What is the law?
Binding, on-point law (about)
Advisory sources (about)
Public records law (about)
Delaware's Freedom of Information Act was enacted in 1977. Del. Code Ann. tit. 29, § 10001.
Does the public records law restrict the use of disclosed records?
The Delaware Attorney General has said that "the purpose of a FOIA request for records is irrelevant and a public body cannot ask the reason for the request or condition the processing of a request on a statement of purpose by the requestor." Del. Op. Att'y Gen. 06-IB09 (2006). Multiple Attorney General opinions, however, clarify that in judicial review of a FOIA request an intended commercial use is a factor which may be weighed as against the public interest and therefore against disclosure. Del. Op. Att'y Gen. 10-IB09 (2010); see also Op. Att'y Gen. 96-IB33, 1996 WL 751553 (Del.A.G. Dec, 11, 1996); Op. Att'y Gen. 98-IB07, 1998 WL 648717 (Del.A.G. July 28, 1998); Op. Att'y Gen. 01-IB17, 2001 WL 1593117 (Del.A.G. Nov. 19, 2001).
Specifics and examples (about)
|Status||Applies to...||Based on?|
|Copyrightable by statute||Intellectual property owned by the Delaware Health Information Network||Del. Code Ann. tit. 16, § 10303|
|Public domain by statute||"All geospatial data and information created by or for any state, county or local agency, or by or for any other organizations receiving state funds in whole or in part for the development of such data"||Del. Code Ann. tit. 29, § 9144|
|Status varies by document||Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) created documents||Some documents vest copyright in DelDOT, e.g., Roadside Vegetation Concept and Planning Manual: Enhancing Delaware Highways; however, others are labeled as public domain, e.g., "Public Workshop for: BR 1-444 on N424 Old Corbitt Road, East of Odessa".|
Additional things to consider (about)
Delaware may restrict public records access to Delaware citizens. Del. Code Ann. tit. 29, § 10001 (declaring the policy of the act to be to provide access to "our citizens" and to "further the accountability of government to the citizens of this State").
The Delaware code once refers to "all war records, colors, standards, and battle flags as are or shall become the property of the State." Del. Code Ann. tit. 20, § 501. The code also authorizes the Delaware Attorney General to "enjoin, recover and replevin any public records which have been unlawfully transferred or removed" from the custody of the state. Del. Code Ann. tit. 29, § 518.
The Delaware Public Archives states that "[a]ll responsibility for infringement of legal copyright is assumed by the user of the materials." Delaware Public Archives, Rules and Regulations.
Where else to go
- Delaware Attorney General Opinions, available at http://opinions.attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/
- Delaware.gov Freedom of Information Act information, available at http://www.delaware.gov/topics/foia
- Delaware Public Archives, available at http://archives.delaware.gov/index.shtml
Lee v. Minner, 458 F.3d 194 (3d Cir. 2006), available at https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9104289099197782648.
McBurney v. Young, 133 S. Ct. 1709, 185 L. Ed. 2d 758 (U.S. 2013), available at http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=2705296316682556891.
Del. Code Ann. tit. 29, § 10001.
Del. Code Ann. tit. 16, § 10303.
Del. Code Ann. tit. 29, § 9144.
Del. Code Ann. tit. 16, § 10003.
Del. Code Ann. tit. 20, § 501.
Del. Code Ann. tit. 29, § 518.
Attorney General Opinions
Del. Op. Att'y Gen. 06-IB09, 2006 (Apr. 25, 2006) , available at http://opinions.attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/2006/04/25/06-ib09-re-freedom-of-information-act-complaint-against-town-of-townsend/.
Del. Op. Att'y Gen. 10-IB09, 2010 (Sept. 2, 2010), available at http://opinions.attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/2010/09/02/10-ib09-re-freedom-of-information-act-appeal-of-agency-denial-of-records/.
Del. Op. Att'y Gen. 96-IB33, 1996 (Dec. 11, 1996), available at http://opinions.attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/1996/12/11/96-ib33-re-freedom-of-information-act-disclosure-of-names-and-addresses-of-business-license-holders/.
Del. Op. Att'y Gen. 98-IB07, 1998 (July 28, 1998), available at http://opinions.attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/1998/07/28/98-ib07-re-sworn-payroll-information-29-del-c-%C2%A7-10002/.
Del. Op. Att'y Gen. 01-IB17, 2001 (Nov. 19, 2001) , available at http://opinions.attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/2001/11/19/01-ib17-re-freedom-of-information-act-complaint-against-city-of-dover/.
Delaware Department of Transportation, Roadside Vegetation Concept and Planning Manual: Enhancing Delaware Highways, available at http://deldot.gov/information/pubs_forms/manuals/edh/pdf/2-108OP.pdf.
Delaware Department of Transportation, Public Workshop Comment Form, available at http://deldot.gov/information/projects/old_corbitt_rd_bridge/pdf/br1-444PublicWorkshopSummary.pdf.
Delaware Public Archives, Rules and Regulations, available at http://archives.delaware.gov/rules.shtml.
-  The citizens-only restriction in the main text of the Freedom of Information Act found in § 10003 was struck down as a violation of the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the U.S. Constitution in Lee v. Minner, 458 F.3d 194 (3d Cir. 2006). Lee v. Minner was, however, effectively overturned by the Supreme Court in McBurney v. Young, 133 S. Ct. 1709, 185 L. Ed. 2d 758 (U.S. 2013), which struck down a similar citizens-only provision in the Virginia public records law. After the Lee v. Minner decision, however, the Delaware legislature amended the section to remove the citizens-only language from § 10003. Similar language still appears in the policy statement in § 10001, however.