[OSGeo-Discuss] The amicus curiae brief in the Orange County, California public records / geo data court case

Dan Putler dan.putler at sauder.ubc.ca
Fri Dec 16 09:08:14 PST 2011

Hi all,

I've been in contact with Bruce Joffe who has been working on an amicus 
curiae ("friend of the court") brief associated with two court decisions 
that have gone in completely opposite directions in California, one 
involving Santa Clara County and the other involving Orange County. The 
legal point is the same in both cases, is GIS data (parcel data in 
particular) data or is it software? If it is data, then it is covered 
under the California Public Records Act, requiring that it be released 
to the public for reproduction costs, if it is software, it isn't 
covered, and is subject to licensing fees. The judge in the Santa Clara 
County case (correctly) determined it was data, while the judge in the 
Orange County case (incorrectly) determined it was software. The case is 
now heading to the California Supreme Court, and Bruce Joffe is rounding 
up potential individuals and organizations to sign on to the amicus 
curiae brief. More details about the situation was posted on the 
Directions Magazine daily newsletter on Wednesday. Here is the link to 
the article:

My main purpose for posting this information to this list is to 
determine if there is some mechanism by which the Open Geospatial 
Foundation can be listed as one of the supporting parties in the amicus 
curiae brief. I don't know if there is a mechanism for approving this, 
but this seems like an issue that we should have a strong interest in.


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