The 'principles governing charging' for re-use of public sector information
Informatica e Diritto
Faculty of Law (FdR)
Institute for Information Law (IViR)
According to the EU Directive 2003/98 public sector bodies can currently charge the cost of collection, production, reproduction
and dissemination, together with a reasonable return on investment. If the upper limit for charging was lowered to the marginal
costs of reproduction and dissemination of documents, with a possibility for a limited number of exhaustively spelled out
exceptions, what could these exceptions be? Who would decide in practice on the exceptions: Member States or local public
sector bodies? Accordingly, the analysis presented specifically focuses on an hypothetical regime which provides that charging
is subject to an upper limit, identified with the marginal costs of reproduction and dissemination of documents; and admits
that the default is overridden by specific exceptions. The underlying assumption is that the current rules concerning charges
are amended; and that the current recoverability also of the cost of "collection" and "production" of the documents, as well
as of "a reasonable return on investment" made in view of the collection, production, reproduction and dissemination from
charges made by public sector bodies is for the future admitted only in specific, exceptional cases. While the present discussion
shall mainly deal with the identification of the various options available under the new regime as far as exceptions are concerned
and with the governance level at which decisions on the same exceptions should be taken, the scrutiny shall extend to the
rationale itself of this hypothetical new regime, to the extent necessary to clarify the available options.
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