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Tags copyright issues , copyright laws , Georgia cases , Georgia issues , supreme court decisions

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Old 3rd May 2020, 06:40 AM   #1
Giz
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Supreme Court Versus Georgia

Interesting split from the court (I agree with the majority):

The Supreme Court ruled Monday against the state of Georgia in a copyright lawsuit over annotations to its legal code, finding they cannot be copyrighted.

Everyone involved in the case agreed that the text of state statutes could not be copyrighted. But the state of Georgia argued that it could copyright annotations that are distributed with the official code. These annotations provide supplemental information about the law, including summaries of judicial opinions, information about legislative history, and citations to relevant law review articles. The annotations are produced by a division of legal publishing giant LexisNexis under a work-for-hire contract with the state.

The copyright status of the annotated code matters because the state doesn't publish any other official version. You can get an unofficial version of state law for free from LexisNexis' website, but LexisNexis' terms of service explicitly warned users that it might be inaccurate. The company also prohibits users from scraping the site's content or using it commercially. If you need the official, up-to-date version of Georgia state law, you have to pay LexisNexis hundreds of dollars for a copy of the official version—which includes annotations.

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/202...e-lawsuit.html


For what it’s worth, the justices who think it’s fine to not let citizens know how the laws apply to them (without spending hundreds of dollar’s) are:

Thomas
Alito
Breyer
Ginsburg

Last edited by Giz; 3rd May 2020 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 06:59 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
For what itís worth, the justices who think itís fine to not let citizens know how the laws apply to them (without spending hundreds of dollarís) are:

Thomas
Ailtonís
Breyer
Ginsburg
They don't think it is"fine". They are not arbitrating if things are fine or not.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 07:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
They don't think it is"fine". They are not arbitrating if things are fine or not.
I have no opinion on that
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Old 3rd May 2020, 07:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
I have no opinion on that
You do have an opinion on it. You stated it.

Quote:
For what it’s worth, the justices who think it’s fine to not let citizens know how the laws apply to them (without spending hundreds of dollar’s) are
I'm challenging your opinion directly.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 07:15 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BobTheCoward View Post
You do have an opinion on it. You stated it.



I'm challenging your opinion directly.
I have an opinion on their opinion. I have no opinion on your opinion.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 07:16 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
I have an opinion on their opinion. I have no opinion on your opinion.
Why do think they think it is fine?
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Old 3rd May 2020, 07:40 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/202...e-lawsuit.html


For what itís worth, the justices who think itís fine to not let citizens know how the laws apply to them (without spending hundreds of dollarís) are:

Thomas
Ailtonís
Breyer
Ginsburg
Whut?
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Old 3rd May 2020, 07:50 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
Whut?
Ha! Alito. Darn auto correct!
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Old 3rd May 2020, 09:24 AM   #9
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But it better not happen again

Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Ha! Alito. Darn auto correct!
You have no opinion on that, but you don't know that you don't, so we'll let you off this time.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 09:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
For what itís worth, the justices who think itís fine to not let citizens know how the laws apply to them (without spending hundreds of dollarís) are:

Thomas
Alito
Breyer
Ginsburg
The pairing of Thomas and Alito with Breyer and Ginsburg should give you a clue that maybe there are some serious legal issues here. What exactly do you perceive as the glorious future arising from this decision? That Lexis-Nexus will continue to do the grunt work of annotating Georgia state law, even though they can't charge people for accessing it?
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Old 3rd May 2020, 09:47 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
The pairing of Thomas and Alito with Breyer and Ginsburg should give you a clue that maybe there are some serious legal issues here. What exactly do you perceive as the glorious future arising from this decision? That Lexis-Nexus will continue to do the grunt work of annotating Georgia state law, even though they can't charge people for accessing it?
Perhaps the taxpayer should pony up to have a workable copy of the law available to all citizens ?
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Old 3rd May 2020, 09:52 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Perhaps the taxpayer should pony up to have a workable copy of the law available to all citizens ?
Good idea.

But that option would have been available even if the dissent had carried the day. I'm not sure which side of the issue I would have been on had I studied the problem in depth (and as Bob correctly pointed out, the court's job isn't to produce the best policy outcome anyways), but it seems like no matter what the outcome of this case, the Georgia legislature probably should probably change how they do things anyways.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 10:21 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Perhaps the taxpayer should pony up to have a workable copy of the law available to all citizens ?
Sounds like you have an issue with the legislature then.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 10:29 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Sounds like you have an issue with the legislature then.
Yes, I think the state of Georgia was wrong on this one.

I think that being able to access a complete, accurate copy of the laws that a citizen lives under, should be available to all citizens. Same as a public defender should be available.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 10:42 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Yes, I think the state of Georgia was wrong on this one.

I think that being able to access a complete, accurate copy of the laws that a citizen lives under, should be available to all citizens. Same as a public defender should be available.
A-friggin men.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 11:36 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Sounds like you have an issue with the legislature then.
And the citizens of Georgia.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 11:53 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
Yes, I think the state of Georgia was wrong on this one.

