Public Resource is being sued for publishing building standards that the public is legally required to follow. These standards were developed by private-sector industry bodies who make millions off of access fees charged to the public. In other words, a large block of American law is privately owned, secret, and accessible only for a fee. Three Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) are suing and they've released a statement to the media explaining why the law should not be free for all.
The SDOs underwrite the substantial costs of developing standards, in whole or in significant part, by relying on revenues from the sales and licensing of their copyrighted standards. This funding model allows SDOs to remain independent of special interests and to develop up-to-date, high quality standards.
An article in the Washington Post's Wonkblog by Lydia DePillis delves more deeply into the issue:
There are various pieces of administrative precedent and case law in different courts that support either side. Essentially, though, it’s a question of principle vs. practicality: Code is law, Malamud says, and it’s owned by the public. But good code is also expensive, the standards development groups maintain, and charging for copies is the least bad way to pay for it.
Last October, the Dr Seuss estate used legal threats to halt a wildly successful crowdfunded Seuss/Star Trek mashup called “Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go,” whose contributors included comics legend Ty Templeton and Tribbles creator David Gerrold.
Etsy seller Kooj of Northfield, NJ (everything is legal in New Jersey!) makes beautiful, well-reviewed handmade bathing suits, including a timely range of Wonder Woman suits: with skirts, bikinis, one-piece (closed back or peek-a-boo) and kids’ sizes, handwash cold water, XS to XXL, made to your measurements. (See also: Captain America)
When MEP Julia Reda conducted a wide-ranging and open consultation on updating EU copyright, she came up with some great, sensible reforms: making it legal to take pictures of buildings, making it legal to link to newspapers, creating a Europe-wide set of fair dealing exceptions to copyright, capping copyright terms at life-plus-50 years, and making […]
The Bragi Dash Truly Wireless Smart Earphones are far more than your run of the mill Bluetooth earbuds. While the earpiece design makes these earbuds ideal for exercise and activity, and passive noise cancelling is conducive to a more serene listening experience, these buds go well beyond just playing music.First of all, they can actually […]
COGZ is a game where up to six players compete to see who can fix a mad scientist’s color-coded machine, and it’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.In this Mensa-endorsed tabletop game, players take turns laying gear tiles to connect like-colored segments. Points are scored when complex paths are finished, but your unfinished arrangements […]