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Hi all,I worked as an architect for a few years and was frustrated with the lack of tools to help navigate all the code. I helped start UpCodes to build products to help in the compliance workflow.
We host building codes as part of the services we offer to architects, other industry professionals, and homeowners.
The ICC brought a lawsuit against us which we have been defending for over a year. This lawsuit threatens our ability to innovate and create products that make industry more efficient. It threatens our ability to freely discuss and operate on the codes that control the design and construction of every project throughout the country.
TechCrunch has done a great job to cover the lawsuit: https://techcrunch.com/2019/04/09/can-the-law-be-copyrighted/
As a background: we are working on two products: UpCodes Web aggregates codes, integrates local amendments, and provides a search engine. UpCodes AI looks at Revit model to automatically flag code issues.
You can help by by spreading the word - either sharing the article above or our advocacy page.
Something certainly should be done. We had a presentation locally when the 2017 ICC/Florida Building Code was adopted. The facilitator asked if anyone knew how much it would cost for an architect to fully equip his office with all codes and standards. Most answered around $10K. The actual cost is closer to $65K, the cost of a mid-level employee here in Florida. Replacing some of the codes and standards every three years does cost a fortune.
Greg Burke, FAIA, NCARB
2019-2020 AIA Florida State Director
2018 American Institute of Architects College of Fellows
2017 AIA Florida Pullara Award Winner
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Forgive my vagueness of memory, but I recollect that, in a majority opinion by Justice Breyer a few years ago that may have related to the constitutionality of FISA, he said "if it's not public, it's not a law". I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that this decision has much bearing on the case in point. You can't privatize the law. It is a good that is and must remain firmly in the public domain.
The business model of the ICC, NFPA, ASTM, etc. of obtaining compensation for the services they provide by restricting access to their model codes beyond the point at which such are adopted into the public law seems, in this light, fundamentally erroneous. No doubt the services they provide are important – one might say essential – to the efficient functioning of government regulation, and should be compensated by the commonwealth that enjoys them. That there is currently no practical mechanism for directly compensating this cost of government is a flaw in the law arising from the political philosophy currently prevailing. It cannot be papered over by placing the burden of compensation on citizens severally instead of society jointly. The current debate emerges from the attempt to do so.
There remains the question of whether any such direct compensation actually exists and, if it does, whether it is adequate to or commensurate with the service these organizations provide. I have not seen any statement of such compensation in the current thread. If anyone has this information it would be beneficial to the discussion.
Thinking about this some more.... what about city, state, and federal laws? Are they copyrighted? Can we not cut/paste the entire document like the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution? If a company wants to bundle that up in a book or digital format for the consumer, then the consumer should be able to "purchase" that for a fee if they wish if it's more convenient. That's great then right? So, ICC sticks with paper text, CD"s, yada yada, because they have no competition or incentive to make a better product to sell. But, then someone new comes along and has a more innovative way to search that material then they cry foul for copyright issues when they don't even own the material? I'm seeing someone whining about "special privileges" because now they're concerned about the monopoly they've had on this material.
Again, my two cents...
------------------------------Adam HockleyAssoc. AIABartlett Cocke General ContractorsSan Antonio TX------------------------------
------------------------------Adam HockleyAssoc. AIABartlett Cocke General ContractorsSan Antonio TXOriginal Message:Sent: 04-09-2019 20:27From: Scott ReynoldsSubject: Can the Law Be Copyrighted?
The funding mechanism for code updates should be that the entities creating the law should be the ones who pay the fee to the ICC. ie: cities, counties or states who stipulate the ICC codes. Base the fee on the population of the last census. They recoup the expense by tacking a code fee onto the building permit when issued. ( if they are smart, they will price it to make money off the arrangement).
Those entities could than post the codes on their web sites with any local changes noted in italics or other distinguishable means?? The actual code would than be available without charge to anyone who wants to look at, make copies of sections, or use any current or past version of the code.
-- THE ARCHITECT Bruce R Glass AIA 305 N. Main, Garden City, KS 67846 Phone: 620.271.0852 email@example.com