32 CFR 1662.6 - Fee schedule; waiver of fees.

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§ 1662.6 Fee schedule; waiver of fees.

(a) Definitions. For the purposes of this section:

(1) Direct costs mean those expenditures which the Selective Service System (SSS) actually incurs in searching for and duplicating (and in the case of commercial requesters, reviewing) documents to respond to a FOIA request. Direct costs include, for example, the salary of the employee performing work (the basic rate of pay for the employee plus 16 percent of the rate to cover benefits) and the cost of operating duplicating machinery. Not included in direct costs are overhead expenses such as costs of space, and heating or lighting the facility in which the records are stored.

(2) The term search includes all time spent looking for material that is responsive to a request, including page-by-page or line-by-line identification of material within documents. Search should be distinguished from review of material in order to determine whether the material is exempt from disclosure (see paragraph (a)(4) of this section). Searches may be done manually or by computer using existing programming.

(3) Duplication refers to the process of making a copy of a document necessary to respond to an FOIA request. Such copies may take the form of paper copy, microform, audio-visual materials, or machine readable documentation (e.g., magnetic tape or disk), among others.

(4) Review refers to the process of examining documents located in response to a commercial use request to determine whether any portion of any document located is permitted to be withheld. It also includes processing any documents for disclosure, e.g., doing all that is necessary to excise them and otherwise to prepare them for release. Review does not include time spent resolving general legal or policy issues regarding the application of exemptions.

(5) The term ‘commercial use’ request refers to a request from or on behalf of one who seeks information for the use or purpose that furthers the commercial, trade, or profit interests of the requester or the person on whose behalf the request is made. In determining whether a request properly belongs in this category the agency must determine the use to which a requester will put the documents requested. Moreover where there is reasonable cause to doubt the use to which a requester will put the records sought, or where that use is not clear from the request itself, the agency may seek additional clarification before assigning the request to a specific category.

(6) The term educational institution refers to a preschool, a public or private elementary or secondary school, an institution of graduate higher education, an institution of undergraduate higher education, an institution of professional education, and an institution of vocational education, which operates a program or programs of scholarly research.

(7) The term non-commercial scientific institution refers to an institution that is not operated on a commercial basis as that term is referenced in paragraph (a)(5) of this section, and which is operated solely for the purpose of conducting scientific research the results of which are not intended to promote any particular product or industry.

(8) The term representative of the news media refers to any person actively gathering news for an entity that is organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public. The term news means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public. Examples of news media entities include television or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large, and publishers of periodicals (but only in those instances when they can qualify as disseminators of news) who make their products available for purchase or subscription by the general public. These examples are not intended to be all-inclusive. Moreover, as traditional methods of news delivery evolve (e.g., electronic dissemination of newspapers through telecommunications services), such alternative media would be included in this category. In the case of freelance journalists, they may be regarded as working for a news organization if they can demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through that organization, even though not actually employed by it. A publication contract would be the clearest proof, but the agency may also look to the past publication record of a requester in making this determination.

(b) Fees to be charged - categories of requesters. There are four categories of FOIA requesters: Commercial use requesters; education and non-commercial scientific institutions; representatives of the news media; and other requesters. The FOI Reform Act prescribes specific levels of fees for each of these categories:

(1) Commercial use requesters. A request for documents for commercial use will be assessed charges which recover the full direct costs of searching for, reviewing for release, and duplicating the records sought. Requesters must reasonably describe the record sought. Commercial use requesters are not entitled to two hours of free search time nor 100 free pages of reproduction of documents. The cost of searching for and reviewing records will be recovered even if there is ultimately no disclosure of records (see paragraph (c)(5) of this section).

(2) Educational and non-commercial scientific institution requesters. Documents to requesters in this category will be provided for the cost of reproduction alone, excluding charges for the first 100 pages. To be eligible for inclusion in this category, a requester must show that the request is being made as authorized by and under the auspices of a qualifying institution and that the records are not sought for a commercial use, but are sought in furtherance of scholarly (if the request is from an educational institution) or scientific (if the request is from a non-commercial scientific institution) research. Requesters must reasonably describe the records sought.

(3) Requesters who are representatives of the news media. Documents will be provided to requesters in this category for the cost of reproduction alone, excluding charges for the first 100 pages. To be eligible for inclusion in this category, a requester must meet the criteria in paragraph (a)(8) of this section, and his or her request must not be made for a commercial use. A request for records supporting the news dissemination function of the requester shall not be considered to be a request that is for a commercial use. Requesters must reasonably describe the records sought.

