Friday, April 13, 2012
This week on the show, we're talking with Carl Malamud, open government advocate and director of public.resource.org. Malamud's interested in what are called "incorporation by reference." The phrase describes laws that have references to safety standards embedded in them. For instance, a law that says your car has to have turning signals will also include standards about how bright or how large the turn signals have to be. Malamud's gripe is that frequently, those standards are written by private companies, and those companies hold the copyright to the standards. That means that even though the standards are part of a law everyone has to follow, citizens have to pay -- sometimes several hundreds of dollars -- for the privilege of looking at them.