Tech spec experts seek allies to tear down ISO standards paywall
Open letter drafted against what's seen as unjustified profiteering

Many of the almost 24,000 technical standards maintained by the International Standards Organization (ISO) are subject to copyright restrictions and are not freely available.

Two weeks ago, Jon Sneyers, senior image researcher at Cloudinary and co-chair of the JPEG XL (ISO/IEC 18181) adhoc group, invited fellow technical experts to collaborate on an open letter urging the ISO to set its standards free.

In an email to The Register, Sneyers explained that paywalled, copyrighted standards inhibit education and innovation.

These are standards that also reduce the cost of doing business, and which allow for various systems to interconnect with each other, for safety, and much more. It is actually crazy that they are not freely available for use. Even various ISO standards for free and open software protocols are hidden behind this paywall.


#technology #ISO #openstandards #paywall #standards


I think that if you want to make an universall standard, the starting point is that it should be free


While there is validity in criticizing the ISO standards paywall, there’s no reason why an open standards could not be created. My employer has their own custom standards used internally which are often modified from an ISO standard.


That is a great idea, but unfortunately will have extreme difficulty getting it’s outcome products approved for sale in any physical engineering disciplines.

If it gained enough respectable traction however, that could change!


I work for a company that pioneered some of the information collected in the ISO standards. We also have our own proprietary standards and manufacturers produce according to those standards. Hardware we designed is heavily used in the the industrial sector as well as the transportation industry. I think the real reason you won’t see an open standard is that it cost money to manage and maintain those standards. One example is that RHOS compliance led to companies purging hexavalent Chromium plating from their designs for environmental reasons. Someone has to incorporate or update a standard that defines what will replace it. As long as there are reputable people creating the standards, I don’t see why it could not be done.

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