Read-only, user-monitored portal to ANSI’s IBR standards launched

Last week, ANSI launched its Incorporation by Reference (IBR) Portal. The website “provides a one-stop mechanism for access to standards that have been incorporated by reference in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). These standards incorporated by the U.S. government in rulemakings are offered at no cost in ‘read only’ format and are presented for online reading. There are no print or download options.”

OK, it’s a “one-stop mechanism” to do one thing, namely read online. Apparently the sky will fall if ANSI offered free print and download options. Quoting from the Oct. 28, 2013 press release:

“In all of our discussions about the IBR issue, the question we are trying to answer is simple. Why aren’t standards free? In the context of IBR, it’s a valid point to raise,” said S. Joe Bhatia, ANSI president and CEO. “A standard that has been incorporated by reference does have the force of law, and it should be available. But the blanket statement that all IBR standards should be free misses a few important considerations.”

As coordinator of the U.S. standardization system, ANSI has taken a lead role in informing the public about the reality of free standards, the economics of standards setting, and how altering this infrastructure will undermine U.S. competitiveness. Specifically, the loss of revenue from the sale of standards could negatively impact the business model supporting many SDOs – potentially disrupting the larger U.S. and international standardization system, a major driver of innovation and economic growth worldwide. In response to concerns raised by ANSI members and partner organizations, government officials, and other stakeholders, ANSI began to develop its IBR Portal, with the goal of providing a single solution to this significant issue that also provides SDOs with the flexibility they require to safeguard their ability to develop standards.

IBR standards hosted on the portal are available exclusively as read-only files. In order to protect the intellectual property rights of the groups holding these standards’ copyrights, the portal has built in security features that prevent users from printing, downloading, or transferring any of the posted standards; in addition, screenshots will be disabled and the standards will contain an identifying watermark.

Do note the following registration requirements:

You must register to view READ-ONLY documents posted on this site.

Please note that registration is for a single browsing session. Users who return to the site in another session or on another day will need to fill out the registration form again.

Smells like tracking usage of online IBR standards that have the force of law by specific users to me. Perhaps the SDO business model should be changed. — Joe

One thought on “Read-only, user-monitored portal to ANSI’s IBR standards launched

  1. Carl Malamud (@carlmalamud) November 6, 2013 at 1:28 pm Reply

    Hi –

    They will indeed be monitoring usage and reporting on that. In addition, many of the SDOs are using the mandatory registration/monitoring as an upsell opportunity, e.g., they will be spamming you to buy a variety of products and services.

    Page 5, the section entitled “Incorporation by Reference”, last sentence explains how ANSI will be reporting on what you read to folks overseas:

    http://publicaa.ansi.org/sites/apdl/Documents/Standards%20Activities/International%20Standardization/IEC/USNC%20COUNCIL/USNC%20COUNCIL%20576%20Minutes.pdf

    United States National Committee of the IEC, Document USNC Council 576, 13 August 2013.

    Apparently, if you want to read the law, you must agree to be monitored carefully as this is a dangerous activity. What if everybody were to read the law willy-nilly?

    Carl

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