10 CFR 1303.111 - Requirements for waiver or reduction of fees.
(a) Records shall be furnished without charge or at a reduced charge if the Board determined that:
(1) Disclosure is in the public interest and the information is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the activities of the government; and
(2) Disclosure is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requestor.
(b) In determining whether the first requirement is met, the Board shall consider:
(1) Subject: Do the requested records concern identifiable activities of the federal government?
(2) Informative value: Will the disclosure contribute to an understanding of government activities? Do records contain information on activities “likely to contribute” to an increased public understanding? If the information or similar information is already in the public domain, the record(s) would not increase the public's understanding.
(3) Would the disclosure contribute to the understanding of a reasonably broad audience, as opposed to the individual understanding of the requestor? A requestor's expertise in the subject and intention to convey information to the public shall be considered. Being a valid representative of the news media shall satisfy this consideration.
(4) Is the disclosure likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of government activities? The level of understanding after the disclosure versus that before the disclosure must be enhanced to a significant extent. However, the Board shall not make value judgments about whether information contributing to public understanding of government activities is important enough to release.
(c) In determining whether the second requirement is met, the Board shall consider:
(1) The existence and extent of the commercial interest: Would a commercial interest be substantially furthered by the disclosure? The Board shall consider the commercial interest (see paragraph (a)(2) of this section) of either the requestor or of any person on whose behalf they may be acting that would be furthered by the disclosure. During the administrative process, requestors shall be given an opportunity to provide additional information about this concern.
(2) The primary interest for disclosure: Whether the commercial interest of the requestor is sufficiently large in comparison to the public interest, that disclosure is “primarily in the commercial interest of the requestor.” A fee waiver is justified if the public interest standard under paragraph (b) of this section is satisfied and if that public interest is greater than any commercial interest. The Board shall presume that when news media requestors satisfy this standard, primarily the public interest is served.
(d) If only some of the records to be released satisfy the requirements for a waiver of fees, a waiver shall be granted only for those records.
(e) Requests for a waiver or a reduction of fees must address the factors listed in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section only as they apply to each request. The Board also shall consider their administrative resources when responding to requests and may negotiate with the requestor to find the best way to optimize their resources in responding to the request when deciding whether to grant waivers or reductions of fees.