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Re: Rel. of Information - Secondary release (fwd)

  I don't mean to make your lives more complicated, but the law 
  already did that.  Not only do medical and contract laws apply, 
  but also copy rights and ordinary property rights.
  In 1989, the USA signed the Bern convention with regard to copyright
  laws.  Since that date, the author of any work (including documents)
  automatically becomes the copyright owner.  Neither registration
  with the copyright office, nor a copyright notice in the work itself
  is necessary.  All medical records are thus automatically copyrighted
  by default.
  In the context of this thread, the copyright owner is the originator
  of the records.  (Sorry, the patient has no legal equity, even if we
  wished otherwise.)  Hollywood movies on a video cassette and a patient's
  medical record on paper have the same legal status under copyright laws.
  If you receive a copy of records from the copyright owner, you are free
  to use the copy as needed, but without specific permission from the
  copyright owner, you are not permitted to copy it.  Certain fair use
  exceptions apply, none of which are relevant here.
  This implies that you are not allowed to make copies of a medical 
  record, (or a Hollywood movie), for any other  third party for any reason.  
  Not even a subpoena.  You may, comply with a court order or a 
  federal law by turning over your physical copy, or by letting
  them inspect it, but you may not make another copy. 
  What about digital forms of the records soon to be zinging around
  the airways?  How does copyright apply to these?  I have no idea.
  Property right laws may also come into play.  If the doctor dies, the 
  copy rights, and the property rights of the physical records go to the 
  heirs who may sell  them just like any other property.  Since neither 
  the heirs nor the ultimate buyers need be health care providers or 
  trustees, I presume that they are unencumbered by any confidentiality 
  laws.  Medical records are just like office furniture in this case; 
  just ordinary property.
  I hasten to add that I'm not a lawyer. For actual legal advice you 
  should consult your own attorney.  You may also with to consult the
  "Copyright Myths FAQ: 10 big myths about copyright explained",
  Chicago-Kent College of Law
  Dick Mills +1(518)395-5154    O-       http://www.pti-us.com
  AKA dmills@albany.net          http://www.albany.net/~dmills 
  "Whenever people agree with me, I always feel I must be wrong." - Wilde