I think that being able to access a complete, accurate copy of the laws that a citizen lives under, should be available to all citizens. Same as a public defender should be available.
I agree. However, it does not follow from this that L-N is required to give up its lawful copyright to the materials it produced.

It also does not follow from this that such annotations are part of the law as such. It seems to me that the proper remedy is for the state of Georgia to either write the annotations into a bill, and pass them into law; or else for the state of Georgia to commission annotations under a commons license.

There is a basic principle that the people who do the work should get compensated for it, and that others should not benefit from that work without giving fair compensation. This principle is embodied in copyright law. The court cannot - or at least should not - nullify existing law simply because somebody somewhere feels very strongly that it should be otherwise than it is.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 11:55 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I agree. However, it does not follow from this that L-N is required to give up its lawful copyright to the materials it produced.

It also does not follow from this that such annotations are part of the law as such. It seems to me that the proper remedy is for the state of Georgia to either write the annotations into a bill, and pass them into law; or else for the state of Georgia to commission annotations under a commons license.

There is a basic principle that the people who do the work should get compensated for it, and that others should not benefit from that work without giving fair compensation. This principle is embodied in copyright law. The court cannot - or at least should not - nullify existing law simply because somebody somewhere feels very strongly that it should be otherwise than it is.
The. Georgia should employ eminent domain and purchase the annotations from LN
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Old 3rd May 2020, 12:22 PM   #19
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Does it say whose bright idea this was? Was it a revenue generating scheme or something else?
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Old 3rd May 2020, 12:57 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
The. Georgia should employ eminent domain and purchase the annotations from LN
Why is it that eminent domain always seems to be employed in bad faith?

L-N contracted with the state in good faith. They did the work they were hired to do. They received the agreed compensation.

If L-N suspected the state was just going to waive their legal rights and grab the work from them anyway, they might have thought twice about doing the work. Or they might have negotiated a much more equitable deal before signing the contract.

Your proposal seems like gangsterism, to me.

Also, it seems disingenuous to use eminent domain to seize from others work that you could have done, and should have done, yourself. Lexis-Nexis is not the villain here. They should not be treated like one.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 01:01 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Does it say whose bright idea this was? Was it a revenue generating scheme or something else?
It's just an AP blurb.

https://apnews.com/633afdad7292829aea38124fca61ee2c

Did you really think someone was doing investigative journalism on this?

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Old 3rd May 2020, 01:06 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I agree. However, it does not follow from this that L-N is required to give up its lawful copyright to the materials it produced.

It also does not follow from this that such annotations are part of the law as such. It seems to me that the proper remedy is for the state of Georgia to either write the annotations into a bill, and pass them into law; or else for the state of Georgia to commission annotations under a commons license.

There is a basic principle that the people who do the work should get compensated for it, and that others should not benefit from that work without giving fair compensation. This principle is embodied in copyright law. The court cannot - or at least should not - nullify existing law simply because somebody somewhere feels very strongly that it should be otherwise than it is.
While I agree with you that people should get paid for their work. The idea that a private company should ever be able to own this is flat out wrong.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 01:10 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
While I agree with you that people should get paid for their work. The idea that a private company should ever be able to own this is flat out wrong.
They should be paid. When they produce the paid for results, it should become public domain if it is part of our laws that citizens are required to comply with. This ongoing 'pay to know what the laws that govern you are' thing is some horse ****, though.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 01:10 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Why is it that eminent domain always seems to be employed in bad faith?

L-N contracted with the state in good faith. They did the work they were hired to do. They received the agreed compensation.

If L-N suspected the state was just going to waive their legal rights and grab the work from them anyway, they might have thought twice about doing the work. Or they might have negotiated a much more equitable deal before signing the contract.

Your proposal seems like gangsterism, to me.

Also, it seems disingenuous to use eminent domain to seize from others work that you could have done, and should have done, yourself. Lexis-Nexis is not the villain here. They should not be treated like one.
Iím saying that Georgia shouldnít have done what they did. As a result, they should now compensate LN. As it is mandatory , I suggested eminent domain.

I agree that there are many shady uses of eminent domain but I hardly think this is one of them.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 01:22 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
While I agree with you that people should get paid for their work. The idea that a private company should ever be able to own this is flat out wrong.
Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
They should be paid. When they produce the paid for results, it should become public domain if it is part of our laws that citizens are required to comply with. This ongoing 'pay to know what the laws that govern you are' thing is some horse ****, though.
Neither of these is how copyright actually works.

If the state didn't want or couldn't use copyrighted material, they should not have commissioned copyrighted material.

Nor should we tolerate the government commissioning copyrighted material and then denying its copyright.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 01:25 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Neither of these is how copyright actually works.

If the state didn't want or couldn't use copyrighted material, they should not have commissioned copyrighted material.

