Saturday, January 19, 2019
 

Government Owns Copyright of Public Documents


Although mostly known for college football, West Virginia brings us a case of major First Amendment and intellectual property import, which if upheld may find its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, the Kanawha County Tax Assessor asked the West Virginia Circuit Court of Kanawha County to force Seneca Technologies to remove maps Seneca Technologies had posted on its website. These maps are the complete county property tax maps for the state of West Virginia. Seneca had paid to obtain these maps from the West Virginia State Department of Tax and Revenue after Seneca won a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. Seneca is providing these maps on its website free of charge instead of the $8 per map that all West Virginia tax assessors charge.

The County Tax assessor claims that Seneca is posting copyrighted material. Seneca counters by arguing that the maps “convey only facts and not ideas or expressions.” Buttressing this argument, Seneca argues that the Tax Assessor’s attempt to bar the internet posting of these public documents is an unconstitutional prior restraint of free speech.

Arguing for Seneca on February 8th is Public Citizen.

 

Comments

No comments so far.
  • Leave a Reply
     
    Your gravatar
    Your Name
     
     
     

     
     
 
Legal

Clancco, Clancco: The Source for Art & Law, Clancco.com, and Art & Law are trademarks owned by Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento. The views expressed on this site are those of Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento and of the artists and writers who submit to Clancco.com. They are not the views of any other organization, legal or otherwise. All content contained on or made available through Clancco.com is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed, nor is anything submitted to Clancco.com treated as confidential.

Website Terms of Use, Privacy, and Applicable Law.
 

Switch to our mobile site