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) 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 safety.

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.