There is no uniform fee schedule or formula for the assessment of fees for copies of electronic records. In Birmingham News Co. v. Peevy, 21 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 2125 (Cir. Ct. Montgomery Cnty., Ala., July 22, 1993), the trial court ordered the requester to pay (a) “the actual, reasonable cost incurred by the Department [of Public Safety] to create any new computer program required to comply with [the Plaintiff’s request for motor vehicle records]” and (b) the statutorily mandated fee of $5.75 “for each and every individual driving record identified by named driver in any such copy of the Department’s databases delivered to the Plaintiff,” id. at 2125, presumably on the ground that the MVR fee statute makes no distinction for the form in which the MVR records are produced. Ala. Code § 32-7-4 (1999) (as of Sept. 13, 1997, access to MVRs has been governed by 18 U.S.C. § 2721).
Much more typically, there will be no statutorily mandated fee, and the fee for records in electronic format should be subject to the same reasonable-cost-of-production requirement that governs records requests in any other form. See Op. Att'y Gen. Ala. No. 2008-030, 2007 Ala. AG LEXIS 97 (Dec. 28, 2007) (stating a state agency “may recoup reasonable costs incurred providing public documents to a citizen”).
The Law spells out what fees agencies may and may not charge. 65 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 67.1307. Other statutory law may supersede the fees required by the Right-to-Know Law. See, e.g., 42 P.S. § 21051 (permits Recorder of Deeds to charge a copy fee of 50 cents per uncertified page and $1.50 per certified page); 75 Pa.C.S. §3751 (b)(2) (permits police departments to charge up to $15 per report for providing a copy of a vehicle accident report).
Sections 552.261 through 552.275 address fees for copies of and access to public information. 1 Texas Administrative Code §§ 70.1–.12 sets out the Text Of Cost Regulations Promulgated By The Office Of The Attorney General.
Section 2.2-3704.F. provides: “A public body may make reasonable charges not to exceed its actual cost incurred in accessing, duplicating, supplying, or searching for the requested records. No public body shall impose any extraneous, intermediary, or surplus fees or expenses to recoup the general costs associated with creating or maintaining records or transacting the general business of the public body. Any duplicating fee charged by a public body shall not exceed the actual cost of duplication. The public body may also make a reasonable charge for the cost incurred in supplying records produced from a geographic information system at the request of anyone other than the owner of the land that is the subject of the request. However, such charges shall not exceed the actual cost to the public body in supplying such records, except that the public body may charge, on a pro rata per acre basis, for the cost of creating topographical maps developed by the public body, for such maps or portions thereof, which encompass a contiguous area greater than 50 acres. All charges for the supplying of requested records shall be estimated in advance at the request of the citizen. The period within which the public body shall respond under this section shall be tolled for the amount of time that elapses between notice of the cost estimate and the response of the requester. If the public body receives no response from the requester within 30 days of sending the cost estimate, the request shall be deemed to be withdrawn.”