DOJ suggests fees for copies of public records

The Wisconsin Department of Justice on Wednesday issued a release in response to concerns about rising fees for access to public records and suggesting fees for records custodians. Here are some key quotes:

“Copying fees should be based on the actual costs of the copy machine or contract, and the actual cost of paper.”

“Authorities should limit the amount of time spent by specialized personnel to only that time required to perform the specialized portion of the location task, thereby minimizing the time spent using specialized and costly personnel.”

“The law explicitly permits an authority to impose a fee for locating records if the cost is $50.00 or more, but only actual, necessary, and direct location costs are permitted.”

If you find yourself working with a records custodian who wants to charge you more than what seems reasonable for copies of public records, you might want to keep this document handy.

Thank you to the DOJ for providing guidance on this issue.