Why not make 'standards' free?

Should 'Standards' Be Free?

  • Good and Possible

    Votes: 24 72.7%
  • Good but impossible for following reasons... (post)

    Votes: 8 24.2%
  • Bad, because... (post)

    Votes: 1 3.0%
  • ... History does not bear subjunctive mood ...

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters

Anton Ovsianko

Hello all!

I have a question, maybe a rhitoric one:

Why does not ISO publish the standards free of charge? At least the ones concerning management systems.

There is a thing I never could understand: why do they claim that they want the ISO 9000 (a.o.) be promoted as broadly as possible, and at the same time prohobit publishing it on the web. Isn't it illogical?

I know I know!... they also have to make their living. But why should an international organization promoting standards to facilitate international business act as a commerical entity? there must be other ways to finance its activities. Maybe the most logical is - funding from participants.

My view of how it should have been organized is as follows:

There is an international organization established by many countries or many entities in many countries. Its basic goal is convergence of standardization systems in different countries, creation of international standards to facilitate and simplify development of international business.

This organiztion is financed by its members (no matter countries or organizations).

The money is spent for development and promotion of standards.

The standards are published free on the web and sold in paper form (to cover costs). So, companies (or other interested parties) will be able to read the necessary standards and see if they are applicable to their business and could be useful.

Do you think it could be possible or good? theoretically...

Please, vote and comment...


Ken K

gpainter nailed it...

Interesting concept...highly unlikely.

Quality carries a price and this is one of them.

GM recently adapted many ISO test methods into their specifications. The only problem was they could not freely distribute those methods without the threat of legal action from ISO. Just another expense to please the customer.

But then again, how many copies of ISO procedures are exchanged freely everyday on the net. Not a problem if you don't get caught.

Free is a good thing...just doesn't happen very often.
Free standards

I voted "impossible" for the following reason. I may be way off base here (I have no legal background).

If the standard was "free" could not anyone revise it? Years ago (I was not yet a teen), a newspaper guy told me that newspapers do not make money by charging for the paper. They do that only because copyright laws are unenforceable if you don't charge for the publication. If it is free there can be no financial damage. If there is no financial damage, then copyright doesn't apply.


Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource

Perhaps what you say is true, I'm no lawyer either, but as pointed out earlier the Baldrige criteria are free. Furthermore, if this were the concern could they not just charge $5 or something as opposed to the roughly $100 I think I paid?

I think they are probably so beauracratic and laden with expenses that they need to charge the big bucks. In reality, no company is going to go broke spending $100 on the standards. I'd let any non-profit org. get them for free or at reduced cost if I were in charge, though. Yeah, I'd prefer free for everyone but in the end someone is always going to end-up paying -- the members, taxpayers or users -- and I think the taxpayers should not have to pay on this one. JMHO

Al Dyer

Let's see,

The U.S. government, home of capitalism, profit, and greed gives the Baldridge away free.

The E.U. (ISO) home of socialism and human harmony, togetherness, and oneness, charges for an ISO book.

I must be dillusional as I see it should be the other way around!;)

Anton Ovsianko

Dear Dave B.,

I would support what Mike and Al say.

Why should we speak of copiright If we take that the standards are disseminated for free? Why should we prohibit free copying them. There must be one official text - indentified as official - to avoid misunderstanding and confusion.
There not less respected and popular models like Baldridge, which ARE free. Nobody bothers of copyright publishing them on the web.

What concerns taxpayers issue, Mike, why should then not pay for the standards. I hold than in ALL countries taxpayers finance things significantly less useful for them. The standards are meant to facilitate industries development and perfection, which can and should also contribute to quality of taxpayers life.

The issue of ISO standards role in the economy is off-topic. it could be discussed in another thread.



Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
Trusted Information Resource

I will agree that taxpayers often finance things significantly less useful than the ISO standards, but two wrongs don't make a right. I would still suggest that businesses everywhere should pay their own way on this one. Again, it is only about $100 -- which should not be a burden for any company that needs to use ISO 9001. If it is a burden for some small company, they can still go to a library (at least in the US) and borrow books with the standard in it for reference. But as I said, if I were ISO I would offer discounts for non-profit organizations. Just my opinion.
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