Congress agrees: the law can't be copyrighted


Did anyone talk against the proposition? Did any of the states which claim IPR over law attempt to speak and justify?

Will the dissenting states actually be required to cease claiming copyright, anytime soon?

Will ANSI and other standards agencies in the USA actually be required to change their practices as a result of this session, or what follows?


I predict that almost nothing will change.

For example, the ASME has design rules for pressure vessels. Most states (not all) require that pressure vessels be built according to those rules. These same states typically require that the pressure vessels be insured. It would be very easy for them to drop the ASME requirement but maintain the insurance requirement. I can guarantee you that no insurance company is going to want to insure a vessel that doesn’t meet the ASME’s standards.

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For shame.

Posting a video in the incorrect aspect ratio is no more forgivable than a video that’s upside-down or runs backwards.

I thought the law belonged to Westlaw.

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It’s not that they’re proposing the ASME codes no longer apply; they’re proposing that once a code has the force of law ASME can no longer charge for the raw text.

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And what Chesterfield proposed is that the law will simply no longer refer directly to codes like those developed by ASME and like organizations, it’ll be about liability and protections against it. Technically that would mean that anything that could be insured or bonded could be legal without having an comparison to a published standard in such a world, but in practice insurance companies like things to follow measurable, definable standards, and either wouldn’t offer insurance or would charge significantly more for it to the point that it’s not viable to pay that much to avoid the published standards.

What I think it comes down to is that various governments took the easy way out. They could have bought the standards documents themselves, published them, and paid for revisions, but it was easier and cheaper for them to cite the private standard instead. Companies that develop standards have fairly carefully figured out how much they can charge before their fees serve to stall the industry, and they make a lot of profit on their efforts.

At least it wasn’t a vertical video…

Honestly, I’ve got nothing against portrait-mode video. Like 4:3 or 2.39:1, it’s just another artistic choice.

hooray! the law is free!

Hmmm… All but a handful of screens (old “paper white” document display screens, some modern LCDs that people have rotated to portrait) use a wide aspect ratio rather than a tall one. At a minimum this means that I’m getting either a smaller image or else an image that loses resolution in the reorientation from native.

I’m surprised that the cellphone manufacturers haven’t started making camera software that can grab landscape-oriented video using a portion of the portait-oriented CCD pickup. If the camera’s narrowest resolution is greater than widest resolution of a video format, they should be able to capture the relevant image area off of only a portion of that CCD to make a landscape image. 1920 width is still narrower than the the narrowest dimension in my cellphone camera.

If the ASME is in danger of losing their copyrights, I’m guessing that they will ask to be removed from the law before surrendering all of their IP (they never asked to be deferred to by lawmakers in the first place). That IP generates around $100 million per year for them.

And the poor presentation of vertical video is a failing of technology, not the person filming. The fact that we can’t have variable resolution video players is absurd. It should detect and present the video in its original ratio automatically. This weird enforcement of one ratio makes no more sense than if all pictures on the internet were required to be the same size/ratio.

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Part of the presentation referred to in the fine article covers how standards bodies spend millions lobbying to have their standards accepted into law. Another part covers how those same standards bodies have a robust revenue stream from value-added versions of the codes.

And it’s not like there won’t be a code that has force of law and it will all go to insurers; if ASME really wants to take their ball and go home, some other standards body will be happy to provide one.

Well, it sounds like they (and ASHRAE and everyone else) better get into the business of just engineering then. There’s a long line of buggy whip manufacturers that need their help if they’re not willing to suck up and move on.

Now if they would only agree that law-like conditions of trade agreements should not be secret…

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Not nearly as bad as broadcasting it though.

How many people do you know whose eyes are arranged one top of the other?

About the same number of people who have a field of view that doesn’t reach from the top of their screen to the bottom. Vertical video is perfectly watchable. YouTube’s (among others) ratio fixations are hardly physiologically mandated.Actually, proper handling of different aspect ratios and orientations could be a real service differentiation for a competitor like Vimeo

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