RTKNH Group Wins Loeb Award

We are proud to learn that the RTKNH group will be receiving the Nackey S. Loeb First Amendment Award.

The award will be presented to the group on October 5, 2017 at the Palace Theater in Manchester, NH.

For years, groups such as Coalition of NH Taxpayers and NH Teaparty Coalition have known that RSA 91-A, NH’s law protecting the publics’ right to know about what goes on inside the government, is the ‘sharpest tool in the box’.

But at times it’s been hard-fought battle. Case in point is a ‘working group’ on Agenda 21 and regionalism in NH. On advice from a Republican lawyer, one of NH’s regional planning commissions tried to claim (falsely) that the use of documents they generated with taxpayer dollars, were copyright protected. Further, they claimed that those documents were ‘altered’ simply because a yellow highlighter had been used to call attention to important paragraphs within!

They also claimed, under the guise of being a commercial entity (which is against NH law) that their logo was not allowed to be used, when there is no such protection. Using logos from government programs for identification purposes when discussing and / or critiquing those taxpayer-funded programs is considered ‘fair use’. Planning commissions are NOT commercial entities which copyright laws are actually intended to protect, so that no money can be made from reprinting or using their materials. RPCs are NOT commercial entities.

Most hosting companies do not want to get involved in copyright disputes and will take the website in question down after receiving a complaint such as the one that the planning commission filed on the above-mentioned working group. Before they will restore the hosting account, they will ask for some sort of court order stating that you are free to use these items on your website. In order to obtain this court order, it is of course necessary to go to court. The planners in this case were invited to appear in court to prove their claims, but backed down, likely because they knew those claims were bogus, and in fact, in violation of the law that states they cannot pose as a commercial entity. Thus the working group prevailed and the website was restored, a win for the ‘right to know’.

No government agency can claim copyright to program items generated with your tax dollars.

Visit Right to Know NH here: http://righttoknownh.com/

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