CEO 75-146 -- July 9, 1975
DOES NOT INCLUDE PUBLICATION OF ACADEMIC OR ARTISTIC WORKS
To: (Name withheld at the person's request.)
Prepared by: Bonnie Johnson
Where a university faculty member receives income from royalties on plays and textbooks he has written, he is not a public officer subject to disclosure pursuant to s. 112.312(7)(h), F. S. (1974 Supp.), for such activity is not deemed to constitute "consultation." Within the context of the Code of Ethics, consultation is best construed as the imparting of professional expertise for the purpose of furthering a particular business, private, or professional end of another. The writer of creative books and textbooks composes primarily from his own interests and for his own benefit rather than for the purpose of furthering another's ends. He therefore is not deemed to be engaged in consulting and consequently is not a public officer subject to financial disclosure.
Am I, as a state university faculty member who receives income from royalties on plays and textbooks I have written, a public officer as defined in the Code of Ethics and thus subject to financial disclosure requirements?
Your question is answered in the negative.
Public officers are defined in s. 112.312(7)(h), F. S. (1974 Supp.), to include:
All full time state employees who, in addition to their regular duties, accept compensation for consultations with other state agencies or with other government or private entities. (Emphasis supplied.)
The question presented is whether you, as a full-time state employee, are "consulting" when you sell plays or textbooks you have written.
Enclosed please find a copy of a previous opinion of this commission, CEO 75-141, question 2 of which addresses the issue of the publication of textbooks. We are of the opinion that the response to that question may be extended to cover original artistic works such as the plays you have authored.
In that opinion we determined that "consultation" is best construed, within the context of the Code of Ethics, as "the imparting of professional expertise for the purpose of furthering a particular business, private, or professional end of another." Within the context of your inquiry, writing which is directed toward the furtherance of another's end would constitute consultation. Where the writing is original and arises from one's own personal or professional goals, however, any advantage to the publisher is secondary to that gained by the author of the material.
The writer of creative books and textbooks composes primarily from his own interests and for his own benefit and for the benefit of those readers who would profit intellectually from such work. Any subsequent contract for publication of one's original work is incidental to the principal objective of writing on one's own behalf as opposed to contributing one's writing skills for the furtherance of another's end.
We are therefore of the opinion that the sale of plays and textbooks does not qualify as consultation within the meaning of s. 112.312(7)(h), supra. It follows that you are not deemed to be a public officer and thus are not subject to financial disclosure requirements on the basis of your receipt of royalties from published textbooks and plays.