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South Carolina

What is the law?

Binding, on-point law (about)

South Carolina is the most recent state to hear a case on the copyright status of state government documents. In Seago v. Horry Cnty., 378 S.C. 414, 423, 663 S.E.2d 38, 43 (2008), a South Carolina court decided to follow the lead of New York, and held that the County in the case could hold a copyright in their mapping data, and that they could require licensing for subsequent commercial use of the maps if requested under the state Freedom of Information Act.

Advisory sources (about)


Public records law (about)

The South Carolina Freedom of Information Act was first adopted in 1974 and may be found at S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-10.

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

A records request for motor vehicle records requires the requestor to state the purpose of the request. S.C. Code Ann. § 56-3-510. Additionally, several statutes prohibit the use of records for commercial solicitation. See S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-40(a)(2) (names and telephone numbers of handicapped persons); S.C. Code Ann. § 30-4-50(B); S.C. Code Ann. § 30-2-50. Furthermore, the court in Seago v. Horry County determined that licensing restrictions were appropriate for the subsequent use of county records.

Specifics and examples (about)

Status Applies to... Based on?
Copyrightable by statute Intellectual property of the South Carolina Lottery Commission S.C. Code Ann. § 59-150-60
Copyrightable by statute Intellectual property of the Division of State Development S.C. Code Ann. § 13-1-350

Additional things to consider (about)

The South Carolina State Library says that, "Records, documents and information made available by the agencies of South Carolina state government or its subdivisions are the property of the people of the state of South Carolina. Therefore, the South Carolina State Library considers these items to be in the public domain according to US copyright law (see Title 17, U.S.C.)."

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