Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued its opinion in the case ASTM International v. Public.Resource.Org.
The Court was asked to consider whether online posting of building codes (and other standards) incorporated into the law by reference constitutes a fair use. Public Knowledge maintains that these standards, once incorporated into law, are no longer protectable by copyright, and filed an amicus brief with Library Futures, EveryLibrary, and Authors’ Alliance arguing this position. The Court of Appeals did not address whether or not these standards remained under copyright, but did hold that posting them online for nonprofit purposes constituted a fair use.
The following can be attributed to Meredith Rose, Senior Policy Counsel at Public Knowledge:
“Access to the law—no matter who originally drafted it—is a bedrock principle of our legal system. The Supreme Court upheld this in Georgia v Public.Resource.Org, and the D.C. Circuit reaffirmed it today. Although we wish the court had gone further in its analysis, we are glad to see that questionable copyright claims will not impede the public’s access to the law.
“The standards-setting bodies in this case are not victims of unhappy coincidence; their entire goal is to have their standards adopted into law. This is where bills like the PRO CODES Act—designed specifically to give these bodies more expansive control over who can access these codes, how, and for what price—miss the mark. A business model that can only exist at the expense of the public’s access to law is one that needs to be fundamentally reimagined.”
Members of the media may contact Communications Director Shiva Stella with inquiries, interview requests, or to join the Public Knowledge press list at email@example.com or 405-249-9435.