February 23, 2009
FROM: Robert J. Freeman, Executive Director
The staff of the Committee on Open Government is authorized to issue advisory opinions. The ensuing staff advisory opinion is based solely upon the information presented in your correspondence.
I have received your inquiry concerning fees that may be assessed in relation to requests that records that are scanned prior to disclosure. In this regard, first, the Freedom of Information Law authorizes the assessment of a fee only when records are reproduced. When records can be emailed, they are not reproduced and, consequently, no fee may be charged.
Second, with respect to scanning, it has been advised that when doing so involves no effort additional to an alternative method of responding, no fee may be charged. If scanning would involve additional effort, an agency would not be required to do so. In that event, which often would involve photocopying, the agency may charge up to twenty-five cents per photocopy up to nine by fourteen inches.
I hope that I have been of assistance.