California Supreme Court sides with public on cost-of-records case

From Central Valley Business Times:  Orange County’s attempt to get more money from people trying to access its database of information about land parcels is contrary to the law, the California Supreme Court says.

Using the proper software, a person could access what the county calls its “OC Landbase,” and create a layered digital map containing information for over 640,000 specific parcels of land in Orange County, including geographic boundaries, assessor parcel numbers, street addresses, and links to additional information on the parcel owners.

“We hold that although GIS mapping software falls within the ambit of … statutory exclusion, a GIS-formatted database like the OC Landbase does not. Accordingly, such databases are public records that, unless otherwise exempt, must be produced upon request at the actual cost of duplication,” says the opinion.

Also see this from the Los Angeles Times.