1602.14 Fees.§ 1602.14 Fees.
(a) LSC will not charge fees for information routinely provided in the normal course of doing business.
(b)(1) When records are requested for commercial use, LSC shall limit fees to reasonable standard charges for document search, review, and duplication.
(2) LSC shall not assess any search fees (or if the requester is a representative of the news media, duplication fees) if LSC has failed to comply with the time limits set forth in § 1602.9 and no unusual circumstances, as defined in that section apply.
(3)(i) If LSC has determined that unusual circumstances as defined in § 1602.9 apply and LSC has provided timely written notice to the requester in accordance with § 1602.9, a failure described in paragraph (2) is excused for an additional 10 days. If LSC fails to comply with the extended time limit, LSC may not assess any search fees (or, if the requester is a representative of the news media, duplication fees) except as provided in paragraphs (a)(3)(ii)-(iii) of this section.
(ii) If LSC has determined that unusual circumstances as defined in § 1602.9 apply and more than 5,000 pages are necessary to respond to the request, LSC may charge search fees or duplication fees if LSC has provided a timely written notice to the requester in accordance with § 1602.9 and LSC has discussed with the requester via written mail, electronic mail, or telephone (or made not less than three good faith attempts to do so) how the requester could effectively limit the scope of the request in accordance with § 1602.9.
(iii) If a court has determined that exceptional circumstances exist, as defined by the FOIA, a failure to comply with the time limits shall be excused for the length of time provided by the court order.
(c) When records are sought by a representative of the news media or by an educational or non-commercial scientific institution, LSC shall limit fees to reasonable standard charges for document duplication after the first 100 pages; and
(d) For all other requests, LSC shall limit fees to reasonable standard charges for search time after the first 2 hours and duplication after the first 100 pages.
(e) The schedule of charges and fees for services regarding the production or disclosure of the Corporation's records is as follows:
(1) Manual search for and review of records will be charged as follows:
(i) Administrative fee: $22.35/hour;
(ii) Professional fee: $66.26/hour;
(iii) Charges for search and review time less than a full hour will be billed by quarter-hour segments;
(2) Duplication by paper copy: 35 cents per page;
(3) Duplication by other methods: actual charges as incurred;
(4) Packing and mailing records: no charge for regular mail;
(5) Express mail: actual charges as incurred.
(f) LSC may charge for time spent searching even if it does not locate any responsive records or it withholds the records located as exempt from disclosure.
(g) Fee waivers. A requester may seek a waiver or reduction of the fees established under paragraph (e) of this section. A fee waiver or reduction request will be granted where LSC has determined that the requester has demonstrated that disclosure of the information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations of LSC and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.
(1) In order to determine whether 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 LSC, LSC shall consider the following four factors:
(i) The subject of the request: Whether the subject of the requested records concerns “the operations or activities of LSC.” The subject of the requested records must concern identifiable operations or activities of LSC, with a connection that is direct and clear, not remote or attenuated.
(ii) The informative value of the information to be disclosed: Whether the disclosure is “likely to contribute” to an understanding of LSC operations or activities. The requested records must be meaningfully informative about LSC operations or activities in order to be likely to contribute to an increased public understanding of those operations or activities. The disclosure of information that is already in the public domain, in either a duplicative or a substantially identical form, would not be likely to contribute to such understanding where nothing new would be added to the public's understanding.
(iii) The contribution to an understanding of the subject by the public likely to result from disclosure: Whether disclosure of the requested records will contribute to “public understanding.” The disclosure must contribute to a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject, as opposed to the personal interest of the requester. A requester's expertise in the subject area and ability and intention to effectively convey information to the public shall be considered. LSC shall presume that a representative of the news media will satisfy this consideration.
(iv) The significance of the contribution to public understanding: Whether the disclosure is likely to contribute “significantly” to public understanding of LSC operations or activities. The disclosure must enhance the public's understanding of the subject in question to a significant extent.
(2) In order to determine whether disclosure of the information is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester, LSC will consider the following two factors:
(i) The existence and magnitude of a commercial interest: Whether the requester has a commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure. LSC shall consider any commercial interest of the requester (with reference to the definition of commercial use in this part) or of any person on whose behalf the requester may be acting, that would be furthered by the requested disclosure.
(ii) The primary interest in disclosure: Whether the magnitude of the identified commercial interest is sufficiently large, in comparison with the public interest in disclosure, that disclosure is “primarily” in the commercial interest of the requester. A fee waiver or reduction is justified where the public interest is of greater magnitude than is any identified commercial interest in disclosure. LSC ordinarily shall presume that where a news media requester has satisfied the public interest standard, the public interest will be the interest primarily served by disclosure to that requester. Disclosure to data brokers or others who merely compile and market government information for direct economic return shall not be presumed primarily to serve a public interest.
(3) Where LSC has determined that a fee waiver or reduction request is justified for only some of the records to be released, LSC shall grant the fee waiver or reduction for those records.
(4) Requests for fee waivers and reductions shall be made in writing and must address the factors listed in this paragraph as they apply to the request.
(h) Requesters must agree to pay all fees charged for services associated with their requests. LSC will assume that requesters agree to pay all charges for services associated with their requests up to $25 unless otherwise indicated by the requester. For requests estimated to exceed $25, LSC will consult with the requester prior to processing the request, and such requests will not be deemed to have been received by LSC until the requester agrees in writing to pay all fees charged for services. LSC will also make available its FOIA Public Liaison or other FOIA professional to assist any requester in reformulating a request to meet the requester's needs at a lower cost.
(i) No requester will be required to make an advance payment of any fee unless:
(1) The requester has previously failed to pay a required fee within 30 days of the date of billing, in which case an advance deposit of the full amount of the anticipated fee together with the fee then due plus interest accrued may be required (and the request will not be deemed to have been received by LSC until such payment is made); or
(2) LSC determines that an estimated fee will exceed $250, in which case the requester shall be notified of the amount of the anticipated fee or such portion thereof as can readily be estimated. Such notification shall be transmitted as soon as possible, but in any event within five working days of receipt by LSC, giving the best estimate then available. The notification shall offer the requester the opportunity to confer with appropriate representatives of LSC for the purpose of reformulating the request so as to meet the needs of the requester at a reduced cost. The request will not be deemed to have been received by LSC for purposes of the initial 20-day response period until the requester makes a deposit on the fee in an amount determined by LSC.
(j) Interest may be charged to those requesters who fail to pay the fees charged. Interest will be assessed on the amount billed, starting on the 31st day following the day on which the billing was sent. The rate charged will be as prescribed in 31 U.S.C. 3717.
(k) If LSC reasonably believes that a requester or group of requesters is attempting to break a request into a series of requests for the purpose of evading the assessment of fees, LSC shall aggregate such requests and charge accordingly. Likewise, LSC will aggregate multiple requests for documents received from the same requester within 45 days.