifying of the law is unconscionable. If the American Medical Association made an analogous proposal, they’d be promoting malpractice.


Was impressed ABA posted video of the floor debate yesterday, right after the meeting. Here it is if you want to see what actually transpired.

We ran for 51:54, far longer than any other topic. Scott Partridge, who closed the meeting was particularly impressive, I thought Ellen Flannery did a really nice job arguing for public access. I hope everybody notices I was joined by the SDOs in beating the shit out of DRM. Worth it for nothing else but that, and I think we actually moved the ball a bit forward.


Hi Carl. I just got to your part (about 32 minutes in) and your section is awesome. Thank you specifically for mentioning the issues the DRM would cause for people with visual impairments.


OK, I am probably just completely ignorant here but what the hell does the ABA have to do with the question of access to the law? How are they in any way the body that decides whether or not and how our laws can be made accessible? Did we elect them, appoint them, or grant them authority over the people?
In other words, where the hell do they get off?

EDIT because I’m not done ranting. This really gets to me for some reason. Anyway, unless I’ve been misinformed, anything made by the government is by definition property of the people. Since our laws are created by the government and since case law is created by the courts which is part of our government, it should follow that all laws, case law, precedent, etc etc is a product of the government and belongs to the people of which this government is formed. That the ABA has a tiny part in the function of the courts does not, in my view, give them any special privileges or access to the law not afforded to every other citizen.


“Free law is like free beer!”

Are they seriously appropriating Richard Stallman rhetoric to push for DRM on paywalled US laws? They’re either ignorant, malicious, or both.

Just another reason to hate lawyers. You could call it a reactionary return to an age when only the clergy knew how to read - laws, holy books, and all. Kafka rolls in his grave.

I am the one appropriating Richard Stallman rhetoric my friend, and I feel I’ve known him long enough I’m allowed to do that. :slight_smile: They actually said free law is like free sex, but Boing Boing is a family publication, so I paraphrased the man. (He actually said free beer, but has no idea what that means to you and me.)


Terribly sorry, I misread! I was under the impression the “free beer” quip was coming from the ABA. Just fucking wow Dan Bart, “free laws are like free sex”? That’s even more stupid and heinous, and possibly an embarassing Freudian Slip on his part. I’m cringing from the sheer density of stupid he managed to cram into one sentence. It’s crossed the event horizon to become a black hole of idiocy lowering my IQ ten points for every second I think about it. Keep on fighting the good fight!

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