Important victory in Public Resource's tireless fight to make the law free for everyone

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This should be easy. The government belongs to the people. For the government to make a standard a law, they have to have a copy. That copy belongs to the government which belongs to the people and making a copy of your own copy is fair use. If they want to rule that the government can’t make a copyrighted standard a law, fine, but then the standards organizations are still out of their captive audience and need to cooperate by contract to help the government draft copyright-free laws.


I would like to see somebody argue that as a “method of operation” standards can only be protected by patent law rather than copyright. And that they are a case where the idea/expression divide makes the actual text uncopyrightable.

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Preach, brother, preach!

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Using building codes daily I’ve watched sunshine slowly fall on the adopted model building codes, which used to be closely held under fee for access.

The current business model is free access to dumb un-copyable un-printable PDF version, vs the pay version which has fully functional PDFs including bookmarks and full search functions.


I’m not familiar with all SDO’s but the one’s I’m involved in charge between $50 and $150 for a standard. Considering the endless hours voluntarily given by building professionals to draft it, refine it, send it out for public review, respond to any and all comments, re-draft, etc…It doesn’t seem like a steep price to pay. If you were to have these same professionals show up to give you advice on how to build your house, you would certainly pay more than $150. What they charge barely covers the cost of meeting rooms and maybe a staff member at the SDO to act as secretary.

So if you don’t think those that use the standards should pay for them, then who should? Government? Do you really want President Trump in charge of the “Energy Standard for Buildings”?

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It doesn’t seem like a steep price to pay.

Any price is too much to pay for access to the laws that affect you. Paying to access laws is dystopian #LateStageCapitalism.

So if you don’t think those that use the standards should pay for them, then who should? Government? Do you really want President Trump in charge of the “Energy Standard for Buildings”?

That’s a strawman and a useless argument. Trump himself wouldn’t be in charge of them. The government should hire the standards drafters to create the law as a work for hire so that they get paid upfront for the work, not continually throughout the life of the standards. Extracting rent from laws is unethical and leads to Kafkaesque scenarios of enforcement.

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I work in the financial technologies industry, some of the standards we use are no cost to access documentation. Other standards can cost more than of $800 per year, per person, per document. On the whole the no cost access technologies tend to be much better designed and maintained, likely because their existence and use is a strategic benefit to companies working to create the standards.

There is a big difference between paying for a standard that represents good advice, or that are optional value add features for a client and being required by law to comply with a paid for standard. It effectively becomes a licensing fee, paid to a private company, that conveys no validation of skills, and because many people will not pay for the standard it will encourage blind adherence to business as usual in the name of standards compliance.

He effectively is at the federal level. Most of our federal legislative oversight was outsourced to executive agencies long ago. The Department of Energy sets federal regulations for buildings and appliances, Donald Trump appointed Rick Perry to head the DOE. The DOE can set and change regulations as an administrative process, and after the fact Congress can vote to overturn the change. There are some restrictions on what the head of the DOE can and can’t do, but we can clearly see that one thing he can do is not purse enforcement against those that violate the law and waste time and money pursuing meaningless politically motivated studies.

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