New information since
A Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law Published by William Francis Galvin Secretary of the Commonwealth Division of Public Records Updated January 2013 can be found at http://www.sec.state.ma.us/pre/prepdf/guide.pdf and page 7 says:
With the exception of situations in which a records custodian is withholding records pursuant to Exemption (n), inquiries into a requester's status or motivation for seeking information are expressly prohibited. 19 Consequently, all requests for public records, even if made for a commercial purpose or to assist the requester in a lawsuit against the holder of the records, must be honored in accordance with the Public Records Law."
19: See G. L. c. 66, § 10(a) (public records are to be provided to “any person”); see also 950 CMR 32.05(5) (custodian prohibited from inquiring into a requester’s status or motivation); but see G. L. c. 4, § 7(26)(n) (a records custodian may ask the requester to voluntarily provide additional information in order to reach a “reasonable judgment” regarding disclosure of responsive records).
This is consistent with and justifies the statement found at http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ARC/arcres/residx.htm: "Records created by Massachusetts government are not copyrighted and are available for public use."
It's reminiscent of both the language and rationale behind the decisions justifying PD-FLGov and PD-CAGov.
The policy page Carl Lindberg linked to in 2010 doesn't exist today. And note that even Florida holds copyright in some content, such as that created by University staff.
- The original link does not exist, but this one does. It gets a bit confusing. They have All of the material posted on the Commonwealth's websites and available to the public without use of an authenticating and authorizing mechanism (such as a "PIN" or password) is public record. Most of the public record posted on Commonwealth Websites can be copied and used for any purpose. For example, all judicial opinions and all laws and regulations are public record. However, some of the public record posted on the Commonwealth's websites is also copyrighted material (for example, regulations based on technical codes developed and copyrighted by private organizations). They explicitly mention laws and judicial opinions; these are not copyrightable by court precedent (and even their last example of what is copyrighted actually may not be, also be court precedent). They don't mention anything that goes beyond that though, and the rights may only be those conferred by public records law, not extending to all rights under copyright law. The very next paragraph says The Commonwealth holds a copyright interest in most of the material posted on Mass.Gov; a small amount of the material is owned by a third party or co-owned by the Commonwealth and a third party. With respect to material in which the Commonwealth holds the copyright, including the design, layout, and other features of Mass.Gov, and most of the content on Mass.Gov, the Commonwealth forbids any copying or use other than "fair use" under the Copyright Act. [...] The only part of this website to which the copyright rules stated above do not apply is on social media pages that receive comment. Content on these pages is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. So despite saying most material is public record they are still claiming a copyright interest. Individual statements on websites are pretty enticing, but it would be best to find an actual policy decision by the state government, or a court ruling, or *something* along those lines. Carl Lindberg (talk) 13:35, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
- Right. Both are policy-ish. They are contradictory. Who knows who wrote the Mass.gov ToU; it's a pretty safe bet that William Francis Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts knows quite a bit about copyright law as it applies to work of Mass. Also, the The Public Records Division claims to be Public Records Law arbiter. The bit you quote about codes at mass.gov is misleading, IMO, as it tells half the story; codes adopted into law are public domain, based on controlling case law I recall, even if the model code remains subject to copyright. --Elvey (talk) 20:25, 18 July 2013 (UTC)