For more than a century, voluntary codes and standards created by nonprofit organizations such as the International Code Council have protected public health, safety and security, constituted a backbone of commerce, provided the building blocks for innovation, and served as the basis for quality and interoperability.

The International Codes, model building codes used in the U.S. and throughout the world, are developed by the Code Council in conjunction with government and private entities. This system of code development provides the highest level of building safety in the world.

Copyright protection is critical to the continuation of this private sector led system. The Code Council and other standards developing organizations support their codes and standards development activities through revenues derived from the publication, sale and licensing of standards – primarily to the regulated industries that use them – which is made possible by the protection of copyright law.

This system operates with openness, transparency and balance, and has been highly effective in protecting public health and safety. Without copyright protection for codes and standards, resource-limited government agencies would have to undertake the difficult and expensive task of trying to replicate the current system.

International Code Council v. UpCodes

The International Code Council has asked a federal court to stop UpCodes, a for-profit company, from violating the Code Council’s copyright by illegally selling access to the building codes ICC has developed.

The lawsuit was filed to prevent UpCodes from attempting to make a profit for its owners and investors by taking – without paying for – building codes that the Code Council invests substantial resources to create and update. These codes are essential to promoting safety and consistency across the U.S. and the international jurisdictions that adopt them, thereby saving lives, time and money.

Public safety remains at the core of our nonprofit mission. As the developer of the model codes, viewers are assured that they have access to the latest, most accurate version of the codes through our free online building codes site. For those that need premium access, we have an enhanced online version designed for industry participants.

The Code Council is proud to work with a number of innovative third parties that provide access to our codes and standards. Unfortunately, UpCodes has never sought such a license, deciding instead to take our codes to develop a for-profit business, and putting the current system of protecting building safety in jeopardy.

To learn more about the lawsuit and the importance of copyright protection to our communities, visit the links below.

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