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Issue Brief: Using Fair Use to Preserve and Share Disappearing Government Information

Access to government information is a fundamental principle in a democratic society. Particularly in the digital environment, government information is a driver for economic and social progress as well as a predicate for an informed citizenry.1 From 2009 through 2016, open government was a hallmark of the Obama administration, which observed that, “openness in government strengthens our democracy, promotes the delivery of efficient and effective services to the public, and contributes to economic growth.”2



1. See e.g. American Library Association’s Government Information, available at: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/govinfo (“No-fee public access to government information is the foundation of an informed citizenry.”).

2. See Exec. Order No. 13642, 78 FR 28111, May 14, 2013, Making Open and Machine Readable the New Default for Government Information, available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2013/05/14/2013-11533/making-open-and-machine-readable-the-new-default-for-government-information.

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