e-CFR banner

Home
gpo.gov
govinfo.gov

e-CFR Navigation Aids

Browse

Simple Search

Advanced Search

 — Boolean

 — Proximity

 

Search History

Search Tips

Corrections

Latest Updates

User Info

FAQs

Agency List

Incorporation By Reference

eCFR logo

Related Resources

 

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of February 20, 2020

Title 16Chapter IISubchapter APart 1015Subpart A → §1015.9


Title 16: Commercial Practices
PART 1015—PROCEDURES FOR DISCLOSURE OR PRODUCTION OF INFORMATION UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
Subpart A—Production or Disclosure Under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)


§1015.9   Fees for production of records.

(a) The Commission will provide, at no charge, certain routine information. For other Commission responses to information requests, the Secretariat shall determine and levy fees for duplication, search, review, and other services, in accordance with this section.

(b) Fees shall be paid to the Treasury of the United States according to the directions provided by the Commission.

(c) The following definitions shall apply under this section:

(1) Direct costs means those expenditures which an agency actually incurs in searching for and duplicating (and in the case of commercial requesters, reviewing) documents to respond to a FOIA request.

(2) 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 and the reasonable efforts expended to locate and retrieve information from electronic records.

(3) Duplication refers to the process of making a copy of a document, including electronically, necessary to respond to a FOIA request. The Commission will honor the requester's preference for receiving a record in a particular format when it can readily reproduce it in the form or format requested.

(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.

(5) Commercial use request refers to a request that seeks information for a use or purpose that furthers commercial, trade, or profit interests.

(6) Educational institution refers to an entity organized and operated exclusively for educational purposes, whose purpose is scholarly.

(7) Non-commercial scientific institution refers to an entity organized and operated exclusively for the purpose of conducting scientific research, the results of which are not intended to promote any particular product or industry.

(8) Representative of the news media refers to any person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience. 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 that broadcast “news” to the public at large and publishers of periodicals that disseminate “news” and make their products available through a variety of means to the general public, including news organizations that disseminate solely on the Internet. A request for records supporting the news-dissemination function of the requester will not be considered to be for a commercial use. “Freelance” journalists who demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through a news media entity will be considered as a representative of the news media. A publishing contract would provide the clearest evidence that publication is expected; however, the Commission can also consider a requester's past publication record in making this determination. These examples are not all-inclusive.

(d) A commercial use request may incur charges for duplication, search, and review. The following requests may incur charges only for duplication: A request from an educational institution for records not sought for commercial use; a request from a non-commercial scientific institution for records not sought for commercial use; a request from a representative of the news media. Any other request may incur charges for duplication and search.

(e) The following fee schedule will apply:

(1) Copies of documents reproduced on a standard photocopying machine: $0.10 per page. Where paper documents must be scanned in order to comply with a requester's preference to receive records in an electronic format, the requester must also pay the direct costs associated with scanning those materials.

(2) File searches conducted by clerical personnel: $3.00 for each one-quarter hour (a fraction thereof to be counted as one-quarter hour). Any special costs of sending records from field locations to headquarters for review will be included in search fees, billed at the clerical personnel rate.

(3) File searches conducted by non-clerical or professional or managerial personnel: $4.90 for each one-quarter hour (a fraction thereof to be counted as one-quarter hour).

(4) Review of records: $4.90 for each one-quarter hour (a fraction thereof to be counted as one-quarter hour).

(5) Computerized records: $0.10 per page of computer printouts or, for central processing, $0.32 per second of central processing unit (CPU) time; for printer, $10.00 per 1,000 lines; and for computer magnetic tapes or discs, direct costs.

(6) Postage: Direct-cost basis for mailing requested materials, if the requester wants special handling or if the volume or dimensions of the materials requires special handling.

(7) Microfiche: $0.35 for each frame.

