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What is the law?

Binding, on-point law (about)

The Utah public records law, the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA), specifically authorizes government entities to hold copyrights and specifies that GRAMA does not abrogate them: "(10)(a) A governmental entity that owns an intellectual property right and that offers the intellectual property right for sale or license may control by ordinance or policy the duplication and distribution of the material based on terms the governmental entity considers to be in the public interest. (b) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit or impair the rights or protections granted to the governmental entity under federal copyright or patent law as a result of its ownership of the intellectual property right." Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-201. Records which are copyrighted by the state are exempted from the public records law. Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-305(36).

Advisory sources (about)


Public records law (about)

Utah has had a public records statute as early as 1945. See Harold L. Cross, The People's Right to Know: Legal Access to Public Records and Proceedings, (1953), at 347. The current public records law, the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA), may be found at Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-101.

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

The use of records obtained under GRAMA may be restricted by judicial discretion for some protected records. Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-404(8)(b). Additionally, the statute exempts records "the disclosure of which could cause commercial injury to, or confer a competitive advantage upon a potential or actual competitor of, a commercial project entity." Utah Code Ann § 63G-2-305(4). GRAMA excludes third-party copyrighted material from public records disclosure. Utah Code Ann. § 63G-2-103(22)(b)(iv).

Specifics and examples (about)

Status Applies to... Based on?
Copyrightable by statute Intellectual property of the Utah Educational Savings Plan Utah Code Ann. § 53B-8a-103
Licensable by administrative rule "Copyrightable materials" "produced or provided or both" by the Utah State board of Education for a local education agency Utah Admin. Code r. R277-115

Additional things to consider (about)

Several places in the Utah code refer to records as "property of the state": Utah Code Ann. § 63A-12-105 ("All records created or maintained by a state governmental entity are the property of the state"); Utah Code Ann. § 73-2-11 ("full and proper records of [the state engineer's] work, including all field notes, computations and facts made or collected by him, all of which shall be part of the records of his office and the property of the state"); Utah Code Ann. § 61-2g-315 ("A license, certification, or registration document is the property of the state"). If, however, a government entity receives a GRAMA-compliant electronic copy of a document, then the original hard copy "may not be considered property of the state." Utah Code Ann. § 13-1a-6. Utah penalizes the unauthorized removal of records. Utah Code Ann. § 63A-12-105.

Where else to go



Administrative Rules