I.      Official Annotations Have Long Been Edicts of Government and Integral Parts of the Law

In the arc of history, Georgia’s annotated code is not unusual. History is replete with sovereigns propound- ing annotated codes, official commentaries, and other non- binding pronouncements, consideration of which is in- structive not just on the disposition of this case, but also on basic theories of liberty and government.

A.      Rome: Official Commentaries Were Jus Scripta from the Republic Through Justinian

The Roman Republic and Empire repeatedly treated official though nonbinding commentaries as a component of the law, and valued promulgation of both. As early as 450 b.c., the Roman Republic publicized the famed Law of the Twelve Tables, inscribed in bronze and posted in the public square, thereby quelling a threatened class war arising from “the complaint on the part of the plebs, that the law was an affair of mystery.”2 In 304 b.c., a court clerk named Gnaeus Flavius became a local hero by leaking the Roman pontiffs’ secret interpretations of the Twelve Tables, winning him high political offices.3



Emphasis on publicizing law developed into the Ro- man concept of jus scripta, written law that held a place higher than unwritten, customary law, jus non scripta.4 Jus scripta was not just statutes, though.5 Among other things, it encompassed the Senate’s opinions, senatuscon- sulta, which at least during the Republic were treated as nonbinding commentary on statutes: “It could not an- nul a lex . . . . It could, however, interpret enactments of the popular assembly.”6 Nevertheless, senatusconsulta weighed heavily on judges, and magistrates ignored them at their peril.7

Roman written law also incorporated private legal scholars’ opinions, in the form of responses to questions of law called responsa prudentium.8 Even here the im- perial imprimatur was important. Roman scholars were free to opine on cases in letters to judges,  but start-   ing with Augustus the emperors conferred jus respon- dendi upon select scholars, such that their answers were “in pursuance of an authorization” and thus effectively binding precedent.9 Multiplication of unofficial commen- taries prompted Valentinian III in a.d. 426 to issue the Law of Citations, designating several prominent jurists as official—but not binding, for when the jurists “were all ranged on one side and an imperial rescript was on the other, the latter would prevail.”10

The apex of symbiosis between private commentary and imperial power was Justinian I’s law of a.d. 529– 534, modernly called the Corpus Juris Civilis.11 Though often called a “code,” the Corpus was more than just the Codex. Concerned as Valentinian was with the pro- liferation of private commentaries, Justinian formed a Law Commission—not unlike Georgia’s Code Revision Commission—to abridge the commentaries.12 The result- ing Digest was, in effect, an official annotation to the Codex, and yet the Digest received no lesser treatment as a component of Justinian’s law.13

The senatusconsulta, jus respondendi, and Digest re- flect a consistent inclusion of nonbinding annotations and commentaries as a critical part of the complete body of law in Rome. Petitioners’ distinction between statutes and annotations is difficult to reconcile with this impor- tant precedent to American government.

B.      Dynastic China: Official Annotations Literally Intertwined with Statutory Law

Like Rome, historical China treated official annota- tions as integral components of the law, meriting promul- gation to the same extent as statutes.

China has favored promulgation of law since at least the Legalist–Confucian debate spanning the late Spring and Autumn Period, 591–453 b.c. The Legalist (fajia) school preferred efficient, predictable government under published laws.14 By contrast, the Confucians eschewed written law in favor of li, or virtue, theorizing that writ- ten laws would encourage mere compliance rather than moral perfection, and preferring the discretion over pun- ishment that li offered rulers.15

The Legalists prevailed as early as 536 b.c., when the kingdom of Zheng publicly displayed its penal text (xing shu), cast onto three-legged vessels.16 A neighboring leader criticized this publication, saying, “When the people know what the exact laws are, they do not stand in awe of their superiors.”17 Indeed, Confucius himself is apocryphally said to have lamented, “People will study the tripods, and not care to know their men of rank.”18

Nevertheless, the Chinese would publish legal codes for millennia, complete with official but nonbinding com- mentary. The Han dynasty code of about 200 b.c. sup- posedly included decisions from prior dynasties (ko) and “comparisons” (bi) to be used as precedent; these had less binding power than the statutes but nevertheless were included in the code.19 The Tang code of a.d. 653 also in- cluded extensive commentaries; indeed its original title was “The Code and the Subcommentary.”20 It is “prob- able that the commentary was an integral part” of the code, omission of which “would have deprived the unsus- pecting reader of a great deal of necessary information, as well as of explanations without which the meaning and intent of the articles [i.e., statutes] could not properly be understood.”21

Nonbinding annotations to the law were especially prominent in the Ming dynasty code of 1585, which would evolve into the Qing dynasty code of 1740.22 In addition to the statutes (), the codes contained “sub-statutes” (li), descriptions of precedents often arising out of impe- rial edicts explaining .23 The sub-statutes were widely recognized not to be statutes, but nevertheless carried such interpretive force that they might effectively nullify the original intent of the statute.24 The Qing code also in- cluded commentaries, some official and some private; the official commentaries were considered so integral to the statutes that they were often written in small print liter- ally in between the lines of the statutory text.25

Three millennia of Chinese history reveal a com- mitment to government promulgation of the law, both statutes and official annotations. The Han through Qing codes thus reveal the close tie between official annota- tions and law.

