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WI Ct of App Rules That PDF No Substitute For Database Access Under Open Access Law

TVC Alert reports:

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals last week ruled that in accordance with the state's open access law, PDF copies of information in a database do not substitute for access to the database. Therefore, the municipalities violated public records law when they denied plaintiff access to the information in the format it which it was available to the municipalities.

More from Electronic Discovery Law, a blog from K&L Gates:

In this open records case, WIREdata, Inc. had filed open records requests with three municipalities seeking property assessment records in the format created and maintained by the municipalities' independent contractor assessors in a computer database.

The court held that the open records law allowed WIREdata the opportunity to access that database in order to examine and copy the property assessment records, and that the municipalities committed open records law violations when they denied WIREdata such access and instead provided it with a "PDF," or portable document file.

Case: WIREdata, Inc. v. Village of Sussex (Wis. Ct. App. Jan. 3, 2007)