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Selling/licensing of standards

Selling/licensing of standards

RE: Selling/licensing of standards

The idea is definitely not new.

The rather lengthy preface to many of IS (Indian Standards):

Quote (IS)

Disclosure to Promote the Right To Information
Whereas the Parliament of India has set out to provide a practical regime of right to
information for citizens to secure access to information under the control of public authorities,
in order to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority,
and whereas the attached publication of the Bureau of Indian Standards is of particular interest
to the public, particularly disadvantaged communities and those engaged in the pursuit of
education and knowledge, the attached public safety standard is made available to promote the
timely dissemination of this information in an accurate manner to the public.

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

RE: Selling/licensing of standards

How did it strike your nerve?

My opinion of published standards is that they are a good quality product that have evolved into a racket. There are so many standards circulating in the specs that I review, I'll bet I only have access to the current copy of 1/10th of them. I've bought standards before for hundreds and even thousands of dollars only to find the content to be way too advanced, way too simple, or completely irrelevant to my needs.

Just to rub salt in the wound, when I do take the plunge, my options are to buy a locked PDF that produces a whole host of issues, or wait days to get my paper copy. Sometimes that's the entire bid window. Perhaps the worst is when the standard I bought and waited to receive simply refers me to buy a whole list of standards (thanks EN).

I have to say if you're going to make them free, you have to ensure there is still funding to keep the development of standards going. The Indian government is, in many cases, copying standards developed in other parts of the world. We can't all pirate the content and still have content.

RE: Selling/licensing of standards

I get the impression based solely upon reviewing many revisions of the same standard that ASTM updates them at the slightest change significant enough to necessitate their subscribers/users to pay for the update. hairpull3

RE: Selling/licensing of standards

The majority of standards have their development paid for by volunteers, usually those who are selling a product or see some other direct benefit from their participation. There is some cost to making a professional looking document, but I suspect that aspect is oversold.

Examples - I know that there are MIL-SPEC connectors where the spec was entirely developed by the electrical connector company and essentially delivered to the DoD so that those connectors could be used in the industry. The give-away is that a number of secondary characteristics that are useful to know when doing the mechanical design for their installation are missing; there is enough to specify mating interoperability, but not enough to build a drop-in replacement. Those MIL-SPECs were maintained by the DoD and distributed at cost or for free; many are now sold at a premium with limited meaningful improvements.

Screw threads got standardized because a guy was selling the gauge wires to measure them - without standard threads one could not sell standard gauge wires and standard charts.

ASME started as a sellers group of boiler makers who wanted to exclude the shoddy fabricators who were damaging their business by having explosions and killing people.

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