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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 13: Legal notices required to be published in newspapers; electronic publication

Section 13. (a) As used in this section, ''statewide website'' shall mean a website established and maintained as a repository for legal notices and operated as a cooperative effort of a majority of Massachusetts newspapers that distribute newspapers to subscribers residing in the commonwealth.

(b) If a person, corporation, state agency, including its political subdivisions, a state authority, including its political subdivisions, municipality, including its political subdivisions, or other legal entity is required by a statute, ordinance, by-law or judicial order to publish a legal notice in a newspaper or newspaper of general circulation, the person, corporation, agency, authority, municipality or other legal entity shall publish said notice in a newspaper which shall ensure that the legal notice appears in: (i) a newspaper's print publication; (ii) on the newspaper's website; and (iii) on a statewide website that may be maintained as a repository for such notices; provided, however, that if a newspaper does not maintain its own website, publication on a statewide website and reference to the statewide website in the print publication notice shall satisfy the requirement of publication on the newspaper's website.

(c) When publishing legal notices on a newspaper's website or a statewide website, the operator of the website shall:

(i) ensure access by the public to the website at all times, other than during website maintenance or due to causes beyond the operator's control;

(ii) make the full text of legal notices available in a searchable format for the period of time that the legal notice is required to be posted;

(iii) ensure that the website substantially complies with the accessibility standards of section 508 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended and codified at 29 U.S.C. section 794d;

(iv) provide access to view legal notices on the website, and to perform searches for legal notices on such websites, for no fee; provided, that operators of newspaper websites may charge a fee for enhanced search and customized content delivery features;

(v) maintain an archive of legal notices that are no longer displayed on the website for at least 90 days; and

(vi) charge no additional fee for publication on a website in excess of the fee for publishing the legal notice in the print newspaper.

(d) An error in a legal notice published on a newspaper's website or the statewide website that is the result of (i) an error of the website operator; or (ii) a temporary website outage or service interruption that prevents the publication or display of a legal notice on the website shall not constitute a defect in publication of the legal notice; provided, however, that the legal notice appears correctly in the newspaper's print publication and satisfies all other legal notice requirements.