n.the authority, under the law, to determine the accessibility, use, and disposition of recordsNorton 1945, 6Most officials fail to take a long-range view of their records and are interested only in preserving those records which would prove their financial honesty in case of an investigation of their department. Some legal control over the creation and disposal of records must be applied.Dowling 1975a, 254Scholars and institutions who donate a copy of their data sets also must be willing to give the archives legal control in dissemination of the materials, subject to prior agreement on restrictions.Cook 1975, 316Justice Department lawyers argued in a civil suit seeking an injunction against carrying out the terms of the agreement that the arrangement was not “self-executing.” That is, until the government physically turned over the records, Nixon would not gain legal control.Anderson 1980, 177Lack of Legal Control ¶ The third problem area in accessioning case records is the state archives’ lack of legal authority over inactive case records. The difficulties involved stem from the absence of statutory provisions for closed welfare records.Neirinck 1990, 142The Direction des Archives de France has retained legal control over the departmental archives in scientific and technical matters, which were recently specified by decree #88-849 of 22 July 1988.Bastian 2002, 89The proponents of distributed custody, initially led by American David Bearman, supported abandoning physical in favour of intellectual and legal control of archives. Records were to remain in the originating office. The legal responsibility and accountability for them is divided between the originating office and the archives. In the distributed custody model, the archives fulfills its responsibility for legal custody by auditing the records and records-keepers. At the same time, it recognizes the needs of the user.Montgomery 2003, 121Nevertheless, the Bush-Wilson agreement constituted a bold attempt to give former president Bush exclusive legal control of all presidential information on the backup tapes and hard drives. Second, although the agreement granted former president Bush exclusive legal control of the materials, the PRA [Presidential Records Act] mandates that the U.S. archivist assume custody of the presidential records and make them publicly available as “rapidly and completely as possible consistent with the provisions of the Act.”
Legal control of records can be maintained, shared, or claimed, by an entity that does not have physical custody of them.