C.      England, 1485–1490: Nonbinding “En- glished” Law Secures the Crown’s Authority

Throughout the history of England, official but non- binding pronouncements have been a critical component of the law, even from the first days of printed matter.

At the  onset  of  printing  in  the  late  15th  century,  the official language of English law was not English. Statutes were titled in Latin and officially written in so- called “law French,” as exemplified by William de Mach- linia’s 1484 printing of Richard III’s statutes.26 When Henry VII took the throne in 1485, Parliament also pro- duced statutes, again officially in law French.27 Yet when around 1490 the Crown commissioned William Caxton to print the statutes, Caxton did so in English.28

No doubt the lawyers of the time would have under- stood Caxton’s translations, although emanations of the king, as not law. The prevailing view was that law could be “express[ed] more aptly in French than in English” ow- ing to the many technical terms of law French.29 An En- glish translation would have been considered not merely unofficial but indeed ambiguous.

Yet England made and promulgated these nonbinding explanations of the law because doing so served impor- tant purposes. By informing the public on the law, the Crown hoped to instill virtue in its subjects—and, self- ishly, to propagandize its own majesty and justness.30 That required the law to be not just public, but under- standable to the English subject. Not long after Caxton’s publication, lawyer and printer John Rastell would deem and Society in History 69, 71–73 (Kenneth E. Carpenter ed., 1983).

Henry VII “worthy to be called the second Solomon” by virtue of having the statutes “written in the vulgar En- glish tongue and to be published, declared, and imprinted so that then universally the people of the realm might soon have the knowledge of the said statutes.”31

Perhaps the Georgia code is not so arcane as law French, but the terseness of statutes can make them opaque absent interpretive aids. Both modern official an- notations and 15th-century “Englishing” of statutes offer a window into the legislator’s reasoning. Neither can be disregarded as part of the law.

D.      England, 1520–1640: Promulgated Explanations of Law Counteract Absolutist Monarchy

The printing press sparked a debate over the propri- ety of printing the law, a debate that reveals grave risks in restricting access to official but nonbinding edicts of government.32

The “publicists” supported printing the law of Eng- land, particularly in English, to improve social morals.33 Lawyer–printer John Rastell, in praising the English translation of Henry VII’s statutes (and in printing his own translation of older statutes into that “vulgar tongue”), explained in 1519 that “knowledge of the said statutes” would allow people “better to live in tranquility and peace.”34 Politician-turned-poet Lord Brooke, after alluding to Gnaeus Flavius,35 wrote:

Again, laws order’d must be, and set down So clearly as each man may understand, Wherein for him, and wherein for the crown, Their rigor or equality doth stand   36

Opponents of the publicists were primarily lawyers who stood to lose their monopoly over knowledge of the law.37 The arguments of these “anti-publicists” illumi- nate why access to the law ought to encompass official annotations.

The anti-publicists generally did not oppose publish- ing binding law, protesting instead publication of the reasoning behind the law.38  It is “assuredly no matter   of necessity to publish the reasons of the judgment of the law, or apices [fine points] or fictiones juris to the multitude,” wrote one lawyer.39 Like the Confucians, the anti-publicists feared that “the unlearned by bare reading” of the law without the training of the Inns of Court “might suck out errors” and thus “endamage them- selves.”40 Worse yet, miscreants could use knowledge of law as “shifts to cloak their wickedness, rather than to gain understanding.”41 More selfishly, the anti-publicists feared that publicizing the law would deny the bar the ability to characterize and evolve the law through in- guild decisions and manuscript-exchange norms that con- trolled the development of precedents.42

But the most important—and insidious—objection to law printing was one “married uneasily” to a larger de- bate over absolutist monarchy.43 Presaging Georgia’s treatment of its official code as the state’s intellectual property, many anti-publicists supposed that because the Crown was the sole fount of power, the law was its “prop- erty”; as such there was no more need for the monarch to explain a law than for a parent to explain punishing a child.44

Few would accept absolutism today; the contrary view that law binds the sovereign is foundational to American government. And insofar as absolutism is re- jected, one ought also to reject the anti-publicists’—and Georgia’s—corollary view that sovereign explanations of the law do not implicate access concerns.

E.       England, 1640–1642: Printing of Par- liamentary Debates Plants Seeds of Democracy

Publishing English parliamentary debates in the mid- 1600s demonstrates how access to nonbinding but official materials, in this case legislative history, fosters popular sovereignty and public representation.

Parliament, even today, nominally holds the power to render its debates secret and to punish those who pub- lish its proceedings.45 The parliamentary privilege of “freedom of speech” provides that “debates or proceed- ings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or ques- tioned in any court or place out of Parliament.”46 The Houses of Parliament interpreted this liberty to entail a copyright-like power to prohibit anyone—even their own members—from publishing debates.47

Certainly, privilege was enforceable only by contempt, as the common law courts refused to apply and indeed disparaged the secrecy privilege.48 But contempt punishments could be severe.49 In 1581, the House of Commons charged its member Arthur Hall with “publishing the con- ferences of this House abroad in print,” and sentenced him with expulsion, a fine of 500 marks (about $130,000 today), and six months’ imprisonment in the Tower.50

