Copyright law, case I OSK 1975/10

June 13th, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Minister of Infrastructure did not respond to the request of a Polish company for disclosure of public information in the form of directory of multiple choice questions for the initial qualification tests for categories C1, C1 + E, C, C + E of driving license. The company filed a complaint of failure to act. The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its order of 25 August 2010 case file II SAB/Wa 150/10 dismissed the complaint. The Company decided to file a cassation complaint.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its order of 21 December 2010 case file I OSK 1975/10 dismissed it. The Court supported the view, in which an official document was correctly distinguished from an official documentary material. While the official document will be public information, the documentary material will not has such status, because it lacks formality/officiality features (it was not used by the official body in a given case and it was not directed outside that body). The court held that a set of questions would be used to carry out undefined tests, therefore, such questions are undoubtedly abstract in nature and do not constitute an official document. In this case, the company had not requested the disclosure of a particular form of the test – a set of questions used in a particular exam, and the subject of the request was entire collection of materials (a series of questions). In the opinion of the court such materials do not constitute public information under the Article 1(1) of the Polish Act of 6 September 2001 on access to public information – API – (in Polish: Ustawa o dostępie do informacji publicznej), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 112, item 1198, with subsequent amendments.

Article 1.1 Each information on public matters constitutes public information in the understanding of the Act and is subject to being made available on the basis of principles and under the provisions defined in this Act.
2. The provisions of the Act shall not breach the provisions of other acts defining different principles and the mode of access to the information being public information.

The Court noted that only when these questions are used in a particular case, i.e. they are arranged, and used in a specific set of questions designed to check the level of knowledge of applicants for categories C1, C1 + E, C, C + E, they lose their abstract characteristic and become public information, however, such situation did not occur in this case.

See also “Polish regulations on copyright” and “Polish case law on copyright“.