It'll be interesting to see what happens when someone is prosecuted for disregarding safety standards, and their defence is that they relied on an open copy. Would building insurance be granted to a person or a firm who has his home of place of work commissioned solely relying on text from pirated standards? The cost of these standards is surely ε to any legitimate business. Is there any project that has failed to go forward solely due to the cost of purchasing safety standards?
Is the intention of the project to produce a copy of record for academic study, similar to a library, or is the idea that trading business concerns will use the open versions to avoid buying their own copies?
Can these standards already be consulted free of charge in a public library, or inspected at the institutes who publish them?
How much does it cost to produce and maintain a safety standard? There's probably legitimate full-time work for an editor to compile and manage these standards in each field, there's also probably committee work involved in revising the standards and incorporating new knowledge.
I wonder if open access / uncharged access, in the absence of a government grant, is really the best approach? e.g. Music piracy does hurt the bottom line of artists who only publish studio albums (and more so their labels who fund a cohort of artists on the grounds that not all will achieve commercial success), however artists can compensate for the loss of income from record sales by touring, accepting piracy as free advertising for their more entertaining live shows.
I can't see a safety standard going on tour to make up for lost sales to piracy, and I also think that standards for safe buildings and electrical wiring, medical equipment, etc. have an importance beyond the next Miley Cyrus album. If piracy of safety standards is effective and causes the maintenance of current safety standards to become uneconomical, who actually gains in the long run?
If paid music production stopped or diminished, life would go on. It's not essential that we have music. If the system that produces safety standards go bust, we'll impoverish our society in the long run, or, if we want to maintain publication of safety standards in an age where they can't be sold to the public, we'll end up shifting the cost onto the tax payer.
I wonder, from the many 'disruptive' activities that one could engage in, is disrupting the economics of publishing safety standards a particularly wise target?