Nevertheless, a healthy industry of printing parlia- mentary debates began during the Long Parliament of 1640.51 Disregard of the privilege was flagrant: Members not only published their speeches but occasionally reg- istered them with the Company of Stationers.52 Apart from sanctions against Sir Edward Dering for publish- ing not just speeches but also private conversations of Parliament, parliamentary privilege was essentially un- enforced during this period.53It was a good thing, too, that printing of debates flour- ished through the Long Parliament, because promulga- tion of those debates arguably catalyzed modern partic- ipatory democracy. Prior to 1640, the average English subject petitioned Parliament not for public policy change but with private grievances.54 But with the publication of parliamentary debates, an informed public could un- derstand and thus engage in the political process: “Po- litical discourse in printed texts encouraged readers to interpret conflict between king and Parliament, and sub- sequently among parliamentary factions, as an ongoing debate.”55 In particular, printed political debates allowed for a new form of petitioning Parliament, in which propo- nents of change could stir up support by presenting and critiquing the speeches of members.56

Printing parliamentary debates thus gave rise to “public opinion” as a political force. Public opinion, in turn, gave way to notions of popular sovereignty, includ- ing Locke’s “law of opinion” and Madison’s sentiment “all governments rest on opinion.”57 Publication of nonbind- ing, official pronouncements of the legislature thus engen- dered the most fundamental principle of American gov- ernment.

F.   Great Britain and New York, 1762–1796: Suppression of Debate Printing Sparks Demand for Freedom of Speech

Debate printing in the next century had starker im- pact on America: It instigated freedom of the press.

When English newspapers began printing parliamen- tary debates in the mid-1700s, the House of Commons re- markably did exercise its privilege.58 In January 1762, Commons imprisoned the printer of the London Chroni- cle for printing a speech of the Speaker, deterring further printing of debates for several years.59

The 1768 Middlesex election affair reinvigorated de- bate reporting, and Parliament again tried to block it.60 In what came to be called the Printers’ Case of 1771, the House of Commons, led by its member Colonel George Oslow, summoned eight newspaper printers for contempt of privilege by printing debates.61 Most confessed and made contrition on their knees, but John Miller, publisher of the London Evening Post, refused to appear.62 Com- mons sent for Miller’s arrest but was thwarted by Brass Crosby, Lord Mayor of London, who asserted sole juris- diction for arrests in his city.63 In an infamous move that triggered days of protests, the House of Commons, frus- trated with Crosby for protecting Miller, threw the Lord Mayor into the Tower instead.64

It is easy to imagine how parliamentary censorship in 1771 might have influenced Revolution-era Ameri- can  thinking  on  liberty and speech. There  is considerable evidence that it did. The Virginia Gazette pre- dicted that “the present dispute about the liberty of the press will, in all probability, give a mortal wound to ar- bitrary power”;65  a week later it ran an open letter of the pseudonymous English polemicist Junius, excoriating Parliament’s actions.66 Benjamin Franklin knew of the incident,67 as did Samuel Adams, who called the affair “a stretch of arbitrary power.”68 Americans celebrated John Wilkes, the London alderman who helped orches- trate the showdown between Parliament and the print- ers,69 for championing freedom of the press.70

Americans continued to find parliamentary privi- lege antithetical to their principles.71 One member of Congress declared that congressional debates were “of- fered to the public view, and held up to the inspection of the world.”72 And when in 1796, the New York Assembly jailed newspaper writer William Keteltas for “a breach of the privileges” by reporting a debate, among his sup- porters was “Camillus Junius,” a pseudonym that surely recalls the 1771 English episode.73

There is little daylight between parliamentary priv- ilege and copyright when it comes to a legislature sup- pressing publication of nonbinding yet official pronounce- ments. In both cases the state levies powerful, even criminal74 remedies against its citizens for publicizing in- formation crucial for public dialogue. History has de- nounced state-asserted privilege as contrary to freedoms of speech and press; state-asserted copyright ought to fare no better.

G.   Virginia, 1846–1887: The Commonwealth Annotates Official Codes Despite Flagrant Copying

Although the states of America have been making le- gal codes since before they were states,75 interest in codi- fication accelerated in the mid-1800s, a result of successes of the Napoleonic Code Civil and lobbying by Jeremy Bentham.76 Some of the resulting codes were annotated, such as Alabama’s 1852 code, for which the General As- sembly directed “a suitable person to make head notes to the titles, chapters, and articles.”77 Virginia was one of the first to enact a civil code during this period,78 and its experience particularly reflects both recognition of the public value of official annotations and a lack of concern for copyright exclusivity in them.

