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Court: PR firm not entitled to free accident data

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A state appeals court says a public-relations firm doesn’t have the right to have free access to the state Department of Transportation’s accident database.

The DOT releases accident reports through its website for $6 areport, through written requests and through a subscription service that costs $250 a week. Media Placement Services argues DOT should grant free access to the agency’s accident database.

The 1st District Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Wisconsin’s open-records law and other statutes allow DOT to charge access fees and case law has held that the right to access records doesn’t extend to databases. The court said Media Placement Services, like any member of the public, has other ways to access the data.

The firm’s attorney, Robert Pledl, had no immediate comment.

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