One Expensive CD

And I’m not talking about music. The Cuyahoga County Recorder’s office is charging six figures for CDs that contain collections of deeds and mortgages. Why? That office is taking the position that an Ohio statute that allows a $2.00 per page photocopy charge applies when the clerk makes an electronic copy of a CD. Since the CD has thousands of deeds and mortgages on it, that $2.00 per page adds up really quickly. There’s an Ohio Supreme Court case challenging the practice (which is unique in Ohio – other counties have not adopted that interpretation). And even though the case involves pretty mundane sounding information, I was asked to file a friend of the court brief on behalf of the Ohio Newspaper Association. Here’s a short piece about it. The newspapers are legitimately concerned because journalists increasingly rely on databases for investigative journalism. The ability to review and analyze large volumes of data is really critical to the process. But that process is not viable when the data base costs more than Newt Gingrich’s Tiffany account. Take a look at our argument and let me know what you think.