American Society for Testing and Materials v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc.

State and federal regulations often incorporate standards set by private organizations. (For instance, if you’re operating a tank barge with a liquid overfill protection system, you’re going to need to know what the National Fire Protection Association has to say on the topic.) Copies of the standards cost anything from $25 to $200, but Public.Resource.Org scans them and puts them on the internet for free (and often makes them easier to read). Copyright infringement? D.C. Circuit: Private ownership of documents necessary to determine legal standards raises serious constitutional concerns. But we need not address that issue, as we find that publication of the standards may be fair use—and therefore allowed even if the standards are copyrighted. Concurrence: Ah, the Caligula model.

Tags: 2018, Copyright Law, D.C. Circuit, Intellectual Property

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