British Library FoI: how much do they make from reproduction of mss images?

I’m still trying to find out just how much money the British Library make from charging for the reproduction of manuscript items online. I raised an FoI request here, and got an answer for all items (not manuscripts alone).  Click the tag “British Library” to see all the posts on this.

I note that the British library charges a fee to websites that use digital images of pages from manuscripts from the BL collection.  Please would you let me know, for each of the past 5 years (either calendar or financial, whichever is more convenient):

How many requests were made for use of BL collection images of these items on third party websites?

How much income was received by the BL in consideration of the use of BL collection images of these items on third party websites?

The reply: 

The table below indicates the number of requests for rights to reproduce BL collection images of manuscript items, for which a charge was made, and the income derived from those transactions for the five years in question.

  2004/2005 2005 / 2006 2006 / 2007 2007 / 2008 2008 / 2009
Number 772 845 959 527 664
Income 138,277 GBP 121,162 GBP 105,592 GBP 95,175 GBP 122,578 GBP

These figures are interesting, but still don’t indicate what proportion of this was on websites, as opposed to in printed books (which I suspect make up most of it).  I’m not quite sure how to find this out, tho.

UPDATE: I queried this, and got back the reply that they don’t hold that information on their systems!  That is, they levy charges but have no idea how many people are paying them, or if anyone is.  How very, very British Library.

I wonder if I complain to the Information Commissioner, whether they will get told to “go and find out”.  If there are 600 a year, it would hardly be a great task to look through the lot.


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