Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "One of the most important public safety laws in Europe is Dir. 2001/95/EC which regulates general product safety. Public.Resource.Org, in our ongoing quest to make legally-mandated public safety codes available, purchased the German instantiation of 40 of these essential codes and made them available on the Internet. Every country in the EU is required to implement and publish these standards.
"Imagine our surprise when we were served notice to appear in Hamburg District Court in Germany."
You can read the docket here, but some of the highlights are that not only is Public.Resource.Org being sued, but “the person of” Carl Malamud is being sued in an individual capacity. The code people are asking for €50,000 in damages. Additional fines of €250,000 are being requested and, if I can't pay, a maximum total period of detention of two years is possible. I am very pleased to say that the premier German public interest law firm, iRights.Law, will be representing us. The iRights.Law group, and their affiliate iRights.Info, play a similar role to that of EFF in the United States and I'm very grateful for their help.
The code people picked 4 specific standards to sue on, including—believe it or not—the EU-mandated standard DIN EN 1400-1, “Child use and care articles - Soothers for babies and young children - Part 1: General safety requirements and product information.”
That's right, we're being sued for the .DE standard for the safety of the Binky® and other brands of baby pacifiers. Before we posted this important safety standard, you could only read the document if you spent €103.90 for the .DE Binky Code, £140.00 for the .UK Binky Code, or €90.26 for the .FR Binky Code.
As the people suing us say in their press release about this important standard:
“Babies fall asleep faster when they can suck on a soother. However, the consequences could well be fatal if a child were to swallow its dummy. Safety requirements relating to the physical and chemical quality of soothers are dealt with in DIN EN 1400-1 ff. Soothers wishing to conform to this standard must have a shield with at least two holes allowing the baby to continue to breathe in the event of the soother becoming lodged in its mouth.”
Sounds kind of important, don't you think?
The standards we posted for product safety from Germany are just one of several such collections we've posted that are mandated by the European Union:
* From Bulgaria, we've posted the EU-mandated standards for agricultural and forest machinery as well as train safety and interoperability.
* From France, the EU-mandated standards for toy safety and green packaging.
* From Ireland, the EU-mandated standards for medical implants.
* From Italy, the EU-mandated standards for food processing machinery.
* From Latvia, the EU-mandated standards for earth-moving machinery, garden equipment, and hand-held tools.
* From Serbia, the EU-mandated standards for personal protective equipment.
* From the United Kindom, all UK national annexes to the Eurocode and crucial standards for the safety of baby carriages and access to buildings by disabled people.
* The entire EU-mandated building code, the Eurocode, which has been transformed into valid HTML with SVG graphics and properly-encoded mathematical formulas.
Citizens of the world have the right to read the public safety codes that govern the safety of our modern technical society. Our work in Europe joins the complete collection of standards from India and our extensive collection of US-mandated public safety standards at the Federal and state levels, as well as numerous standards from around the world. Our goal is that all of the standards that are required by law become available to the citizens of the world so that the rule of law becomes real for all of us. You can't require a license to speak the law, you shouldn't have to have a credit card to read the law.
Be an informed citizen. Copy that code.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.