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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.[1] 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




Attorney General Opinions