20 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 441 (1992-1993)
Copyright and State Government: An Analysis of Section 119.083, Florida's Software Copyright Provision

handle is hein.journals/flsulr20 and id is 453 raw text is: COPYRIGHT AND STATE GOVERNMENT: AN ANALYSIS
OF SECTION 119.083, FLORIDA'S SOFTWARE
COPYRIGHT PROVISION*
BARBARA A. PETERSEN**
I. INTRODUCTION
The Florida Legislature amended the Public Records Law' in 1990
to allow state and local agencies to copyright data processing software
developed by an agency for its own use.2 In Florida the authority to
copyright internally-developed materials, including agency-developed
software programs, must be expressly granted to [an] agency.3 Be-
fore the enactment of this new copyright provision, only a very small
number of public agencies had such authority.4 Section 119.083, Flor-
ida Statutes, however, allows any agency to hold copyrights for data
processing software created by the agency and to enforce its rights
pertaining to such copyrights.' For the purposes of this section, an
agency is broadly defined as any state, county, district, authority,
or municipal officer, department, division, board, bureau, commis-
sion, or other separate unit of government created or established by
law ... .'6
The impetus for this broad grant of statutory authority came from
[clertain local governments and local government organizations
© 1992 by Barbara A. Petersen. All rights reserved.
*   Staff Attorney, Florida Joint Legislative Information Technology Resource Committee;
B.G.S., 1979, University of Missouri; J.D., 1991, Florida State University. The author gratefully
acknowledges the research assistance of David Noll, former intern with the Joint Legislative
Information Technology Resource Committee. She is also grateful to David Bralow, an associate
with the law firm of Holland & Knight, for his assistance.
1. FLA. STAT. ch. 119 (1991).
2. Ch. 90-237, 1990 Fla. Laws 1769 (codified at FLA. STAT. § 119.083 (1991)).
3. OFFICE OF THE Arr'y GEN., FLORIDA'S GOVERNMENT-IN-THE-SUNSHINE AND PUBLIC RE-
CORDS LAW MANUAL 70 (1990). Before enactment of § 119.083, it was not clear whether local
governments had the authority to copyright internally-created software. See, e.g., Staff of Fla.
H.R. Comm. on Govtl. Ops., HB 2225 (1990) Staff Analysis 3 (Apr. 4, 1990) (on file with
comm.) [hereinafter HB 2225 Staff Analysis].
4. See STAFF OF FLA. JT. LEcis. INFO. TEcH'Y RESOURCE COMM., FLORIDA'S INFORMATION
POLICY: PROBLEMS AND ISSUES IN THE INFORMATION AGE 84 (1989) (on file with comm.) [herein-
after PROBLEMS AND Issuas].
5. FLA. STAT. § 119.083(2) (1991) (emphasis added).
6. Id. §§ 119.011(2), .083(l)(a) (.'Agency' has the same meaning as in s. 119.011(2). .
(1991).

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