As I reported FridayCasemaker filed an answer and counterclaim in the lawsuit filed against it by Fastcase, even though CEO David Harriman has previously told me his company would not fight the lawsuit and agreed with Fastcase that state law should not be subject to copyright.

This morning, I had the opportunity to speak with Harriman about this latest development in the lawsuit. He said that the company decided to file an answer after its attorneys advised that it would not make sense to allow entry of a default judgement.

“We make no claim that states can copyright their laws,” Harriman said. “Never have and never would.”

Rather, Casemaker maintains that this is purely a licensing issue, Harriman said. The state of Georgia has given Casemaker the exclusive right to license its Administrative Rules and Regulations in an electronic format and all other resellers of those materials have entered into licensing agreements with Casemaker.

Going forward, Casemaker plans to put stricter language on the Georgia rules website that says that anyone who uses the website agrees not to resell the materials without first obtaining a license from Casemaker.

Calls the Case Moot

Harriman said that he plans to make no claim against Fastcase for its past use of these materials. Rather, he will seek to enforce his exclusive license only prospectively.

For that reason, he believes the lawsuit should be dismissed as moot. “We make no claim about Fastcase’s past use of the materials,” he said. “What’s done is done.”

Harriman’s position appears to be at odds with the answer and counterclaim filed last week. Although the answer does state that Casemaker “does not claim a copyright in the statutory text and numbering contained in the content of the site,” it nevertheless states counterclaims against Fastcase for unjust enrichment and quantum meruit, and it specifically requests that the court enter judgment on the counterclaim.

When I pointed this out to Harriman, he said that his attorneys had gone farther in the answer than he had understood they would.

“The only reason we filed this is so we wouldn’t have a default judgment,” he said. “I hope it will get dismissed as moot.”

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.