The Data Practices Act allows, but does not require, government to charge for copies of government data. If the government’s policy is to charge for copies, the allowable amount depends on whether the requester is a member of the public or a data subject.
Statutory requirements relating to copy charges are in Minnesota Statutes, sections 13.03 (members of the public), sections 13.04 (data subjects), and Minnesota Rules 1205.0300, subpart 4. Government cannot charge to separate public from not public data. In situations where specific charges are set by statute or rule, government should follow the applicable statutory language, rather than Chapter 13's requirements.
Members of the Public
- 25 cents per page – 100 or fewer paper copies
If the request is for 100 or fewer pages of black and white, letter or legal sized paper copies, the maximum allowable charge is 25 cents for each page copied, or 50¢ for a two-sided copy. This charge is a flat rate; government cannot add on any additional charges, such as cost of mailing or paper.
- Actual cost - most other copies
For copies of other data (more than 100 paper copies, photographs, data on a CD or DVD, data stored electronically, etc.) government may charge the actual cost for an employee to search for and retrieve the data, and to make paper copies or to print copies of electronically stored data.
- Actual cost
Government may charge the actual cost for an employee to make and transmit paper copies or copies of electronically stored data, as well as the actual cost of materials. Government may not charge a data subject any fee for redaction or for searching for and retrieving data. Note that the 25 cents per page for copies of 100 or fewer pages does not apply to data subject requester unless that is the actual cost to make copies.
For more information on how to calculate actual cost, please visit our page on Actual Cost or view our informational video on copy costs.