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Thread: The Open Law Project

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    The Open Law Project

    Paul Jacobson has started The Open Law Project. Here is what he has to say on the companion blog,

    There are very few sources of legal content in South Africa on South African law. Google can be tremendously helpful in finding what is available but, as yet, there is no single comprehensive legal reference work on the Web on South African law. The problem with this is that South Africans are governed and affected by South African law and this law is not very accessible to them.

    The Open Law Project is an initiative aimed at creating a comprehensive and reliable legal reference work that is created by the South African legal community and which is available to South Africans who have access to an Internet connection and a web browser for free. The intention is to make the content on this site available for free to the South African public, the content posted to this site can not be subject to copyright. Copyright makes the content less accessible. That being said, contributions from all members of the South African legal community are most welcome and appreciated. This is an opportunity to contribute back to the South African public.

    From the Open Law Blog
    If you are either looking for some legal information, or have contributions to the project, go check it out. This could become a really useful resource to just about anyone in South Africa if it builds enough momentum.
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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I hope some of what might get developed there that is of importance to business might also find its way here too. This was my hope in setting up the Wiki here.

    I was looking at Acts Online the other day and was a little disturbed to note the "Licence to reproduce" from the Government printer. I get the impression that South African law operates under copyright of the Government Printer, which seems ludicrous.

    Worse still, free online access to South African law is very much a hit and miss affair. I feel the government is duty bound to ensure that all current legislation is made available online.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    I hope some of what might get developed there that is of importance to business might also find its way here too. This was my hope in setting up the Wiki here.
    Well, it is open, so I hope that it can be a two way thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    I was looking at Acts Online the other day and was a little disturbed to note the "Licence to reproduce" from the Government printer. I get the impression that South African law operates under copyright of the Government Printer, which seems ludicrous.
    That seems crazy. Surely we (as the public) own the copyright then?
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    Silver Member Eugene's Avatar
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    I agree. As a legal practisioner we spend thousands of rands each year to obtain all acts and case law. It seems quite ridiculous as one can not plead ignorance of the law in from of a judge, yet our justice system is not transparant at all.

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    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    If anyone speaks with Paul, please tell him to switch his skype on, I made an offer to help but can't seem to reach him....

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    Email problem stephanfx's Avatar
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    I think that there might be something that scares the government in the fact that the law would be open to everyone.

    They might not be able then to take advantage of the man on the street anymore. I am not saying that they do, just that I can see how some people in the legal industry might not quite like this idea a whole lot.

    IMO, I think it is a great idea and will most definitely have a look each time I might have a legal issue

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    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    My view of this is that if you are supposed to live by laws, you need to know what they are... Not just in general terms, but have access to every point of law that's available

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I'm wondering if this isn't a constitutional right issue worth pursuing.

    I know that anyone can subscribe to the Government Gazette, but there is a cost - in Rands as well as in trees!

    If there is one thing the government should be doing right now, it's publishing all legislation onto a searchable website.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    If anyone wants the Goverment Gazette, that can be organized, free of charge...

    What Paul is doing with the OpenLaw project is brilliant, and I for one will support him all the way...

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKS Computer Solutions View Post
    If anyone wants the Goverment Gazette, that can be organized, free of charge...
    Yes please
    (Hopefully that's an electronic version?)
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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