In 1846, the General Assembly of Virginia appointed a commission “to revise and digest the civil code of this commonwealth,” and in so doing to include “such notes and explanations as they shall deem essential to a clear understanding of the same.”79 The revisors, John M. Pat- ton and Conway Robinson, produced five reports over the next few years in response.80

The revisors’ reports are notable because they con- tain not just a code of law but also extensive annotations summarizing and analyzing case law. To head off criti- cisms that their revisions would undermine existing case law, Patton and Robinson presented their proposed code “accompanied by notes referring to decisions, and giving such explanations as we deemed essential to a clear un- derstanding of our views.”81 In the section on amend- ing pleadings at trial, for example, the report contains able online; Ala. Code 797 (John J. Ormond et al. eds., 1852), avail- able online (noting appointment of Henry C. Semple to this position).  Virginia already had a long tradition of compilations and revisions of its laws. See generally Frederick W. Dingledy, From Stele to Silicon: Publication of Statutes, Public Access to the Law, and the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act, 111 L. Libr. J. 165, ¶¶ 47–59, at 183–88 (2019).

an extensive annotation laying out the cases and conclud- ing that the judicial decisions “go to show the propriety of that statute; we approve the mode in which, under it, justice was administered.”82 The revisors’ reports are thus much like Georgia’s annotated code, containing both statutes that were ultimately enacted into law and non- binding explanatory annotations.83

Nevertheless, the revisors’ annotations were openly copied. In 1856, attorney James M. Matthews published his Digest of the Laws of Virginia, which not only copied the text of the statutes but also explicitly reproduced “the very valuable notes of the Revisors of the Code, con- tained in their Reports to the Legislature.”84 Among other things, the digest reproduces wholesale the anno- tation on pleading amendments.85

In its amicus brief in this case, Virginia contends (at

2) that without copyright protection, it might “cease pro- duction of an official annotated code.” Yet the common- wealth’s actions belie its claim. No copyright suit against Matthews or his publisher appears to exist, despite the legislature’s knowledge of its copyright registration and of the value of its work.86 Indeed, the secretary of the commonwealth, Colonel George W. Munford, appeared to approve of Matthews’s digest in the preface to Virginia’s 1860 code.87

To be sure, the lack of litigation may reflect the more limited nature of copyright law at the time,88 but the important point is that the copyright incentive was un- necessary. Even without it, Virginia continued unde- terred to publish not only official codes but also annota- tions. The act authorizing publication of the 1860 code directed the secretary to include “such notes in  each case of repeal, alteration, or amendment.”89 Munford did so extensively, providing both well-researched cita- tions to case law and analysis of legislative history, for example opining on the supersessional effect of Virginia’s 1847 telegraph statutes.90 Virginia’s 1887 code also con- tained notes and references to cases, for example on pro- tecting householders from certain debt collections.91 In their preface to the 1887 code, the revisors note it was “much desired” to have fuller references within the code; tellingly, the obstacle to their doing so was not a lack of copyright or compensation, but excess page length.92

That Virginia produced annotated official codes for decades despite knowing its annotations were being copied shows that copyright was not a necessary incen- tive for state production of annotated codes.  The revisors and preparers of those annotations would no doubt agree. In the prefaces to the 1849, 1860, and 1887 Vir- ginia codes, they all acknowledge “a deep sense of [the] importance” of the legislature’s charge not merely to com- pile the laws but to provide a “clear understanding of the same.”93 They understood that the task of the state ex- plaining the law devolves not from private pecuniary in- terests but from basic duties of a sovereign to its citizens.

II.      History Counsels a Conservative Approach to State Assertion of Copyright in Legal Materials

History carries multiple insights relevant to disposi- tion of the question presented, namely whether copyright law allows a government to muzzle access to official state- authored materials such as annotations to a legal code. Four such conclusions are discussed below.

A.      Edicts of Government, and Law Gener- ally, Are Not Limited to Acts of Binding Legal Force

First, the law consists not merely of sovereign acts carrying binding force. Pronouncements of government instead fall on a spectrum of binding power. Georgia’s repeated insistence (e.g., at 3) that edicts of government for this case are limited to those that “establish any en- forceable rights or obligations,” then, is inconsistent with millennia of history.

From the beginning, nonbinding commentaries and annotations have carried legal weight. The Romans re- spected the nonbinding advice of the Senate and gave special weight to commentators having the imprimatur of jus respondendi.94 The Qing dynasty code visually dis- tinguished official and private commentaries, literally in- terweaving the former with the  statutory  text.95 And the 16th-century anti-publicists who acquiesced in print- ing statutes but feared giving the uneducated masses the “apices or fictiones juris”—points and fictions of legal rea- soning that explained the rules—illustrate the potency of those nonbinding sources of law.96

The consistent blurring of what constitutes the law is

unsurprising, because the purpose of promulgated law is broader than merely putting citizens on notice of punish- able acts. As the Chinese legalists97 and English publi- cists98 understood, law promotes civic virtue and informs people of the will of the sovereign. Promulgated law en- ables citizens, apprised of the sovereign’s reasoning, to participate in government and to sway that reasoning based on public opinion, as Parliament learned from pub- lishing its debates.99 Promulgated law checks arbitrary government power, much to the chagrin of the Confu-cians100 and Colonel Oslow.101 And promulgated law sets a historical marker of a society’s culture, without which a study such as the present brief could not exist.

Nonbinding but official pronouncements of govern- ment serve these purposes equally, if not a fortiori. It was announcement of English law not in its binding law- French form but in the unofficial vulgar tongue that en- hanced the Crown’s reputation and advised the people on how to live in “tranquility and peace.”102 It was the print- ing of parliamentary debates that spurred public partici- pation in the legislative process.103

In particular, nonbinding pronouncements uniquely serve one essential function of law: statutory interpreta- tion and construction. Both China and Rome recognized that the statutes alone could not clearly expound the law, so their official commentaries contained “a great deal of necessary information” for understanding statutes.104 And official explanations of law are, in Justice Scalia’s words, “ordinarily the most persuasive” extrinsic infor- mation for judicial construction, a theory put into practice by the Georgia courts that have repeatedly relied on the state’s official annotations.105

That the full body of law encompasses both binding and nonbinding texts counsels against discarding any of them from rights of public access as Georgia would have this Court do. History and contemporary practices show that a nonbinding official pronouncement can play an im- portant role in delineating the rights of citizens, making it no less a part of “the law,” and no less an edict of gov- ernment, than a statute.

