Publishing America's for-pay, private laws - legal piracy


22 Responses to “Publishing America's for-pay, private laws - legal piracy”

  1. inkfumes says:

    “Standard Test Method for Dissolved Hexavalent Chromium in Water by Ion Chromatography”…. now that is some easy morning readin’.

  2. CLamb says:

    The entire standards business is paradoxical.  Just off the top of my head I know ISO, ANSI, SMPTE, and the IEEE are among the organizations which charge for printed or electronic copies of their standards.  The money is needed to help finance the standards process.  Yet, the whole idea of standards is for EVERYONE to use them.  To be compatible with this objective they should be available at no or nominal cost.  How should standards organizations be financially supported without charging for copies of the standards?

    • pKp says:

      By the State ?
      With a clever pricing-scheme ? (i.e. dependent on business size, free for individuals)

      That’s just off the top of my head. I’m sure these guys can come up with a better solution. 

      • EH says:

        Absolutely they can come up with a better solution, unless they’re lying about all those science and engineering degrees on their resumes.

    • Some of those of course aren’t standards organisations but organisations that also handle standards. It makes funding a difficult question, I’m a member of IEEE and pay fees for my membership but that has nothing to do with industry standards.

    • John Birch says:

      You might equally ask who pays to publish and promulgate all the other laws? Could that not be the government? Isn’t it one of the most core features of a government that it is responsible for the laws of the land?

  3. Sarge Misfit says:

    Another fine example of government transparency at work for all of us.

  4. Jim Saul says:

    Fantastic work. Excellent targeting. While there are certainly many other “plundercrat” private monopolies of public necessities, I can think of few so indefensible as those you are taking on here.

    The old saying about “law and sausages” has found its Upton Sinclair.

  5. Cowicide says:

    I feel like it’s my patriotic duty to NOT obey corrupt, for-pay, private laws unless I’m personally located on the private property of the mansions of the specific people who paid for them.  Everywhere else I’m located, they can go to f’n hell.

  6. nixiebunny says:

    It gets worse. You may or may not be familiar with spec sheets, those one-page things that manufacturers write to include in your engineering or architectural documents that ensure that your vendor’s products will be required to be used. Same thing with standards. What’s to stop a manufacturer of certain safety items to lobby the standards org. to require that their products be used whenever a certain type of construction is used?

    It’s a lot like the DSM authors and pill makers working in collusion.

  7. John Birch says:

    Hmmm…. laws made by unelected officials with no public oversight which you can break without knowing because you do not know, and cannot find out, what they are.

    I am trying to decide – is this more like something from a totalitarian dictatorship, or Franz Kafka?

    • Pope Bubba I says:

      Definitely Kafka…

      A totalitarian dictatorship wouldn’t allow the (rather funny) mockery of it’s attempts to influence the unwashed masses…

      I mean, can you picture what would have happened in Stalin-era Russia if the opposition (such as it was) did stuff like mock “Ask Lenin” or “Lenin in History”?

  8. powerofslack says:

    Thanks for the strong work!  I didn’t see a torrent link.   Can we get one?  Can I make one and post the link in the comments?  Thanks again.

  9. jnordb says:

    I can’t speak for other standards, but I’ve been dealing with the National Electrical Code (NFPA) for the last 20 years. New editions are released every three years. There are always new additions; but every code cycle, sections are rewritten, locations of information changed, or articles are reorganized. Many of these changes are adopted for the sake of “simplifying,” but are probably unnecessary.  I’m all for keeping the Code current, but sometimes I’m convinced that some of the changes are made simply for the sake of making changes. Oh, and the first copy I bought personally was the ’93 NEC for $25. The 2011 NEC lists for $82 and change on Amazon.  I understand that costs have gone up since then, but really….

  10. kurt says:

    I work in oil refinery design.  All of the standards are developed by the API / ISO standards bodies.  They are also incredibly expensive for individuals to access to the general public.  I completely agree with making them all public.

    • Pope Bubba I says:

      Indeed. They might allow the public to begin to understand what people mean by “cost of doing business”…  Regulations can, in rare cases, do good.  They can also harm in a variety of ways.

  11. noah django says:

    Hell yeah, make the standards public!  Better yet, sic the dogs on them if they don’t.

  12. MauiJerry says:

    I posted a link to this on a discussion group and someone came back asking “can you point out a “real example” of one of these documents that was NOT actually “public” before he released them?

    I ask because a friend of mine went and double checked a few of the reference points, and he found a bunch of these docs were in fact “online”, or available with out the fee.  I just want something more concrete as evidence.”For example the National Electrical Code mentioned above is freely available online in several forms… see references at:

    • Carl Malamud says:

       About half the docs were behind a paywall and viewable at all. About a quarter were viewable, but on a crippleware site. About a quarter were viewable in various locations, some more visible than others. The NFPA publishes the National Electrical Code, and that fits in the middle cataegory: they’ve done a good job on their site and we’ve also had it up on ours since 2007 … that’s the two versions listed in the Wikipedia article.

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