Title 37: Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
Part 203—FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT: POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Subchapter A—Copyright Office and Procedures


§203.6   Schedule of fees and methods of payment for services rendered.

(a) General. The fee schedule of this section does not apply with respect to the charging of fees for those records for which the Copyright Act of 1976, title 17 of the United States Code (Pub. L. 94-553) requires a fee to be charged. The fees required to be charged are contained in §201.3 of this chapter, or have been established by the Register of Copyrights or Library of Congress pursuant to the requirements of that section. If the Copyright Office receives a request for copies or other services involving the public records or indexes of the Office or for copies of deposited articles for which a fee is required to be charged, the Office will notify the requester of the procedure established to obtain the copies or services and the amount of the chargeable fees. Fees pursuant to title 5 U.S.C., section 552 for all other services not involving the public records of the Copyright Office will be assessed according to the schedule in paragraph (b) of this section. All fees so assessed shall be charged to the requester, except where the charge is limited under paragraph (c) of this section or where a waiver or reduction of fees is granted under paragraph (d) of this section. Requests by record subjects asking for copies of records about themseleves shall be processed under the Privacy Act fee schedule found in 37 CFR 204.6.

(b) FOIA requests. In responding to requests under this part the following fees shall be assessed, unless a waiver or reduction in fees has been granted pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section:

(1) For each quarter hour spent by administrative staff in searching for a requested record, $7.50; for each quarter hour spent by professional staff in searching for a requested record, $17.50, with a half hour minimum in both cases. No search fee shall be assessed with respect to requests by educational institutions, non-commercial scientific institutions, and representatives of the news media. Search fees shall be assessed with respect to all other requests, subject to the limitations of paragraph (c) of this section. Fees may be assessed for time spent searching even if the search fails to locate any responsive records or where the records located are subsequently determined to be entirely exempt from disclosure.

(2) For computer searches of records, which may be undertaken through the use of existing programing, the actual direct costs of conducting the search including the cost of operating a central processing unit for that portion of operating time that is directly attributable to searching for records responsive to a request, as well as the direct costs of operator/programmer salary apportionable to search (at no less than $65 per hour or fraction thereof).

(3) For each quarter hour spent by administrative staff in reviewing a requested record, $7.50; for each quarter hour spent by professional staff in reviewing a requested record, $17.50, with no minimum. No review fee shall be assessed with respect to requests by educational institutions, non-commercial scientific institutions, and representatives of the news media. Review fees shall be assessed with respect to all other requests, subject to the limitations of paragraph (c) of this section. Review fees shall include only the direct costs incurred during the initial examination of a document for the purposes of determining whether the documents must be disclosed and for the purposes of withholding any portions exempt from disclosure. No review fee will be charged for time spent in resolving issues of law or policy that may be raised in the course of processing a request.

(4) For copies of all other Copyright Office records not otherwise provided for in this section, a minimum fee of $15.00 for up to 15 pages and $.50 per page over 15.

(5) Other costs incurred by the Copyright Office in fulfilling a request will be chargeable at the actual cost to the Office.

(c) Fee limitations. The following limitations on fees shall apply:

(1) Except for requesters seeking records for commercial use the following will be provided without charge—

(i) The first 100 pages of duplication (or its cost equivalent), and

(ii) The first two hours of search (or its cost equivalent).

(2) No fees will be charged for ordinary packaging and mailing costs.

(d) Waiver or reduction of fees.

(1) Records responsive to a request under 5 U.S.C. 552 shall be furnished without charge or at a charge reduced below that established under paragraph (b) of this section where the Office determines, based upon information provided by a requester in support of a fee waiver request or otherwise made known to the Office, that 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 is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. Requests for a waiver or reduction of fees shall be considered on a case-by-case basis.

(2) In order to determine whether the first fee waiver requirement is met—i.e., that 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—the Office shall consider the following four factors in sequence:

(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 public likely to result from disclosures: 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.

(3) In order to determine whether the second fee waiver requirement is met—i.e., that disclosure of the requested information is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester—the Office shall consider the following two factors in sequence:

(i) The existence and magnitude of a commercial interest: Whether the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure.

(ii) 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.”

(4) Where only a portion of the requested records satisfies both of the requirements for a waiver or reduction of fees under this paragraph, a waiver or reduction shall be granted only as to that portion.

(e) Notice of anticipated fees in excess of $25.00. Where the Office determines or estimates that the fees to be assessed under this section may amoun t to more than $25.00, the Office shall notify the requester as soon as praticable of the actual or estimated amount of the fees, unless the requester has indicated in advance his willingness to pay fees as high as those anticipated. (If only a portion of the fee can be estimated readily, the Office shall advise the requester that the estimated fee may be only a portion of the total fee.) In cases where a requester has been notified that actual or estimated fees may amount to more than $25.00, the requests will be deemed not to have been received until the requester has agreed to pay the anticipated total fee. A notice to a requester pursuant to this paragraph shall offer him the opportunity to confer with Copyright Office personnel in order to reformulate his request to meet his needs at a lower cost.

(f) Aggregation of requests. Where the Office reasonably believes that a requester or a group of requesters acting in concert is attempting to divide a request into a series of requests for the purpose of evading the assessment of fees, the Office may aggregate any such requests and charge accordingly.

(g) Advance payments.

(1) Where the Office estimates that a total fee to be assessed under this section is likely to exceed $250.00, it may require the requester to make an advance payment of an amount up to the entire estimated fee before beginning to process the request, except where it receives a satisfactory assurance of full payment from a requester with a history of prompt payment.

(2) Where a requester has previously failed to pay a records access fee within 30 days of the date of billing, the Office may require the requester to pay the full amount owed, plus any applicable interest (as provided for in paragraph (h) of this section), and to make an advance payment of the full amount of any estimated fee before the Office begins to process a new request or continues to process a pending request from that requester.

(3) For requests other than those described in paragraphs (g)(1) and (g)(2) of this section, the Office shall not require the requester to make an advance payment, i.e., a payment made before work is commenced or continued on a request. Payment owed for work already completed is not an advance payment.

(h) Charging interest. The Office may assess interest charges on an unpaid bill starting on the 31st day following the day on which the bill was sent to the requester. Once a fee payment has been received by a component of the Office, even if not processed, the accrual of interest shall be stayed. Interest charges shall be assessed at the rate prescribed in section 3717 of title 31 U.S.C. and shall accrue from the date of billing.


[53 FR 8456, Mar. 15, 1988, as amended at 56 FR 59885, Nov. 26, 1991; 62 FR 55742, Oct. 28, 1997; 63 FR 29139, May 28, 1998; 64 FR 29522, June 1, 1999; 66 FR 34373, June 28, 2001; 79 FR 15919, Mar. 24, 2014]


Source: GPO Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) (www.gpoaccess.gov/ecfr/)
Data current as of September 18, 2014.