Senate Research Center                                                                                                     H.B. 3563

                                                                                                                         By: Goolsby (Brimer)








As the agency charged with preserving, maintaining, and restoring the State Capitol and the General Land Office Building and their contents and grounds, the State Preservation Board (board) has an extensive collection of photos, videos, and archival records relating to these historic properties.  In order to protect the integrity of these items, the board owns the copyright to them.  Public interest in these items is high, as the board receives over a thousand requests for use of these images and documents annually.


In order to efficiently and cost-effectively fulfill these public demands, in 1991 the board developed a policy to allow the public to purchase copyright-protected images from the collection.  Beginning in 1991, the board came into frequent contact with the Office of the Attorney General (office) regarding this purchasing policy and was always informed that the board was complying with relevant regulations.  The board's most recent request for approval of its pricing policy was in 2003, at which time the office informed the board that Chapter 552 (Public Information), Government Code, did not preclude the board from taking steps to protect its copyright in images requested by the public.  The board was further convinced of its authority to charge a fee for the public's use of its copyright-protected documents and images by the fact that other state agencies such as the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the General Land Office also charge for photographs and documents from their historical collections.  In February 2007, the board was informed by the cost rules administrator in the Open Records Division of the office that persons requesting copyright-protected images can only be charged the nominal fee allowed by the Texas Public Information Act.


H.B. 3563 authorizes the board to charge a fee commensurate to the costs of handling requests for copyright-protected images and documents, as well as preserving the integrity of those items.  These handling costs include working with a photo lab for reproduction of prints, copying files, and packaging items for safe transport.




This bill does not expressly grant any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, institution, or agency.




SECTION 1.  Amends Chapter 443, Government Code, by adding Section 443.0133, as follows:


Sec. 443.0133. FEE FOR USE OF IMAGES AND DOCUMENTS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT.  (a)  Authorizes the State Preservation Board (board) to set and collect a fee for personal or educational use of copies of state archival records and other historical resources protected by copyright owned by the board, including but not limited to photographs and video of the areas under board purview as well as documentation related to the history of buildings and grounds for which the board is responsible.  Requires the fee to be set in amounts designed to cover the cost of creating, reproducing, and dispersing the images and documents requested.  Requires the board to deposit money received under this section to the credit of a separate account in the Capitol fund.


(b)  Provides that this section is not intended to conflict with Chapter 552 (Public Information).


SECTION 2.  Effective date: upon passage or September 1, 2007.