B.      Control over the Reasons and Explana- tions of Law Confers Undue Power on Government and the Legal Profession

History also reveals the danger of allowing states such as Georgia the power to restrain access to nonbind- ing legal pronouncements, whether under copyright law or otherwise. That power can exacerbate both govern- ment centralization and undue influence of the bar.

Georgia’s arguments find uneasy company with the ancient Confucians106 and the English anti-publicists,107 who preferred the absolutist sovereign meting out law and punishment while leaving those without means blind to the reasons. No doubt this regime promotes obedience, but to contemporary ears it smacks of autocracy. Simi- larly, should Georgia exercise its copyright privilege to deny access to reasoning contained in official annotations, the state would potentially wield undue power. It could, for example, selectively conceal its views on whether a statute should be construed narrowly or broadly, perhaps leading risk-averse citizens to forgo rights or liberties they otherwise would enjoy.108

Control over official annotations to law also hands im- provident power to the bar. The anti-publicist English lawyers knew that legal printing stood to cost them their monopoly over the written reasoning of the law and thus their political power to shape its direction.109 New York lawyer James Coolidge Carter similarly led opposition to state codification efforts in the 1850s, again to maintain the bar’s control over evolving the law.110 Georgia’s as- sertion of copyright also places the official annotations largely in the hands of well-funded lawyers, raising the same concern that those with the most access to the of- ficial, promulgated commentary—and thus the ability to shape it—are a professional class uncharacteristic of the general public.

C.      Unlike Case Reports or Treatises, Annotated Official Codes Are a Traditional State Dictum

Attempting to avert the strangeness of a state wield- ing copyright against citizens, Georgia repeatedly analo- gizes to private legal treatises and headnotes to cases, supposing that the state, as annotator of the official code, is acting less like a government and more like a private scholar. History again disputes this claim, because unlike treatises and case reports, official annotated codes of law have long been the province of sovereigns.

State-published annotations are a tradition of cen- turies. Justinian declared two commentaries, the Di- gest and Institutes, official components of the Corpus Juris Civilis alongside the statutes.111 Annotations have been part of the Chinese legal tradition since at least the 200 b.c. Han dynasty code.112 England did not develop a tradition of publishing official commentaries on laws un- til about the 20th century,113 but annotated codes were frequent in Virginia and other states.114

By contrast, neither case reports nor private treatises have traditionally been promulgations of the state. Pri- vate treatises on law abounded in Rome, but the emper- ors distinguished the unofficial from the official through proclamations and jus respondendi.115 English case re- ports were also understood to be private works: The medieval Year Books were unofficial and generally at- tributed to lawyers or law students,116 and the nomi- nate reports that followed identified the names of private compilers—Plowden, Dyer, Coke.117 When Lord Coke opined in Dr. Bonham’s Case118 that the king’s statutes were not above the law (an early exercise of judicial re- view), James I kicked him off the Court of Common Pleas and then in 1616 ordered Coke to “correct his Reports” of the case.119 Coke refused, and because the reports were his own and not the Crown’s, he could.120

When Georgia deems its official annotated code akin to treatises and case reports, it grates against history that has long treated official codes as mouthpieces of the state. That a private firm under state commission held the pen is of little consequence: The Justinian Digest121 and Virginia codes122 were also privately authored un- der commission and subsequently ratified. Nor is there much weight to Georgia’s supposedly benign motive of using copyright to subsidize production of annotations— the state was free to subsidize a private treatise under a private publisher’s own name; that would make for a dif- ferent case but also for a far less valuable treatise owing to the absence of “Official” on the cover.

The inescapable conclusion for Georgia is that by des- ignating an annotated code as official,  the state is not an ordinary market participant. It instead taps into a long arc of history of sovereigns propounding their will through pronouncements, binding or not, upon their cit- izens. Those pronouncements are part and parcel of the law, and they are edicts of government to which citizens are entitled access.

2Frederick Parker Walton,  Historical Introduction  to the Roman Law 109 (1903), available online; see 2 Livy, Ab Urbe Condita 3.33–.34, 3.57.10, at 109–13, 195 (B.O. Foster trans., Har- vard Univ. Press 1919) (c. 27 b.c.), available online. Locations of authorities available online are shown in the Table of Authorities.

3See 4 Livy, supra note 2, at 9.46.5, at 351; Dig., at 8 (Charles Henry Monro trans., 1904) (a.d. 533), available online (Pom- ponius).

4See J. Inst. 1.2.10, at 6 (J.B. Moyle trans., 5th ed., Oxford, Claren- don Press 1913) (a.d. 533), available online (comparing this division to Athenian and Lacedaemonian practice that “observed only what they had made permanent in written statutes”).

