Re: HTML Documents (SGML text)

lilley (
Mon, 15 May 95 11:38:20 EDT

James D Mason said:

> The text of ISO 8879:1986 is, like that of all ISO standards, held under
> copyright and so is not available the way Internet RFCs is available.

That is an entirely spurious argument. The copyright status of a
document is not changed by putting it online. I have many documents on my
server which are copyright.

> There is
> no distributable electronic copy of the standard, not even for those of
> us on the committee responsible for maintaining it.

Or those who might want to actually use it. Some might consider this
lack a disadvantage; I certainly do.

> (ISO makes their money from
> selling copies of their standards.)

That is the sole reason that ISO standards are not available online, as
far as I can see. ISO is more concerned to make money than to ensure
that their standards are useful and widely used.

They seem to believe that placing standards online would lessen their
income. This is IMHO a mistaken view. Those people who currently fork
out large sums of money for bound copies of ISO standards do so because
they need to refer to the standard on a frequent basis. I suggest that
they would continue to do so, if the document was online, because a
bound printed version is handier for frequent reference.

But if ISO standards were online, smaller developers and hobbyists would
also have the opportunity to make their programs standards compliant.
This would not reduce ISO's income, because these people would never
have paid out for a standard they only need want to have occasional use
of. These extra users would help make the standard more pervasive, which
might actually increase the number of people buying the printed version.

I feel that ISO needs to take a fresh look at it's priorities and
possibly re-evaluate some of it's decisions, which I believe seriously
jeapordise the uptake of ISO standards.

James: feel free to pass these comments on to relevant people in ISO

Chris Lilley, Technical Author
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