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What is the law?

Binding, on-point law (about)


Advisory sources (about)


In Pictometry Int'l Corp. v. Freedom of Info. Comm'n, 307 Conn. 648, 59 A.3d 172 (2013), a Connecticut court held that information copyrighted by a third-party was not subject to disclosure under the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act; however, the case did not involve a government entity as a copyright holder. Another case, Dir., Dep't of Info. Tech. of Town of Greenwich v. Freedom of Info. Comm'n, 274 Conn. 179, 874 A.2d 785 (2005) held that geographic information system (GIS) data was not a exempt from disclosure as a trade secret under Connecticut law. [1] Pictometry upholds intellectual property rights in the face of the Freedom of Information Act (CT FOIA), while the Town of Greenwich decision argues that state data was not subject to the intellectual property exemption in the CT FOIA. Neither case, however, addresses the issue directly.

Public records law (about)

The modern Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-200, was enacted in 1975. Previously, some records had been subject to public inspection by statute as early as 1949. See Harold L. Cross, The People's Right to Know: Legal Access to Public Records and Proceedings, (1953) at 66.

Does the public records law restrict the use of disclosed records?

The language of the Freedom of Information Act does not restrict the subsequent use of records obtained through the Act, and several decisions (FOIC Final Decision FIC2012-726; FOIC Advisory Opinion #10) issued by the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, empowered by Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-205 that addresses alleged violations of the Act, have stated that an intended commercial use of a record is not a valid ground to deny requests.

Specifics and examples (about)

Status Applies to... Based on?
Copyrightable by statute Intellectual property of the Connecticut Innovations Inc. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 32-39(6)
Copyrightable by statute Intellectual property of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 12-806(b)(18)
Copyrightable by statute "official legal publications" created by the Commission on Official Legal Publications Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 51-216a
Copyrightable by statute "inventions, discoveries and literary, artistic, musical or other products of authorship" by the State Board of Education Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 10-4f; A Connecticut attorney general opinion, Conn. Op. Att'y Gen. 10 (1986), sheds light on the relationship between different elements of the state government and what it means for the copyright status of government documents. Of note, the opinion focuses on the affirmative steps the government must take in order to register a copyright. Section 10-4f was enacted in 1984, after the effective date of the 1976 Copyright Act which changed federal copyright from an opt-in system requiring rightsholders to take affirmative steps to secure copyright in their works to a system where no such action was required. That the state focused on affirmative steps after such time as they were no longer necessary may reflect a background assumption that works of the state government are in the public domain unless specified otherwise.

Additional things to consider (about)

Twice in the Connecticut code and once in an state attorney general opinion records are referred to as "property of the state":

The Connecticut Attorney General has the authority to replevin records unlawfully removed from state custody. Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 11-8c.

The Connecticut State Library states that "[a]ll documents, files, photographs and other graphic images are the property of the Connecticut State Library, except where noted."

Where else to go




Attorney General Opinions