Nor should we tolerate the government commissioning copyrighted material and then denying its copyright.
That's the point. Law should never be saddled with what is essentially a poll tax. No way a pay-as-you-go access to laws should have passed first sniff, much less gone so far.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 01:42 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
That's the point. Law should never be saddled with what is essentially a poll tax. No way a pay-as-you-go access to laws should have passed first sniff, much less gone so far.
But it isn't access to the laws. It's access to annotations written by a third party which has no legal force. Such annotations may be useful, but it certainly isn't the actual laws. I'm not denied access to the laws because I have to pay for a law textbook, even though a law textbook can certainly be useful in understanding the law.

But does a single person here actually know what these annotations even look like? I certainly don't. I've got no idea whether this is the sort of stuff that might be useful to a layperson or whether it's only useful for legal specialists.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 01:47 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
But it isn't access to the laws. It's access to annotations written by a third party which has no legal force. Such annotations may be useful, but it certainly isn't the actual laws. I'm not denied access to the laws because I have to pay for a law textbook, even though a law textbook can certainly be useful in understanding the law.

But does a single person here actually know what these annotations even look like? I certainly don't. I've got no idea whether this is the sort of stuff that might be useful to a layperson or whether it's only useful for legal specialists.
Fair point. I assume they have some significant relevance, or would not be in front of the SCOTUS. I doubt trivialities are often heard there
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Old 3rd May 2020, 01:53 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Neither of these is how copyright actually works.

If the state didn't want or couldn't use copyrighted material, they should not have commissioned copyrighted material.

Nor should we tolerate the government commissioning copyrighted material and then denying its copyright.
I understand how copyrights work. Again, private companies should never own the copyright on what is public information. Both the State and L N made a mistake.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 02:12 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
But it isn't access to the laws. It's access to annotations written by a third party which has no legal force. Such annotations may be useful, but it certainly isn't the actual laws. I'm not denied access to the laws because I have to pay for a law textbook, even though a law textbook can certainly be useful in understanding the law.

But does a single person here actually know what these annotations even look like? I certainly don't. I've got no idea whether this is the sort of stuff that might be useful to a layperson or whether it's only useful for legal specialists.
The issue is that the free version is:


ďThe copyright status of the annotated code matters because the state doesn't publish any other official version. You can get an unofficial version of state law for free from LexisNexis' website, but LexisNexis' terms of service explicitly warned users that it might be inaccurateĒ

If there was a certified accurate, official version that was free (without annotations) then this would be a different conversation. But the only free version being inaccurate and unofficial... no thanks.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 02:13 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I understand how copyrights work. Again, private companies should never own the copyright on what is public information.
What does "public information" mean here? And why are these annotations "public information"?
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Old 3rd May 2020, 02:14 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
That's the point. Law should never be saddled with what is essentially a poll tax. No way a pay-as-you-go access to laws should have passed first sniff, much less gone so far.
I agree, except that what you're describing isn't what happened.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 02:15 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I understand how copyrights work. Again, private companies should never own the copyright on what is public information. Both the State and L N made a mistake.
L-N made no mistake. The state contracted them to produce private information. The state is the sole wrongdoer here.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 02:21 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
What does "public information" mean here? And why are these annotations "public information"?
The annotations were made probably for free by third parties to the State. The State shouldn't have the right to sell the copyright of something that was originally public domain. Once it enters the public domain it should permanently be part of the public domain.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 02:22 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
L-N made no mistake. The state contracted them to produce private information. The state is the sole wrongdoer here.
It wasn't private information.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 02:45 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
The annotations were made probably for free by third parties to the State.
You are wrong about this:

Originally Posted by Giz View Post
The annotations are produced by a division of legal publishing giant LexisNexis under a work-for-hire contract with the state.


You are wrong about this too:
Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
It wasn't private information.
The copyright was indeed privately held. If the copyright was to be held by the state government, then the state government should have included that in the contract, instead of trying to declare by fiat after the fact.

Again, L-N abided by the contract, and has abided by their legal entitlement to copyright. They have done nothing wrong. This entire situation was created by the state in bad faith.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 02:47 PM   #37
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Last edited by acbytesla; 3rd May 2020 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 02:50 PM   #38
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Quote:
"Roberts said the question to ask is “whether the author of the work is a judge or a legislator.”

“If so," he wrote, “then whatever work that judge or legislator produces in the course of his judicial or legislative duties is not copyrightable."

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/202...e-lawsuit.html
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Old 3rd May 2020, 02:56 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You are wrong about this:
Nope. You are.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post

You are wrong about this too:

The copyright was indeed privately held. If the copyright was to be held by the state government, then the state government should have included that in the contract, instead of trying to declare by fiat after the fact.

Again, L-N abided by the contract, and has abided by their legal entitlement to copyright. They have done nothing wrong. This entire situation was created by the state in bad faith.
Even the state doesn't own the copyright. This is public information as it was created by the State. And both the State and L N knew it was. This was an attempt to privatize what is inherently in the Public Domain.
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Old 3rd May 2020, 03:12 PM   #40
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Read the article. The work was produced by L-N under contract.
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