What is the law?
Binding, on-point law (about)
Advisory sources (about)
The Maine Office of Information Technology has a policy which specifies that "all copyrightable works prepared by a State employee within the scope of that employment are the property of the State of Maine."
Related law (about)
In 1997 Maine enacted the InforME Public Information Access Act, which established the InforME gateway for electronic dissemination of public information. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 533. The Act stated that information made available through InforME is "owned by the public, and copyright or licensing restrictions may not be fixed to this information by the board, the network manager or data custodians." Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 538. While this language is encouraging, it does not prohibit the state entities which originate the information from asserting a copyright interest. InforME itself, while providing some information free of charge, also licenses access to the full database. Similarly, Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 5, § 2005 prohibits copyrights held by the board of the Maine Library of Geographic Information in the information made available through the Library. It is unclear from these statutes whether they indicate a general lack of copyright in these public records, of if they merely limit allocation of copyrights among different government entities. 
Public records law (about)
Maine enacted their Freedom of Access Act in 1959. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 400.
Does the public records law restrict the use of disclosed records?
Officials may not decline a records request based on the reason for the request or refusal to disclose the reason for the request. Fee waivers are available, however, when "[t]he agency or official considers release of the public record requested to be in the public interest because doing so is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester." Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 408-A(11)(B).
Specifics and examples (about)
|Status||Applies to...||Based on?|
|Not copyrightable by specific government entities||"information developed by the network manager for InforME and public information made available through InforME" (http://www.maine.gov/informe/)||Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 538|
|Not copyrightable by specific government entities||"information made available through the Maine Library of Geographic Information"||Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 5, § 2005|
|Copyrightable by statute||Intellectual property managed by the Maine Legislative Council||Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 3, § 162(16-A)|
|Copyrightable by statute||Research "in the several fields of museum activity and to provide interpretive and information services, including the dissemination and recording of information gathered through research" at the Maine State Museum.||Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 27, § 85-A(9)|
|Copyright asserted by state||publications of the Maine State Legislature||http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/disclaimer.htm|
Additional things to consider (about)
The Maine code refers to public records as property of the public and as property of state entities: See Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 538 ("The information developed by the network manager for InforME and public information made available through InforME is owned by the public"); Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 502 ("All Maine reports, digests, statutes, codes and laws, printed or purchased by the State and previously distributed by law to the several towns and plantations within the State, shall be and remain the property of the State"); Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 27, § 86-A ("documents or other library or archival items under the administrative jurisdiction of the Maine State Library or the Maine State Archives, that are or may become the property of the State"); Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 5, § 95-A ("A record created by or belonging to the State, to a local or county government in the State or to any agency of the State remains the property of the State until ownership and possession are formally relinquished in accordance with statute and rules").
Maine law also prohibits the unauthorized removal or destruction of public records. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 452; Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 5, § 95-A.
Where else to go
Maine Freedom of Access Act website, available at http://www.maine.gov/foaa/index.htm.
InforME: Information Resource of Maine, available at http://www.maine.gov/informe/.
Maine State Archives, available at http://www.maine.gov/sos/arc/records/state/index.html.
Anne C. Lucey, "A Section-By-Section Analysis of Maine's Freedom of Access Act", 43 Maine Law Review 169 (1991), available at https://mainelaw.maine.edu/academics/maine-law-review/pdf/vol43_1/vol43_me_l_rev_169.pdf.
Office of the Legislative Council, Citizen's Guide to the Maine Freedom of Information Act, 2013 update, available at http://www.maine.gov/legis/opla/Citizens'%20Guide%202013%20Update.pdf.
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Open Government Guide: Access to Public Records and Meetings in Maine, available at http://www.rcfp.org/rcfp/orders/docs/ogg/ME.pdf.
Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 400, available at http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/1/title1sec400.html.
Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 408-A, available at http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/1/title1sec408-A.html.
Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 533, available at http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/1/title1sec533.html.
Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 538, available at http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/1/title1sec538.html.
Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 5, § 2005, available at http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/5/title5sec2005.html.
Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 3, § 162, available at http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/3/title3sec162.html.
Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 27, § 85-A, available at http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/27/title27sec85-A.html.
Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 502, available at http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/1/title1sec502.html.
Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 27, § 86-A, available at http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/27/title27sec86-A.html.
Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 5, § 95-A, available at http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/5/title5sec95-A.html.
Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 1, § 452, available at http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/1/title1sec452.html.
Office of Information Technology, Copyrightable Works Policy, available at http://www.maine.gov/oit/policies/copyrightableworkspolicy.html.
The Maine Freedom of Access Act: Your Right to Know, "May a governmental body ask me why I want a certain record?," available at http://www.maine.gov/foaa/faq/index.shtml.
InforME Subscription Service Agreement, available at http://www.maine.gov/informe/subscriber/agreement.htm.
Maine Legislature, Disclaimer, available at http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/disclaimer.htm.
-  This is particularly of note in regard to § 2005 in light of the national debate surrounding geographic data. Most recent litigation touching on the copyright status of state documents has concerned GIS data (see, e.g., the cases in Florida (Microdecisions, Inc. v. Skinner, 889 So. 2d 871 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2004)), California (County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court, 89 Cal. Rptr. 374 (Cal. Ct. App. 2009)), New York (City of New York v. Geodata Plus, LLC, 537 F. Supp. 2d 443 (E.D.N.Y. 2007)), and South Carolina (Seago v. Horry County, 663 S.E.2d 38 (S.C. 2008))). For a general discussion of the copyright status of government GIS data, see Edward A. Pisacreta & Jonathan P. Mollod, Licensing and Commercialization Issues for Geographic Data, 45 Les Nouvelles 1, 5 (2010).