Twin Evils: Government Copyright and Copyright-like Controls Over Government Information
SYRACUSE UNIV NY
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The policy of the United States against government copyright is clearly stated in the Copyright Act of 1976. Other statutes, most notably the Freedom of Information Act, support public access to government information and should limit the ability of federal agencies to restrict or regulate public use of agency data. Regulatory policies, such as OMB Circular A-130, also direct agencies to share information resources with the public. Nevertheless, several factors work together to allow agencies to deny public access to or effective use of uncopyrighted government information, restrict use of that information, or charge royalties. The result can be the effective imposition of copyright-like controls that restrict government information despite the Copyright Acts prohibition against government copyright and the FOIAs support for public availability of government information. This article has attempted to show that the exercise of control by government over public information generated or compiled by government can have political, economic, and bureaucratic effects that are inconsistent with existing statutory policies supporting openness in government.
- Government and Political Science
- Information Science
- Sociology and Law