5See G. Inst. 1.2, at 1 (Edward Poste & E.A. Whittuck trans., 4th

ed., Oxford, Clarendon Press 1904) (c. a.d. 161), available online.

6Frank Frost Abbott, A History and Description of Ro- man Political Institutions 233 (3d ed. 1911), available online; see G. Inst., supra note 5, at 1.4, at 2; 3 Polybius, The Histories 6.16.2, at 305–07 (W.R. Paton trans., London, W. Heinemann 1972) (c. a.d. 150), available online.

7See Robert C. Byrd, The Senate of the Roman Republic:

Addresses on the History of Roman Constitutionalism 44 (1995); Arthur Schiller, Senatus Consulta in the Principate, 33 Tul. L. Rev. 491, 492 (1959).

8See G. Inst., supra note 5, at 1.7, at 2.

9Dig., supra note 3, at, at 18 (Pomponius); see John Chip- man Gray, The Nature and Sources of  the Law  sec.  426,  at 190 (1909), available online; Kaius Tuori, The Ius Respondendi and the Freedom of Roman Jurisprudence, 51 Revue Internationale des Droits de l’Antiquite´ online. (3e se´ rie) 295, 297 (2004), available

10Alan Watson, Sources of Law, Legal Change, and Ambi- guity 8–9 (1984); see De Responsis Prudentium, Cod. Th. 1.4, at 19–20 (P. Krueger ed., Berlin, Weidmannsche Buchhandlung 1923) (a.d. 426), available online.

11Frederick W. Dingledy, The Corpus Juris Civilis: A Guide to Its History and Use, 35 Legal Reference Services Q. 231 (2016).

12See id. at 234–36.

13See On the Confirmation of the Digest (Constitutio  Tanta) (a.d. 533) (prohibiting use or creation of other commentaries), in 1 Dig., supra note 3, at xxv, §§ 19, 21, at xxxiv; Giuseppe Falcone, The Prohibition of Commentaries to the Digest and the Antecessorial Lit- erature, 9 Subseciva Groningana 1, 5–6 (2014).

14See Liang Zhiping, Explicating “Law”: A Comparative Perspec- tive of Chinese and Western Legal Culture, 3 J. Chinese L. 55, 80–84 (1989).

15See John W. Head & Yanping Wang, Law Codes in Dynas-

tic China: A Synopsis of Chinese History in the Thirty Cen- turies from Zhou to Qing 49 (2005).

16See Ernest Caldwell, Social Change and Written Law in Early

Chinese Legal Thought, 32 L. & Hist. Rev. 1, 14–15 (2014), available online.

17The Ch‘un Ts‘ew [Chunqiu]; with the Tso Chuen [Zuozhuan] (c. 300 b.c.), in 5 James Legge, The Chinese Classics 609 (Lon- don, Trübner & Co. 1872), available online.

18Head & Wang, supra note 15, at 53.

19See id. at 93–96; Xin Ren, Tradition of the Law and Law of the Tradition: Law, State, and Social Control in China 23 (1997).

20Wallace Johnson, Introduction to T’ang Code 3, 39, 43 (Wallace Johnson trans., Princeton Univ. Press 1979) (a.d. 653) (China).

21Id. at 43; see Head & Wang, supra note 15, at 125.

22See Derk Bodde & Clarence Morris, Law in Imperial China 57, 65–66 (1967).

23See id. at 64–65.

24See id. at 67.

25See id. at 69; Head & Wang, supra note 15, at 210 box VI-3.

26See Introduction to Stat. Realm xxi, xl (London, Dawsons 1810–1828), available online; Katharine F. Pantzer, Printing the En- glish Statutes, 1484–1640: Some Historical Implications, in Books

27See Introduction, supra note 26, at xli; Pantzer, supra note 26, at 74.

28See Introduction, supra note 26, at xli; Pantzer, supra note 26, at 74–75; Stat. Hen. VII (John Rae ed., London, John Camden Hotten 1869) (1489), available online.

29John Fortescue, De Laudibus Legum Angliae [Commendation of the Laws of England] ch. 48, at 80 (Francis Grigor trans., London, Sweet & Maxwell 1917) (c. 1468–1471), available on- line; see 2 W.S. Holdsworth, A History of English Law 481 (3d ed. 1923), available online (“French continued to be the language of the law because the technical terms were nearly all French.”).

30See Pantzer, supra note 26, at 73–75; David J. Harvey, The Law Emprynted and Englysshed: The Printing Press as an Agent of Change in Law and Legal Culture 1475–1642, at 24 (2015).

31John Rastell, Prohemium to The Abbreviation of the Statutes (1519), reprinted in 1 Typographical Antiquities 327, 328–29 (Joseph Ames & William Herbert eds., London, Soc’y of An- tiquaries 1785), available online.

32See Richard J. Ross, The Commoning of the Common Law: The

Renaissance Debate over Printing English Law, 1520–1640, 146 U. Pa. L. Rev. 323, 326–27 (1998).

33See id. at 329–42; Howard Jay Graham, “Our Tong Maternall Maruellously Amendyd and Augmentyd”: The First Englishing  and Printing of the Medieval Statutes at Large, 1530–1533, 13 UCLA L. Rev. 58, 70–72 (1965).

34Rastell, supra note 31, at 329.

35See supra note 3 and accompanying text.

