Can you republish public records (public property tax records in particular) or are they copyrighted by the government?

Asked about 2 years ago - West New York, NJ

These property tax records are obtained from government sources (websites, database searches). I would like to organize them in a directory and offer better search. I plan to go get as much data as I can and publish them for as many states in the united states as possible.

The service would be free of charge and the information would be available through internal search and via google search. Thank you.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Michael T Millar

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Government records are, generally, not copyrighted.

    If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education... more
  2. Pamela Koslyn

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . With a few exceptions, the U.S. government doesn't have IP rights, so this data is available to anyone. And as you can see from a casual internet search, lots of companies have made businesses out of publicly available data, such as manta, and even this one, which gets lawyers and doctors' state licensing information to create profiles and encourages this Q&A interaction.

    You do need to be mindful of a few things, such as misrepresenting that your directory is from the government, or from some other source, which could create trademark disputes, and such as using obsolete or inaccurate information, which would require the use of disclaimers and statements about no warranties being offered, etc.

    You also have the task of choosing a viable and available trademarkable name and domain name for this service, which again raises trademark issues. As with launching any new business, your safest bet is to consult a lawyer before launch.

    Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to... more
  3. Konrad V. Sherinian

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . With few exceptions, most U.S. Government and State records are freely available for use.

    This answer is not a substitute for professional legal advice. This answer does not create an attorney-client... more

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