|Office of the Attorney General - State of Texas
September 7, 1999
Mr. Ruben Montemayor
Dear Mr. Montemayor:
You ask whether certain information is subject to required public disclosure under the Public Information Act, chapter 552 of the Government Code. Your request was assigned ID# 127169.
The City of San Antonio (the "city") received a request for documents submitted by Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. ("Kimley-Horn") for the Airport Planning Services Integration of Expansion Plan for the San Antonio International Airport. You state that the responsive documents, Kimley-Horn's Statement of Qualifications, may be protected from disclosure under section 552.110 of the Government Code. Gov't Code §§ 552.007, .305. You raise no exception to disclosure on behalf of the city, and make no arguments regarding the proprietary nature of the submitted information.
Since the property and privacy rights of a third party may be implicated by the release of the requested information, this office notified Kimley-Horn of the request for information. See Gov't Code § 552.305 (permitting interested third party to submit to attorney general reasons why requested information should not be released); Open Records Decision No. 542 (1990) (determining that statutory predecessor to Gov't Code § 552.305 permits governmental body to rely on interested third party to raise and explain applicability of exception in Public Information Act in certain circumstances). Kimley-Horn did not respond to our notice; therefore, we cannot conclude that the Statement of Qualifications is excepted from disclosure under section 552.110 of the Government Code. See Open Records Decision Nos. 639 at 4 (1996) (to prevent disclosure of commercial or financial information, party must show by specific factual or evidentiary material, not conclusory or generalized allegations, that it actually faces competition and that substantial competitive injury would likely result from disclosure), 552 at 5 (1990) (party must establish prima facie case that information is trade secret), 542 at 3 (1990).
Kimley-Horn did, however, submit a letter to the city stating that its Statement of Qualifications is protected by federal copyright law. We note that a custodian of public records must comply with the copyright law and is not required to furnish copies of records that are copyrighted. Attorney General Opinion JM-672 (1987). A governmental body must allow inspection of copyrighted materials unless an exception applies to the information. Id. If a member of the public wishes to make copies of copyrighted materials, the person must do so unassisted by the governmental body. In making copies, the member of the public assumes the duty of compliance with the copyright law and the risk of a copyright infringement suit. See Open Records Decision No. 550 (1990). Neither the city nor Kimley-Horn has established that the submitted Statement of Qualifications is excepted from disclosure; therefore, the city must allow inspection of these documents.
We are resolving this matter with an informal letter ruling rather than with a published open records decision. This ruling is limited to the particular records at issue under the facts presented to us in this request and should not be relied on as a previous determination regarding any other records. If you have any questions regarding this ruling, please contact our office.
June B. Harden
Ref: ID# 127169
Encl. Submitted documents
cc: Mr. Cyd Brandvein
Mr. Richard Cook
POST OFFICE BOX 12548, AUSTIN, TEXAS 78711-2548 TEL: (512) 463-2100 WEB: WWW.OAG.STATE.TX.US