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What is the law?

Binding, on-point law (about)


Advisory sources (about)


Hawaii law does not address the copyright status of government documents directly; however, several statutes contain language which seems to assume that government documents can be copyrighted. For instance, Haw. Rev. Stat. § 206M-34 refers to "the existing authority of state agencies to license or copyright software products," and Haw. Rev. Stat. § 103D-1201 includes copyrights in the definition of "property" that may be owned by the state.

Public records law (about)

Hawaii first passed a public records law in 1975 and significantly revised it with the Uniform Information Practices Act in 1988, found at Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F. Hawaii also includes a right of access specifically for sex offender information in the state constitution at Haw. Const. art. I, § 24.

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

According to a guidance document published by Hawaii's Office of Information Practices, "the purpose of the request should not have any bearing on the agency's decision to disclose or withhold the record." The state may, however, "charge for value added electronic services," Haw. Rev. Stat. § 27G-2, which the Office of Information Practices interprets to authorize additional costs for commercial use of data provided electronically.

A Hawaii Attorney General opinion, 1990 WL 482368 (Hawaii A.G. June 12, 1990), recommends individualized consultation with government counsel before copying third-party copyrighted materials under the Uniform Information Practices Act.

Specifics and examples (about)

Status Applies to... Based on?
Copyrightable by statute Software products Haw. Rev. Stat. § 206M-34
Copyright asserted by department Publications of the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism e.g. The State of Hawaii Data Book 2000
Copyright asserted by county Content of the Maui County, HI website

Additional things to consider (about)

Hawaii does not restrict public records requests to state citizens, requiring disclosure "upon request by any person." Haw. Rev. Stat. § 92F-11.

Where else to go



Attorney General Opinions