News & Resources

Something Tells Me It’s All Happening at the Zoo… Private Institutions and Public Funding

When you mix private institutions and public funding, the question often arises: At what point does a private company become subject to public records law? We’ve asked this question before. Now we see another example playing out in Ohio. A construction company filed a public records lawsuit against the Columbus Zoo. The two entities recently settled the dispute out of court. The construction company had requested records after its no-bid contract with the zoo came […]

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News Station Sues to Expose Local Agency Public Records Neglect in New Orleans

Sometimes news organizations are digging for public records to aid in a larger exposé that can affect people’s lives in a very material way – like compensation for medical or repair expenses. In New Orleans, the news station Fox 8 has filed suit against the city Sewerage & Water Board for public records neglect over records pertaining to personal injury and property damage settlements and judgments. The judgments and settlements have been reached for accidents […]

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Does a Public University Need a Protective Order?

Colleges and universities that receive public funds are subject to open records law. Are there any limits? At Oklahoma University, NonDoc Media and their editor-in-chief, Tres Savage, have been engaged in a struggle with OU’s petition for a protective order. The goal of the protective order: To keep certain documents from an investigation unpublished – and out of the public eye. The investigation deals with sexual harassment allegations from 2019 against a former OU coach […]

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Did PETA Public Records Suit Misreport OSHU’s Behavior or Hold them Accountable?

Does a public records suit always conform to a good guy vs. bad guy narrative? Is the requester always the hero, and the public entity is always the villain? Of course, it’s not that black and white.  Public records laws were created to support government transparency and enshrine noble causes of democracy. But the flip side of that is: many government institution records are open to the public, to be requested, received, seen, and used […]

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Private Donations to Public Universities = Public Records?

There have been numerous cases lately regarding what records should be considered public versus private when public officials or funds are involved. Here’s an interesting corner of that larger question: have you ever wondered if large private donations to public schools fall under the scrutiny of public records? In Michigan, the Detroit Free Press has been confronting a records denial from Michigan State University for two large donor agreements – contracts which MSU has withheld, […]

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DMCA Abuse & How Anonymity Protects Free Expression

Have you ever been served a DMCA Takedown Notice? This legal tool was created by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998 to protect intellectual property on the internet. But decades down the road, we’ve seen that some internet users experience DMCA abuse – tactics that chill speech or uncover anonymous speech, which is protected by the first amendment. One notable case came up against the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, a Jehovah’s Witness group.  […]

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