(8) Other charges for materials requiring special reproducing or handling, such as photographs, slides, blueprints, video and audio tape recordings, or other unusual materials: direct-cost basis.

(9) Any other service: An appropriate fee established by the Secretariat, based on direct costs.

(f) Fees shall be waived as follows:

(1) No automatic fee waiver shall apply to commercial use requests.

(2) The first $10.00 of duplication costs shall be waived for requests from educational institutions, non-commercial scientific institutions, and representatives of the news media.

(3) For all other requests, the first $10.00 of duplication costs and the first $40 of search costs shall be waived.

(4) The Secretariat shall waive or reduce fees whenever disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and disclosure of the requested information is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

(5) In making a determination under paragraph (f)(4) of this section, the Secretariat shall consider the following factors:

(i) The subject of the request: Whether the subject of the requested records concerns the operations or activities of the government.

(ii) The informative value of the information to be disclosed: Whether the disclosure is likely to contribute to an understanding of government operations or activities.

(iii) The contribution to an understanding of the subject by the general public likely to result from disclosure: Whether disclosure of the requested information will contribute to public understanding.

(iv) The significance of the contribution to public understanding: Whether the disclosure is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations or activities.

(v) The existence and magnitude of a commercial interest: Whether the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure; and, if so

(vi) The primary interest in disclosure: Whether the magnitude of the identified commercial interest of the requester is sufficiently large, in comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure is primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

(6) Search fees shall be waived for all requests and duplication fees shall be waived for requests from educational institutions, non-commercial scientific institutions, and representatives of the news media if the Commission fails to comply with any time limit under §§1015.5(a), (g)(3), 1015.7(b), and 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6) other than those exceptions stated in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(A)(viii)(ll). Those exceptions include:

(i) If the Commission has determined that unusual circumstances as defined in §1015.5(b) apply and the Commission provided timely written notice to the requester as required by §1015.5(c) or §1015.7(f), then failure to comply with the time limit in §§1015.5(a), (g)(3), 1015.7(b), and 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6) is excused for 10 additional working days; or

(ii) If the Commission has determined that unusual circumstances as defined in §1015.5(b) apply and more than 5,000 pages are necessary to respond to the request, and the Commission has provided timely written notice in accordance with §1015.5(c) and (e) and the Commission has discussed with the requester via written mail, email, or telephone (or made not less than three good-faith efforts to do so) how the requester could effectively limit the scope of the request; or

(iii) If a court has determined that exceptional circumstances exist as defined in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(C), then failure to comply with §§1015.5(a), (g)(3), 1015.7(b), and 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6) shall be excused for the length of time provided by the court order.

(7) Any determination made by the Secretariat concerning fee waivers may be appealed by the requester to the Commission's General Counsel in the manner described at §1015.7.

(g) Collection of fees shall be in accordance with the following:

(1) Interest will be charged on amounts billed, starting on the 31st day following the day on which the requester received the bill. Interest will be at the rate prescribed in 31 U.S.C. 3717.

(2) Search fees will be imposed (on requesters charged for search time) even if no responsive documents are located or if the search leads to responsive documents that are withheld under an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act. Such fees shall not exceed $25.00, unless the requester has authorized a higher amount.

(3) Before the Commission begins processing a request or discloses any information, it will require advance payment if:

(i) Charges are estimated to exceed $250.00 and the requester has no history of payment and cannot provide satisfactory assurance that payment will be made; or

(ii) A requester failed to pay the Commission for a previous Freedom of Information Act request within 30 days of the billing date.

(4) The Commission will aggregate requests, for the purposes of billing, whenever it reasonably believes that a requester or group of requesters is attempting to separate a request into more than one request for the purpose of evading fees.

(5) If a requester's total bill is less than $9.00, the Commission will not request payment.

[52 FR 28979, Aug. 5, 1987, as amended at 62 FR 46198, Sept. 2, 1997; 82 FR 37009, Aug. 8, 2017]

Need assistance?