(4) All other requesters. The agency will charge requesters who do not fit into any of the categories above fees which recover the full reasonable direct cost of searching for and reproducing records that are responsive to the request, except that the first 100 pages of reproduction and the first two hours of search time shall be furnished without charge. Moreover, requests from record subjects for records about themselves filed in the agency's systems of records will continue to be treated under the fee provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 which permit fees only for reproduction.

(c) Assessment and collection of fees -

(1) Aggregated requests. If the Records Manager reasonably believes that a requester or group of requesters is attempting to break a request down into a series of requests for the purpose of evading the assessment of fees, the Records Manager may aggregate any such requests accordingly.

(2) Payment procedures -

(i) Fee payment. The Records Manager may assume that a person requesting records pursuant to this part will pay the applicable fees, unless a request includes a limitation on fees to be paid or seeks a waiver or reduction of fees pursuant to paragraph (c)(4) of this section. Unless applicable fees are paid, the agency may use the authorities of the Debt Collection Act (Pub. L. 97-365), including disclosure to consumer reporting agencies and use of collection agencies, where appropriate, to encourage payment.

(ii) Advance payment.

(A) The Records Manager may require advance payment of any fee estimated to exceed $250. The Records Manager may also require full payment in advance where a requester has previously failed to pay fees in a timely fashion.

(B) If the Records Manager estimates that the fees will likely exceed $25, he will notify the requester of the estimated amount of fees, unless the requester has indicated in advance his willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated. Such a notice shall offer a requester the opportunity to confer with agency personnel with the object of reformulating the request to meet his or her needs at a lower cost.

(3) Late charges. The Records Manager may assess interest charges when fee payment is not made within 30 days of the date on which the billing was sent. Interest will be at the rate prescribed in section 3717 of title 31 U.S.C.A.

(4) Waiver or reduction of fees -

(i) Standards for determining waiver or reduction. The Records Manager shall grant a waiver or reduction of fees chargeable under this section where it is determined that disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the Selective Service System and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. The Records Manager shall also waive fees that are less than the average cost of collecting fees. In determining whether disclosure is in the public interest, the following factors may be considered:

(A) The relation of the records to the operations or activities of the System;

(B) The information value of the information to be disclosed;

(C) Any contribution to an understanding of the subject by the general public likely to result from disclosure;

(D) The significance of that contribution to the public understanding of the subject;

(E) The nature of the requester's personal interest, if any, in the disclosure requested; and

(F) Whether the disclosure would be primarily in the requester's commercial interest.

(ii) Contents of request for waiver. The Records Manager will normally deny a request for a waiver of fees that does not include:

(A) A clear statement of the requester's interest in the requested documents;

(B) The use proposed for the documents and whether the requester will derive income or other benefit from such use;

(C) A statement of how the public will benefit from such use and from the release of the requested documents; and

(D) If specialized use of the documents or information is contemplated, a statement of the requester's qualifications that are relevant to the specialized use.

(iii) Burden of proof. In all cases the burden shall be on the requester to present evidence or information in support of a request for a waiver of fees.

(5) Fees for nonproductive search. Fees for record searches and review may be charged even if not responsive documents are located or if the request is denied, particularly if the requester insists upon a search after being informed that it is likely to be nonproductive or that any records found are likely to be exempt from disclosure. The Records Manager shall apply the standards set out in paragraph (c)(4) of this section in determining whether to waive or reduce fees.

Appendix A to § 1662.6 - Freedom of Information Fee Schedule
Photocopy, per standard page
Paper Copies of microfiche, per frame
Search and review:

Salary of the employee (the basic rate of pay of the employee plus 16 percent of that rate to cover benefits), performing the work of manual search and review.

Computer search and production:

For each request the Records Manager will separately determine the actual direct costs of providing the service, including computer search time, tape or printout production, and operator salary.

Special services:

The Records Manager may agree to provide and set fees to recover the costs of special services not covered by the Freedom of Information Act, such as certifying records or information, packaging and mailing records, and sending records by special methods such as express mail. The Records Manager may provide self-service photocopy machines and microfiche printers as a convenience to requesters and set separate perpage fees reflecting the cost of operation and maintenance of those machines.

Fee waivers:

For qualifying educational and noncommercial scientific institution requesters and representatives of the news media the Records Manager will not assess fees for review time, for the first 100 pages of reproduction, or, when the records sought are reasonably described, for search time. For other noncommercial use requests no fees will be assessed for review time, for the first 100 pages of reproduction, or for the first two hours of search time.

The Records Manager will waive in full fees that total less than $1.00 or that are less than the average cost of collecting fees.

The Records Manager will also waive or reduce fees, upon proper request, if disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the System and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

[52 FR 13665, Apr. 24, 1987]

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