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RE: Re: Building Codes/US Supreme Court

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I imagine that every standard development organization is awaiting the
outcome of this item with bated breathe. Many stand to lose substantial
income -- if not their entire income stream -- if the Veeck decision stands.
My guess is the issue will come before the Supreme Court at some point as
there is a lot at stake for several very prominent organizations. For
example, I received an appeal from ASCE/SEI the other week seeking my
support and action in OPPOSITION to Veeck.

>From a moment-in-time (read: immediate gratification) perspective for the
consumer of standards, it's a fabulous thing because it would seem to
promise to put a lot of the standards for which we all pay into the public
domain (read: make them free). But from a long-term perspective, it may just
create devastating voids in code development where SDOs do not have other
means by which to support that necessary activity.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out -- and how the SDOs evolve
as a result.

Charlie





-----Original Message-----
From: Christopher Wright [mailto:chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2003 3:34 PM
To: SEAOC Newsletter
Subject: Fwd: Re: Building Codes/US Supreme Court


Anyone seen this? Can you elaborate?

"Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal

Volume: 64 Number: 1577

June 14, 2002
 Privately Drafted Model Codes Are Not Copyrightable When Enacted Into Law

Privately authored model codes solicited to the government and enacted 
into law are not entitled to copyright protection, the en banc U.S. Court 
of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held June 7 (Veeck v. Southern Building 
Code Congress International Inc., 5th Cir., No. 99-40632, en banc 
decision 6/7/02).

Reversing a panel ruling that affirmed a summary judgment for the 
copyright owner, the 8-6 decision relied on the long-standing principle 
that "the law" may not be subject to exclusive rights that can interfere 
with public access. The court also found that model codes become "facts" 
when enacted, and are therefore not subject to copyright protection under 
the merger doctrine. In dissenting opinions, Judge Jacques L. Wiener Jr. 
complained that the majority's holding enacts a blanket, per se rule that 
fails to take account of the private authorship here, and Judge Patrick 
Higginbotham noted that the record fails to support a claim that public 
access to the laws was hampered."

http://ipcenter.bna.com/pic2/ip.nsf/c9136ec2a0a6115985256a0f0012e350/e06813
3c1


Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)
http://www.skypoint.com/~chrisw


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