Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
UTA, atheists battle over ads
GRAMA » Group trying to determine if it is being treated differently than others by transit agency.
First Published Jan 26 2012 05:02 pm • Last Updated Jan 27 2012 07:35 pm

Ads on buses and trains are seen by thousands of people a day. But the Utah Transit Authority tried to deny an open-records law request by an atheist group for a copy of all such ads accepted by the agency, arguing that might violate copyright laws.

But when the State Records Committee heard an appeal by the American Humanist Association, the AHA agreed to an offer by UTA to let it view the ads in its offices instead of providing copies. "It’s not like those ads are secret. People see them on buses every day," said William Burgess, attorney for the AHA.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

He said his group wants to see the ads because it questions whether UTA violated its own policies when it denied an ad proposed by the Utah Coalition of Reason that would have said, "Don’t believe in God? You’re not alone," and listed its Web page.

UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter said UTA’s policies require that ads pertain to a commercial transaction, unless the message comes from a government agency. He said the ad did not meet that criteria.

But the AHA said its members have seen ads on UTA buses and trains from churches, so Burgess asked to see all ads accepted by UTA "to see if it has been consistent in its policies, or if it has violated our First Amendment rights."

Carpenter said church ads may have been allowed, as long as they involved some sort of commercial transaction — such as offering a CD or selling some product. He said UTA feels it has been consistent in applying its policies.

About why it initially denied the AHA’s request under the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA), he said, "We don’t own the copyright on those ads. ... There was some question about whether it would violate copyright law."

ldavidson@sltrib.com




Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.