41 CFR 51-8.13 - Fees charged by category of requester.

§ 51-8.13 Fees charged by category of requester.

(a) Under the FOIA, as amended, there are four categories of FOIA requesters: Commercial use requesters; educational and non-commercial scientific institutions; representatives of the news media; and all other requesters. The Act prescribes specific levels of fees for each category.

(b) Commercial use requesters. For commercial use requesters, the Committee shall assess charges which recover the full direct costs of searching for, reviewing for release, and duplicating the records sought. Commercial use requesters are not entitled to two hours of free search time nor 100 free pages of reproduction of documents referenced in § 51-8.12(c)(1). The Committee may charge for the cost of searching for and reviewing records for commercial use requesters even if there is ultimately no disclosure of records.

(1) A commercial use requester is defined as one who seeks information for a use or purpose that furthers the commercial, trade, or profit interests of the requester or the person on whose behalf the request is made.

(2) In determining whether a requester properly belongs in this category the Committee must determine whether the requester will put the documents to a commercial use. Where the Committee has 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 Committee may seek additional clarification from the requester.

(c) Educational and non-commercial scientific institution requesters. Fees for this category of requesters shall be limited to the cost of providing duplication service alone, minus the charge for the first 100 reproduced pages. No charge shall be made for search or review services. To qualify for this category, requesters must show that the request is being made as authorized by and under the auspices of an eligible institution and that the records are not sought for a commercial use, but are sought in furtherance of scholarly research (if the request is from a non-commercial scientific institution).

(1) 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.

(2) The term “non-commercial scientific institution” refers to an institution that is not operated on a “commercial” basis, 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.

(d) Requesters who are representatives of the news media - Fees for this category of requesters shall also be limited to the cost of providing duplication service alone, minus the charge for the first 100 reproduced pages. No charge shall be made for providing search for review services. Requests in this category must not be made for a commercial use.

(1) 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.

(2) The term “news” means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public.

(3) Examples of news media entities include television or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large, and publishers of periodicals which disseminate news and who make their products available for purchase or subscription by the general public.

(4) “Freelance” journalists 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.

(e) All other requesters. Fees for requesters who do not fit into any of the above categories shall be assessed for the full reasonable direct cost of searching for and duplicating documents that are responsive to a request, except that the first 100 pages of reproduction and the first two hours of search time shall be furnished without charge.