Three standards development organizations (SDOs) –
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), ASTM International (ASTM),
and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning
Engineers (ASHRAE) – have filed a lawsuit against Public.Resource.org
(Public Resource) to stop copyright infringement, ensure that the
development of the codes and standards in the United States are done at
the highest levels of excellence, and to protect public health and
For more than a century, both the private-sector as well as
government entities have relied on mission-driven, self-sustaining,
independent, not-for-profit SDOs to develop "voluntary consensus
standards.” 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.
According to the SDOs, Public Resource has been copying and uploading copyrighted standards developed by private sector SDOs, without the copyright owners’ authorization. The lawsuit does not seek monetary damages from Public Resource or its founder. It seeks simply to stop the illegal posting of copyright protected materials.