Public safety codes are now free online for all

Rogue archivist Carl Malamud writes, "As a so-called rogue archivist, I'm not often the bearer of good news, so I thought folks might be cheered by 3 very positive developments on the open standards front."

  • A few years ago, Public Resource posted Australian building codes and received a rather sharply-worded rejoinder demanding we remove said codes from said Internet. We politely declined, but I was definitely sweating that one. So, it was such a delight to find out recently that the Australian Building Codes Board found open religion and is now giving away the code to anybody who wants it. They even sent us CAD and .ai files for illustrations, plus the InDesign xml master files and told us to knock ourselves out. A big huzzah for our friends Down Under. This is the future of building codes.
  • Public Resource is also undergoing litigation in the German courts over our posting the text of the EU-specified baby pacifier safety standard. We're appealing the initial judgment against me and Public Resource, but the question of making the law public has gone beyond the courts and has been a subject of heated debate in Europe and it I'm thrilled to report that the Parliament in the Netherlands has passed an important new legislative requirement that all standards mandated by law must be made freely available. My second big huzzah is thus for the people of the House of Orange, who have long set the standard for open in Europe.
  • My own work on the question of public safety standards began in my home state of California ten years ago when I founded Public Resource. We started with the 2007 code cycle of public safety codes and have continued to make the building, electrical, plumbing, fire, and other safety codes available. For the current 2016 code cycle, we have all but one up on the Internet Archive. What's impressive this time is that our government, the Building Standards Commission of California, has made great progress themselves in making the laws available, and their web site now features links to almost all the 2016 codes! For example, here's links to the clueful versions of the building, electric, energy, and fire codes. My third big huzzah is for my home state of California.

Public Resource is facing judgment in 5 district court actions on 3 continents over our right (your right!) to post legally-mandated public safety codes for you to read, but on sunny days like today I like to think maybe we have history on our side. If a law isn't public, it isn't a law. Hear, hear.

California Building Standards Code (Title 24, California Code of Regulations)

[California Building Standards Commission]