Sigh… this issue has long been an annoyance to those of us who file open records requests. Some clerks can be real tools about charging for copies. For example, I’ve requested copies of emails and requested that they just be emailed to me. It made no sense that an electronic file couldn’t be shared electronically. But the clerk would print them anyway and charge me per page. Argh.
Van Hollen has released an opinion that says that the fees clerks charge can only be for actual costs. This would allow people who make their own copies via a scanner, camera, etc., would not have to pay for them. BUT his opinion also leaves it to the discretion of the clerk whether or not they even allow people to make their own copies. John Ferakfrom Gannett sums it up.
So, according to the ruling, cellphone or hand-held scanners can mean free copies of court documents, but only if court clerks allow them to be used at all.
It’s a small step in the right direction.