Government Documents: Their Copyright and Ownership



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Tech Law Review


Who possesses the legal rights—including possession, access, and copyright—in the vast reams of papers and documents produced by the United States Government? This question, the author notes, centers upon the concept of the “public domain” within the confines of copyright law, which is so vast that this article is limited to works, prepared by Government employees and officials in which an individual or organization later seek protection under the Copyright Act. Following review of relevant case law, statutes, regulation, and policy the author proposes two major changes to alleviate confusion and protect property rights: (1) The government should publish no work which private firms are willing to publish without copyright or (2) any work to which the Copyright Office grants a copyright should be forbidden to be printed by the United States Government.



Publications, Copyright, Documents, Government documents, Government publications, Public domain


5 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 71