63 Op. Att'y Gen. 302 (1974)
63 OAG 302 303 304 305

Wisconsin Attorney General Opinions

15 August 1974

Department Of; Public Records;

Department of Administration probably has
authority under Section 19.21(1), (2),
Stats., to provide private corporation
with camera-ready copy which is product
of printout of computer stored public
records if costs are minimal.

State cannot contract on a continuing basis
for the furnishing of this service.

63 OAG 302 303 304 305

Deputy Secretary,
Department of Administration

On behalf of the Wisconsin Council on
Printing, created by Section 15.107(3),
Stats., which has the duty under Section
15.09(5), Stats., to advise the Department
of Administration on state printing matters,
you request my opinion whether the Department
has authority to provide camera-ready copy
of session laws to a private corporation.

You advise that the computer-assisted
composition unit of the State Printing
Section has the ability to accept a variety
of copy inputs and, through an automated text
editing program, produce camera-ready copy.

The material involved is already on the
computer. The Department would use the
same format as would be used for the
production of public documents.

The service to West Publishing Company would
consist solely of a pass-through of material
already on the computer tape to produce
the hard copy on photosensitive paper.

The Department proposes to charge the
corporation the full cost of services
at the same rates charged state
agencies for similar service.

The corporation would use the camera-ready
copy in the production of West's Wisconsin
Legislative Service and would effect a
savings of rekeyboarding and proofreading.

A pass-through would consist of resetting
levers or keys on the machine, so that
the camera-ready "copy" would be in a
format desired by West Publishing
Company, and pressing the button
which activates the machine.

I am advised that the only hard copy
(end product) which the unit produces is
camera-ready "copy" on photosensitive paper.
It will not reproduce material stored on
computer tape on film.

Camera-ready "copy" is text material in a
form which can be photographed and stored on
film which is used in the printing process.

This opinion assumes that the state has
authority to have the computer-assisted
composition unit and that the unit itself
is not used for the purpose of printing of
materials included within Article IV,
Section 25, Wisconsin Constitution.,
which are required to be let by
contract to the lowest bidder.


1910 OAG 777;
1912 OAG 128, 130;
1912 OAG 914;
   6 OAG 54 (1917);
  23 OAG 106 (1934);
  31 OAG 60 (1942);
  32 OAG 95 (1943);

Sholes v. The State (1850),
 2 Pin. 499, 2 Chand. 182;

Democrat Printing Co. v. Zimmerman (1944),
245 Wis. 406,
14 N.W.2d 428.

63 OAG 302 303 304 305

I do not view the constitutional provision or
those opinions or cases as prohibiting the
state from operating a machine which produces
copy ready for a contract printer.

In 59 OAG 145 (1970), it was stated that
Section 16.74, Stats., would permit the sale
of computer programs as surplus provided that
they were not created for resale purposes and
that such programs were public records within
the meaning of Section 19.21(1), Stats., and
could be inspected and copied.

The opinion stated that Section 19.21(2),
Stats., would enable the custodian to copy
and charge reasonable copying costs.

The corporation could receive copies of the
session laws under Section 35.87 or 35.91,

It wants something more. The computer tapes
themselves are public records within the
meaning of Sections 16.80(1)(a) and 19.21(1),
Stats., and are subject to inspection
and copying.

The camera-ready copy the state produces
for its own use or for contract printers
is also a public record, subject to
inspection and copying.

I am informed, however, that camera-ready
copy cannot be copied so as to provide
another camera-ready copy, but that
the computer tape must be run through the
unit again to produce another useable
camera-ready copy on photosensitive paper.

State public funds may be expended
only for a state public purpose.

State ex rel. Larson v. Giessel (1954),
266 Wis. 547,
64 N.W.2d 421.

I do not view Section 16.74, Stats., as
authorizing sale of camera-ready copy
since it cannot, under the circumstances,
be viewed as surplus.

I am of the opinion, however, that under the
rationale of 59 OAG 145 (1970), that Section
19.21(2), Stats., would permit the Department
to furnish a copy of the printout of the
computerized composition unit, and since the
unit will produce nothing else than
camera-ready copy on photosensitive paper,
such copy may be furnished to the private
corporation at reasonable charge if the extra
expense of personnel and material is minimal.

It is my further opinion that the Department
does not have authority to contract on a
continuing basis for the furnishing of
camera-ready copies.

The primary purpose of Section 19.21(1), (2),
Stats., is to enable the public to
discover what is in public records.

63 OAG 302 303 304 305