42.56.110  <<  42.56.120 >>   42.56.130

Charges for copying.

(1) No fee shall be charged for the inspection of public records or locating public documents and making them available for copying, except as provided in RCW 42.56.240(14) and subsection (3) of this section. A reasonable charge may be imposed for providing copies of public records and for the use by any person of agency equipment or equipment of the office of the secretary of the senate or the office of the chief clerk of the house of representatives to copy public records, which charges shall not exceed the amount necessary to reimburse the agency, the office of the secretary of the senate, or the office of the chief clerk of the house of representatives for its actual costs directly incident to such copying. When calculating any fees authorized under this section, an agency shall use the most reasonable cost-efficient method available to the agency as part of its normal operations. If any agency translates a record into an alternative electronic format at the request of a requestor, the copy created does not constitute a new public record for purposes of this chapter. Scanning paper records to make electronic copies of such records is a method of copying paper records and does not amount to the creation of a new public record.
(2)(a) Agency charges for actual costs may only be imposed in accordance with the costs established and published by the agency pursuant to RCW 42.56.070(7), and in accordance with the statement of factors and manner used to determine the actual costs. In no event may an agency charge a per page cost greater than the actual cost as established and published by the agency.
(b) An agency need not calculate the actual costs it charges for providing public records if it has rules or regulations declaring the reasons doing so would be unduly burdensome. To the extent the agency has not determined the actual costs of copying public records, the agency may not charge in excess of:
(i) Fifteen cents per page for photocopies of public records, printed copies of electronic public records when requested by the person requesting records, or for the use of agency equipment to photocopy public records;
(ii) Ten cents per page for public records scanned into an electronic format or for the use of agency equipment to scan the records;
(iii) Five cents per each four electronic files or attachment uploaded to email, cloud-based data storage service, or other means of electronic delivery; and
(iv) Ten cents per gigabyte for the transmission of public records in an electronic format or for the use of agency equipment to send the records electronically. The agency shall take reasonable steps to provide the records in the most efficient manner available to the agency in its normal operations; and
(v) The actual cost of any digital storage media or device provided by the agency, the actual cost of any container or envelope used to mail the copies to the requestor, and the actual postage or delivery charge.
(c) The charges in (b) of this subsection may be combined to the extent that more than one type of charge applies to copies produced in response to a particular request.
(d) An agency may charge a flat fee of up to two dollars for any request as an alternative to fees authorized under (a) or (b) of this subsection when the agency reasonably estimates and documents that the costs allowed under this subsection are clearly equal to or more than two dollars. An additional flat fee shall not be charged for any installment after the first installment of a request produced in installments. An agency that has elected to charge the flat fee in this subsection for an initial installment may not charge the fees authorized under (a) or (b) of this subsection on subsequent installments.
(e) An agency shall not impose copying charges under this section for access to or downloading of records that the agency routinely posts on its public internet website prior to receipt of a request unless the requestor has specifically requested that the agency provide copies of such records through other means.
(f) A requestor may ask an agency to provide, and if requested an agency shall provide, a summary of the applicable charges before any copies are made and the requestor may revise the request to reduce the number of copies to be made and reduce the applicable charges.
(3)(a)(i) In addition to the charge imposed for providing copies of public records and for the use by any person of agency equipment copying costs, an agency may include a customized service charge. A customized service charge may only be imposed if the agency estimates that the request would require the use of information technology expertise to prepare data compilations, or provide customized electronic access services when such compilations and customized access services are not used by the agency for other agency purposes.
(ii) The customized service charge may reimburse the agency up to the actual cost of providing the services in this subsection.
(b) An agency may not assess a customized service charge unless the agency has notified the requestor of the customized service charge to be applied to the request, including an explanation of why the customized service charge applies, a description of the specific expertise, and a reasonable estimate cost of the charge. The notice also must provide the requestor the opportunity to amend his or her request in order to avoid or reduce the cost of a customized service charge.
(4) An agency may require a deposit in an amount not to exceed ten percent of the estimated cost of providing copies for a request, including a customized service charge. If an agency makes a request available on a partial or installment basis, the agency may charge for each part of the request as it is provided. If an installment of a records request is not claimed or reviewed, the agency is not obligated to fulfill the balance of the request. An agency may waive any charge assessed for a request pursuant to agency rules and regulations. An agency may enter into any contract, memorandum of understanding, or other agreement with a requestor that provides an alternative fee arrangement to the charges authorized in this section, or in response to a voluminous or frequently occurring request.
[ 2017 c 304 s 3; 2016 c 163 s 4; 2005 c 483 s 2. Prior: 1995 c 397 s 14; 1995 c 341 s 2; 1973 c 1 s 30 (Initiative Measure No. 276, approved November 7, 1972). Formerly RCW 42.17.300.]


FindingIntent2016 c 163: See note following RCW 42.56.240.
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