What is the law?
Binding, on-point law (about)
Advisory sources (about)
Public records law (about)
Puerto Rico's earliest public records law dates from 1905, and public records provisions may be found at several places within the Puerto Rico code: § 1001 Definitions, 3 L.P.R.A. § 1001; § 1781 Right to inspect and copy public documents, 32 L.P.R.A. § 1781.
Specifics and examples (about)
|Status||Applies to...||Based on?|
|Copyrightable by University of Puerto Rico by statute||"products manufactured, created or developed by the Agricultural Experiment Station Researchers financed with" funds from the Agriculture and Food Technology Research and Development Financing Program||§ 77 Products of the research, 5 L.P.R.A. § 77|
|Copyrightable by statute||Intellectual property of the Land Authority of Puerto Rico||§ 261 General rights and powers, 28 L.P.R.A. § 261|
|Copyrightable by statute||Intellectual property of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust||§ 695a Creation, purposes and duties, 23 L.P.R.A. § 695a|
|Public domain by statute||Register of issued real estate licenses||§ 3032 Board— Powers and duties, 20 L.P.R.A. § 3032|
|Copyrightable by attorney general opinion||Laws of Puerto Rico Annotated ||1958 Op. Sec. Jus. No. 23|
Additional things to consider (about)
The National Library of Puerto Rico has stated that Puerto Rico government documents are generally in the public domain. Biblioteca Nacional de Puerto Rico, Propiedad intellectual, ("Generalmente los materiales producidos por las agencias y corporaciones públicas del Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico son de dominio público.").
Puerto Rico public records law provides the right to inspect public records only to "every citizen." § 1781 Right to inspect and copy public documents, 32 L.P.R.A. § 1781. It is unclear from this language whether the statute requires Puerto Rican citizenship or U.S. citizenship. In either event, a similar citizens-only provision in the Virginia public records law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in McBurney v. Young, 133 S. Ct. 1709, 185 L. Ed. 2d 758 (U.S. 2013).
At one place in the Puerto Rico code, a government record is referred to as "property of the Commonwealth." § 951 Historical compilation of annual events, 18 L.P.R.A. § 951.
Where else to go
American Association of Law Libraries, Survey Report: Puerto Rico, available at http://www.aallnet.org/Documents/Government-Relations/states/pr-survey.pdf.
The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, available at http://www.icp.gobierno.pr/inicio.
- McBurney v. Young, 133 S. Ct. 1709, 185 L. Ed. 2d 758 (U.S. 2013), available at https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=2705296316682556891.
§ 1001 Definitions, 3 L.P.R.A. § 1001.
§ 1781 Right to inspect and copy public documents, 32 L.P.R.A. § 1781.
§ 77 Products of the research, 5 L.P.R.A. § 77.
§ 261 General rights and powers, 28 L.P.R.A. § 261.
§ 695a Creation, purposes and duties, 23 L.P.R.A. § 695a.
§ 3032 Board— Powers and duties, 20 L.P.R.A. § 3032.
Attorney General Opinions
- 1958 Op. Sec. Jus. No. 23.
- Biblioteca Nacional de Puerto Rico, Propiedad intellectual, available at http://www.icp.gobierno.pr/programas/biblioteca-nacional-de-puerto-rico/21.
-  Judicial opinions cannot be copyrighted. The Supreme Court in Banks v. Manchester, 128 U.S. 244, 9 S. Ct. 36, 32 L. Ed. 425 (1888) invalidated an asserted copyright by a private publisher, an Ohio citizen, for copyright in the state court reports, holding that any content written by a judge cannot be copyrighted because "[t]he whole work done by the judges constitutes the authentic exposition and interpretation of the law, which, binding every citizen, is free for publication to all, whether it is a declaration of unwritten law, or an interpretation of a constitution or a statute." See also Nash v. Lathrop, 142 Mass. 29, 35, 6 N.E. 559, 560 (1886) and Wheaton v. Peters, 33 U.S. 591, 668, 8 L. Ed. 1055 (1834). Only materials ancillary to the court opinion such as the "title-page, table of cases, head notes, statements of facts, arguments of counsel, and index" may be copyrighted. Callaghan v. Myers, 128 U.S. 617, 649, 9 S. Ct. 177, 185, 32 L. Ed. 547 (1888).