Court grants summary judgment to standard development organizations working to preserve process vital to protecting the public
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Hon. Tanya S. Chutkan) has issued a ruling that will support federal, state and local governments’ efforts to support public health and safety through the use of voluntary consensus codes and standards. On February 2, the court granted a motion for summary judgment filed by a number of standard development organizations (SDOs), including the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), ASTM International and ASHRAE. The court’s ruling permanently enjoins Public.Resource.org from its previous systematic infringement of numerous SDO copyrighted codes and standards. The ruling vindicates the longstanding public-private partnership pursuant to which government entities may, if they choose, incorporate by reference high quality safety codes and standards.
“We are very pleased with the court’s thoughtful and well-reasoned decision, which recognizes the importance of a time-tested process that serves governments and individuals well and is vital to public health and safety,” said Jim Pauley, President of NFPA.
The history of not-for-profit SDOs developing voluntary consensus standards goes back more than a century. Governments, businesses, and individuals across the country rely on a wide variety of works, from product specifications and installation methods to safety codes and standards. SDOs, not resource-constrained governmental agencies, underwrite the substantial costs of developing standards.
“The court’s ruling means federal, state and local agencies can continue to rely on not-for-profit SDOs to develop voluntary consensus standards at the highest level of excellence and at minimal cost to government,” said Kathie Morgan, President, ASTM International.
SDOs pay for the standard development process and invest in new standards with the money earned selling and licensing their copyrighted works. This model allows SDOs to remain independent of special interests and to develop up-to-date, high-quality standards. It also allows the U.S. government – and governments at all levels – the freedom to decide whether to incorporate these standards by reference without a drain on their limited resources.
“We and many other SDOs already provide free online access to many standards as part of our commitment to safety,” said Timothy G. Wentz, President, ASHRAE Board of Directors. “And, preventing the infringement of copyrighted material will allow not-for-profit SDOs to continue meeting the needs of the people and jurisdictions we serve.”
For more information about this issue please visit http://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/standards-development-process/the-value-of-standards-development-organizations/benefits-of-sdos.
ASHRAE, founded in 1894, is a global society advancing human well-being through sustainable technology for the built environment. The Society and its more than 57,000 members worldwide focus on building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration and sustainability. Through research, standards writing, publishing, certification and continuing education, ASHRAE shapes tomorrow’s built environment today. More information can be found at www.ashrae.org/news.
About ASTM International
Over 12,000 ASTM standards operate globally. Defined and set by ASTM, those standards improve the lives of millions every day. ASTM standards enhance performance and help everyone have confidence in the things they buy and use – from the toy in a child’s hand to the aircraft overhead. Working across borders, disciplines and industries ASTM harnesses the expertise of over 30,000 members to create consensus and improve performance in manufacturing and materials, products and processes, systems and services.
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.
Inquiries: Lorraine Carli,NFPA, tel +1.617.984.7275
February 8, 2017