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  • Writer's pictureJosh Waterston

Copying Technical Standards Referenced in Laws Held to Be Fair Use by D.C. Court of Appeals

Updated: Jan 26

In American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc., the D.C. Court of Appeals held on Sept. 12, 2023 that "Public Resource’s copying of material [217 industry standards] incorporated by reference into law, for free dissemination to the public, was fair use." This is likely not the last word on this subject*: the case began in 2013, was appealed, then stayed pending the Supreme Court's decision in the 2020 case of Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org (which held that annotated versions of state laws were not restricted by copyright). (h/t Fred Wilf)

"Public  Resource  posts standards  that  government  agencies have incorporated into law — no more and no less. If an agency has  given  legal  effect  to  an  entire  standard,  then its  entire reproduction  is  reasonable  in  relation  to  the  purpose  of  the copying,  which  is  to  provide  the  public  with  a  free  and comprehensive repository of the law." (from D.C. Court of Appeals opinion by Judge Katsas, September 12, 2023)

You can read the opinion on our site or on the court's site.

Opinion - ANSI v. PublicResource
Download ORG • 206KB

*Update January 25, 2024: My prediction notwithstanding, the case was not appealed to the Supreme Court.


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