361 Fulke Greville, Poems of Monarchy (1670), in The Works in Verse and Prose Complete of the Right Honourable Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke 5, verse 268, at 101 (N.Y., AMS Press 1966) (1870), available online.

37See Ross, supra note 32, at 390.

38See id. at 354–55.

39William Hudson, A Treatise on the Court of Star-Chamber (c. 1621), in 2 Collectanea Juridica, Consisting of Tracts Rel- ative to the Law and Constitution of England 1, 1–2 (Francis Hargrave ed., London, W. Clarke & Sons 1792), available online; see Ross, supra note 32, at 358.

402 Edward Coke, To the Reader, in The Reports of Sir Edward Coke iii, xxxix–xl (London, J. Butterworth & Son 1826) (c. 1600), available online; see Ross, supra note 32, at 374–75.

41Hudson, supra note 39, at 2; Ross, supra note 32, at 376.

42See Ross, supra note 32, at 432–38.

43Id. at 452.

44Id. at 455; see 11 James Ussher, The Power Communicated by God to the Prince (c. 1600), in The Whole Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, D.D. 223, 349 (Dublin, Hodges, Smith, & Co. 1864), available online.


45See Clive Parry, Legislatures and Secrecy, 67 Harv. L. Rev. 737, 741–43 (1954). Parliamentary privilege differs from “Crown copy- right” over statutes and the Bible. Crown copyright would be a poor antecedent for Georgia, given its origins in religious suppression.

46Bill of Rights, 1689, 1 W. & M. sess. 2, c. 2, 6 Stat. Realm 142.

47See Wason v. Walter, 38 Eng. Rep. 34, 45 (Q.B. 1868); Carl Wit- tke, The History of English Parliamentary Privilege, 26 Ohio St.

  1. Bull. No. 2, 50–51 (1921), available online; H. Tomás Gómez- Arostegui, The Untold Story of the First Copyright Suit Under the Statute of Anne in 1710, 25 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 1247, 1252–53 (2010).

48See, e.g., Wason, 38 Eng. Rep. at 45; The King v. Wright, 101 Eng.

Rep. 1396, 1399 (K.B. 1799) (“[I]t is of advantage to the public, and even to the legislative bodies, that true accounts of their proceedings should be generally circulated ”).

49See Thomas Erskine May, A Treatise on the Law, Privi- leges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament 88–92 (10th ed., London, William Clowes & Sons, Ltd. 1893), available online (noting unlimited fines and imprisonment as possible punishments).

501 Journals of the House of Commons 125, 127 (1802) (resolution

and order of Feb. 14, 1581), available online. To be sure, this was not Commons’ only charge against Hall, and Hall’s publication was apparently particularly salacious. On the present-value computation, see Eric W. Nye, A Method for Determining Historical Monetary Values, available online.

51See Speeches and Passages of This Great and Happy

Parliament: From the Third of November, 1640, to This In- stant June, 1641 (London, William Cooke 1641), available online;

A.D.T. Cromartie, The Printing of Parliamentary Speeches Novem- ber 1640–July 1642, 33 Hist. J. 23, 23 (1990).

52See Cromartie, supra note 51, at 35.

53See id. at 37.

54See David Zaret, Petitions and the “Invention” of Public Opin- ions in the English Revolution, 101 Am. J. Soc. 1497, 1509–10 (1996).

55Id. at 1530.

56See id. at 1532.

571 John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understand- ing 2.28.10–.12, at 476–80 (Alexander Campbell Fraser ed., Oxford, Clarendon Press 1894) (1689), available online; The Federalist No. 49 (James Madison); see Zaret, supra note 54, at 1540; Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, Public Opinion and the Classical Tradition: A Re- Evaluation, 43 Pub. Opinion Q. 143, 144–47 (1979).

58See Peter D.G. Thomas, The Beginning of Parliamentary Re- porting in Newspapers,  1768–1774,  74 Eng. Hist.  Rev.  623,  623 (1959).

59See id. at 624.

60See id.

61See 17 The Parliamentary History of England 59–62 (Lon- don, T.C. Hansard 1813), available online.

62See 17 id. at 85–90.

63See 17 id. at 98–102.

64See 17 id. at 157–58, 186–90; Brass Crosby’s Case, 95 Eng. Rep.

1005, 1006–07 (K.B. 1771).

65See London, April 2, Va. Gazette (Alex Purdie & John Dixon), June 13, 1771, at 1, 2, available online.

66See Letter of Junius, from the Public Advertiser, April 22, Va.

Gazette (Williamsburg, William Rind), June 20, 1771, at 1, available online.

67See Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Joseph Galloway (Apr. 20,

1771), available online, in 18 The Papers of Benjamin Franklin 77 (Ellen R. Cohn et al. eds., 1974).

68See Letter from Samuel Adams to Arthur Lee (July 31, 1771),

in 2 Richard Henry Lee, Life of Arthur Lee, LL. D. 173, 174 (Boston, Wells & Lilly 1829), available online.

69See Peter D.G. Thomas, John Wilkes and the Freedom of the

Press (1771), 33 Bull. Inst. Hist. Res. 86, 88–91 (1960).

