Pictometry International Corp., a leader in geo-referenced aerial image capture and visual-centric data analytics, recently prevailed in a precedent-setting unanimous decision issued by the Connecticut Supreme Court addressing the interaction of federal copyright protection, trade secrets, and the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act. See Pictometry International Corporation v. Freedom of Information Commission, 307 Conn. 648, ___ A2d ___, 2012 Conn. LEXIS 5 (2013). The case has ramifications for all copyright holders licensing intellectual property to government agencies.
This case is the first in the nation to examine the interplay between a citizen’s right to copy or obtain a copy of public records and the limitations placed upon such rights by federal copyright law. Issues of first impression include: (1) whether Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is preempted by the Copyright Act to the extent that FOIA permits the copying and distribution of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright owner, and (2) even if preemption applies, whether the “fair use” doctrine may be used to override the copyright owner’s rights under the Copyright act and to permit the copying and distribution of copyrighted materials without the permission of the copyright owner.