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What is the law?

Binding, on-point law (about)


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Public records law (about)

Iowa enacted their first public records statute in 1851. See Iowa Code Ann. § 622.46. The current Iowa Open Records law was passed in 1967, and can be found at Iowa Code Ann. § 22.1 et seq. The statement of purpose in the Iowa Open Records Law is one of the most explicit in terms of subsequent use of requested records, including the right to "publish or otherwise disseminate" public records. Iowa Code Ann. § 22.2.

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

Ordinarily, records custodians do not consider the intended use of the record, however when disclosure is contested the requestor's purpose may be factored into a balancing test to determine if disclosure of the record is permissible. See Clymer v. City of Cedar Rapids, 601 N.W.2d 42, 45 (Iowa 1999). The Iowa Attorney General has said that "[w]hether or not the data obtained from your records is to be used for commercial purposes is immaterial," 1982 Iowa Op. Att'y Gen. 76 (1981) quoting 968 Op. Atty. Gen. 518, 520, Opinion No. S68-1-10; however, the law also provides for the market value of data to be taken into account when determining copying fees for commercial use of software records, Iowa Code Ann. § 22.3A(2)(b).

Specifics and examples (about)

Status Applies to... Based on?
Copyrightable by statute "[D]ata processing software developed by [a] government body" Iowa Code Ann. § 22.3A(3)
Copyrightable by statute Intellectual property owned by the Iowa Lottery Authority Iowa Code Ann. § 99G.21(2)(d)
Copyrightable by statute Materials created by the Historical Division during the commemoration of the sesquicentennial of Iowa's involvement in the American civil war Iowa Code Ann. § 303.19(4)(b)
Copyrightable by statute Intellectual property owned by the Economic Development Authority Iowa Code Ann. § 15.106A(1)(l)
Copyrightable by statute Intellectual property owned by the Iowa Finance Authority Iowa Code Ann. § 16.5(1)(q)
Partially copyrightable by state Attorney General Opinion The text of the state law cannot be copyrighted, but an annotated compilation of the code may be. 1897 Iowa Op. Att'y Gen. (Mar. 5, 1897)

Additional things to consider (about)

Public records are considered "property of the state" under Iowa Code Ann. § 305.13, and may not be transferred out of state custody.

The State Historical Society of Iowa copyright notice says that "Any other use [other than Fair Use], including but not limited to commercial or scholarly reproductions, redistribution, publication or transmission, whether by electronic means or otherwise, without prior written permission of the State Historical Society of Iowa is strictly prohibited." Copyright Notice for State Historical Society of Iowa Website.

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Attorney General Opinions