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In a victory for those supporting open access to technical specifications, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday vacated injunctions [PDF] that prohibited Public.Resource.Org (PRO) from publishing copyrighted technical standards online.
The appeals court reversed a partial grant of summary judgement against the non-profit organization and returned the case to the US District Court for the District of Columbia to decide whether PRO's distribution of technical standards qualifies for the fair use defense against copyright claims.
PRO - Domain - Advocate - Carl - Malamud
PRO, run by public domain advocate Carl Malamud, gathers and publishes various government documents to make them more easily accessible. These include rules created and copyrighted by private standards organizations that get incorporated into federal law.
An example might be the technical specifications for the power source a tank barge would need to run the cargo tank’s legally required liquid overfill protection system.
Power - Source - Court - Ruling - Plug
The required power source, as described in the court ruling, turns out to be "a 120-volt, 20-ampere explosion-proof plug that meets ... NFPA 70, Articles 406.9 and 501-145."
This rule was developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a private organization, and incorporated into the National Electrical Code.
Hundreds - Standards - Order - Rules - Public
PRO purchased and uploaded hundreds of these technical standards from 2012 to 2014, in order to make the rules available to the public at no charge and to make them more accessible, through text-to-speech readers, for example.
It was sued for intellectual property violations in mid-2013 by American Society for Testing and...
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