Please be advised that contacting Ruder Ware by e-mail does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you contact the firm by e-mail with respect to a matter where the firm does not already represent you, any information which you disclose to us may not be regarded as privileged or confidential.


Accept   Cancel

Please be advised that contacting Ruder Ware by e-mail does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you contact the firm by e-mail with respect to a matter where the firm does not already represent you, any information which you disclose to us may not be regarded as privileged or confidential.


Accept   Cancel

PAL Login

linkedin.jpgyoutube.jpgvimeo.jpgtwitter_off.png View Ruder Ware

Local Governments and School Districts Blog

Department of Justice Reduces Per Copy Fee

Authored by Ruder Ware Attorneys
Posted on August 17, 2018
Filed under Local Governments and School Districts

A recent pronouncement from the Wisconsin Department of Justice signals a new concern that will arise when local governments are responding to a request for public records, under the Wisconsin Public Records Law.  In its pronouncement, the Department of Justice indicated that it was reducing it’s per page cost for a black and white copy of a public record to 1.35¢ per page.  The Department of Justice, also said it was reducing the cost for a copy of a color page to 6.32¢ per page.  The practical effect of this guidance is to suggest that a local government can really not charge any but a minimal cost for the copy of a public record. 

The guidance from the Office of Open Government did indicate that an authority under the Public Records Law could charge a fee for the “actual, necessary, and direct cost” of four different tasks, being (1) reproduction and transcription of a record; (2) photographing and photographic processing of a record; (3) locating a record and/or (4) mailing or shipping a public record.  The guidance again, indicated that a public authority may not charge for the time it takes to redact records to prevent the disclosure of information that should not be released under the Public Records Law. 

The challenging aspect of this new Guidance is the suggestion that a local government can only charge the actual, necessary and direct cost, and in the eyes of the Office of Open Government, the cost for copying a page would be 1¢ per page.  Many local governments have set a higher per page fee for copying a record, but the Guidance indicates that “an authority may not make a profit on its response to a Public Records request.”  Local governments will now have to look at how they are charging for the copying cost of providing a copy of a public record to an individual.