Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for California

Q: Can I publish CA court transcripts as a book on Amazon if they were published by courttv? or do i need to buy them?

i'm not sure the court even has them to purchase anymore since it's an old trial. the transcrips being on courttv means they are copyrighted?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Publishing California court transcripts as a book, particularly when they have been broadcast by Court TV, involves several legal considerations. Firstly, court transcripts generally fall into the public domain, especially if they are official records from a public trial. However, this does not automatically grant the right to republish them in a commercial format, such as a book.

The fact that these transcripts were broadcast by Court TV introduces additional complexities. The broadcast version may have copyright protection, particularly if any form of creative input or editing was involved in their preparation for television. This means that using the Court TV version specifically could infringe upon their copyright.

To proceed safely, it's advisable to obtain the transcripts directly from the court, if available. This avoids any potential copyright infringement that might arise from using a version prepared by another entity like Court TV. If the court no longer has them available, exploring other official sources or archives would be the next step.

It’s also important to consider any privacy issues or publication bans that might apply to the content of the transcripts. Even though they are from a public trial, certain sensitive information might still be subject to legal protection.

Finally, consulting with a legal professional knowledgeable in copyright law and publishing is strongly recommended. They can provide specific guidance tailored to your situation and help navigate any potential legal pitfalls in this process.

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