1. Would disclosing copies of the relevant matter infringe the copyright of a person other than the State?
A claim of copyright cannot defeat the general right of access to any information contained in a particular document because a copyright infringement is not a ground of exemption under the FOI Act.2 Rather, if disclosing documents by way of creating copies of the relevant matter would involve an infringement of the copyright of a person other than the State, then access must be given in another form. Generally, access would be given by way of inspection.3
If the applicant is given access to a document in a different form than that requested, the applicant must not be required to pay a higher charge than would have been payable for access in the requested form.4
Section 101C(1)(f) of the FOI Act operates to remove the Information Commissioner's jurisdiction where disclosing relevant matter in the form requested by the applicant would amount to an infringement of the copyright of a person other than the State.
2Higgins and Education Queensland (Unreported, Queensland Information Commissioner, 31 March 1999) at paragraph 32.
3 Higgins and Education Queensland (Unreported, Queensland Information Commissioner, 31 March 1999) at paragraph 33.
4 Section 30(4) of the FOI Act.
Last updated: March 1, 2012