70See Roger P. Mellen, John Wilkes and the Constitutional Right to a Free Press in the United States, 41 Journalism Hist. 2, 8 (2015). 71See David S. Bogen, The Origins of Freedom of Speech and Press,

42 Md. L. Rev. 429, 434–35 (1983).

721 Annals of Cong. 443 (Joseph Gales ed., 1834) (statement of Rep.

Jackson on June 8, 1789), available online.

73See Alfred F. Young, The Democratic Republicans of New York: The Origins, 1763–1797, at 482–87 (1967).

74See 17 U.S.C. § 506(a).

75See, e.g., Laws & Liberties of Mass. (Max Farrand ed., Har- vard Univ. Press 1929) (1648).

76See Charles Warren, A History of the American Bar 512–

13 (1911), available online.

77Act to Provide for the Adoption, Printing and Distribution of the Code of Alabama, ch. 9, § 1, 1851 Ala. Acts 22 (Feb. 5, 1852), avail-

78See Kent C. Olson, State Codes, in Virginia Law Books: Es- says and Bibliographies 1, 5–6 (W. Hamilton Bryson ed., 2000).


79Act to Provide for the Revisal of the Civil Code of This Common- wealth, ch. 34, § 1, 1845 Va. Acts 26 (Feb. 20, 1846), available online. 80John M. Patton & Conway Robinson, Report of the Revi- sors of the Code of Virginia (Richmond, Samuel Shepherd 1847– 1849), available online.

811 id. at ix.

824 id. ch. 177, § 7, at 873–74 n.*.

83The enacted code did not contain the explanatory annotations, so they could not be binding law. See, e.g., Va.  Code ch. 177, § 7,  at 672 (1849), available online (lacking annotation from the revisors’ report noted above). Curiously, other annotations were added to the enacted and published code; their provenance is unclear. See, e.g., ch. 177, § 4 note, at 671.

841 James M. Matthews, Digest of the Laws of Virginia of a Civil Nature iv (Richmond, J.W. Randolph 1856), available online.

851 id. ch. 19, § 7, n.5, at 235–36.

86See Act to Provide for the Publication of the Code of Virginia, ch. 2, §§ 3, 7, 1849 Va. Acts 255 (Aug. 16, 1849), available online.

87George W.  Munford, Preface to Va.  Code iii, iii (2d ed. 1860),

available online.

88The published revisors’ reports appear to lack formalities. Fur- thermore, there was “painful uncertainty” on whether abridgments, such as Matthews’ digest, were infringing. Story’s Ex’rs v. Hol- combe, 23 Fed. Cas. 171, 172 (C.C.D. Ohio 1847).

89Munford, supra note 87, at iii, v.

90See Va. Code ch. 65, n., at 378.

91Va. Code ch. 178, n. (1887).

92See E.C. Burks et al., Preface to Va. Code iii, v.

934 Patton & Robinson, supra note 80, at iii–iv; see also Munford, supra note 87, at iv (compiler acknowledging that “he has felt the responsibility deeply, and no thought or labor has been spared in the earnest endeavor to accomplish the task”); Burks et al., supra note 92, at v (“[O]ur utmost endeavor has been to discharge our whole duty faithfully and conscientiously.”).

94See supra notes 5–10 and accompanying text. To avoid repeti- tion, the “see” signal and phrase “and accompanying text” are omit- ted hereafter.

95Supra notes 22–25.

96Supra notes 38–42.

97Supra notes 14–15.

98Supra notes 33–36.

99Supra notes 54–57.

100Supra notes 16–18.

101Supra notes 60–64.

102Supra notes 30–31.

103Supra notes 54–57.

1041 Johnson, supra note 20, at 43; see Dingledy, supra note 11, at


105Tome v. United States, 513 U.S. 150, 167 (1995) (Scalia, J., con- curring); see Code Revision Comm’n ex rel. Gen. Assembly of Ga. v. Pub.Res.Org, Inc., 906 F.3d 1229, 1250–51 (11th Cir. 2018) (Pet. App. 43a–44a).

106Supra notes 14–15.

107Supra notes 37–44.

108Cf. Yates v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 1074, 1090 (2015) (Alito, J., concurring) (relying in part on a statute’s nonbinding title to narrow construction).

109Supra note 42.

110See Mathias Reimann, The Historical School Against Codifica- tion: Savigny, Carter, and the Defeat of the New York Civil Code, 37 Am. J. Comp. L. 95, 110–13 (1989)

111Supra notes 11–13.

112Supra notes 19–25.

113See May, supra note 49, at 442; Cabinet Office, Guide to Making Legislation para. 11.9, at 78 (July 2017) (U.K.), available online.

114Supra notes 88–92.

115Supra notes 8–10.

116See 2 Holdsworth, supra note 29, at 532–36; Michael Bryan, Early English Law Reporting, 4 U. Melb. Collections 45, 46 (2009), available online.

117See W.S. Holdsworth, Sources and Literature of En-

glish Law 89–90 (1925).

118Thomas Bonham v. Coll. of Physicians (Dr. Bonham’s Case), 77 Eng. Rep. 638 (C.P. 1610) (Coke, C.J.).

119Theodore F.T. Plucknett, Bonham’s Case and Judicial Review, 40 Harv. L. Rev. 30, 50 (1926).

120See id. at 50–51.

121See Dingledy, supra note 11, at 235.

122See supra notes 79–80.

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