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UpCodes is being sued by ICC

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by Ryan Schultz, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. conarb

    conarb Registered User

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    Don't let the term non-profit influence you, no organization is more profitable than a non-profit because they don't have to pay taxes, all monies that would normally go to taxable profit can be retained within the corporation as retained earnings, a non-profit does have to pay reasonable taxable salaries to their employees and officers, but they can push the envelope on overhead expenses like fancy rents (like the ICC) or in many corporate jets, limos, etc. The IRS does have tough rules that have to be followed religiously, but only 7% of those retained assets has to be donated to charity on a yearly basis, and 7% is one Hell of a lot less than income taxes. The Clinton Foundation has broken every rule in the book as far as I can see and I've been waiting to see them prosecuted to see how far a non-profit can stretch the IRS regulations. I looked into it several years ago because here we have to pay either enormous affordable housing fees to the AHJ along with the permit, or build affordable housing along with what we set out to build, in one case I paid a $67,000 affordable housing fee for a million dollar room addition. One affordable housing builder I know has 7 differing non-profit corporations, the president pays himself a $100,000 a year salary out of each non-profit, so he does pay personal income taxes on $700,000 a year but his non-profits pay nothing,
     
  2. JCraver

    JCraver Sawhorse

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    Not to just be argumentative, but: very few Congressmen/Senators have ever written a bill that later becomes law by themselves, either. So, say their staffer writes a bill - should that staffer copyright the language in that bill before it is passed and becomes a law, and then be able to charge a fee for anyone to access it once it's codified? Or; I write a few ordinances/zoning clauses/etc for the City I work for. They're approved by the bosses, the attorney, and then get voted on by our Council. Can I copyright those ord's/clauses, and then charge the City and/or the residents to read/copy/paste them?

    Same thing.....
     
  3. mtlogcabin

    mtlogcabin Registered User

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    There are approximately 50 non-profit referenced standard groups in the IBC alone. I will bet many of them are not as financially sound as ICC or NFPA or UL or have other significant means of income to rely upon. These referenced standards are just as much a part of the code as the ICC code yet they are not all available online Free.
    Depending on the outcome of this case especially if it reaches the Supreme Court can drastically change the way codes are created. Courts base their decisions on law. I believe it is in everyone's best interest to work this out with out the courts being involved.
    I can see this as a win win for this company if they paid the various code and standard writing organizations a monthly royalty/fee since they are charging to use their site. This company could grow to be "Google" search engine for all codes
    and standards around the world if the would partner up instead of the way they got started and are currently operating.
     
  4. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    Much of the discussion is about what should be. The reality is that it is established that you cannot copyright the laws. Should we change the laws of the country so that ICC can continue to make a hefty profit.

    I am a member of a professional organization that while it does not write any standards spends considerable resources in trying to influence the building codes. In addition the members of the organization donate considerable time in support of these efforts.

    The reality is that standards will not go away if it is universally recognized that building codes do not have a copyright. The motivation to create and maintain building standards is not about the income from copyrights but rather is driven by the desire to influence the use of particular materials and products. This is clearly the motivation for the steel standards developed and maintained by AISC.

    One option would be for the adopting agency to pay a licensing fee when they adopt a standard. The jurisdiction could then add a charge to all building permits. The problem will be that many organizations that have been developing standards and allowing them to be freely used will be tempted to ask reimbursement of costs that they have preciously absorbed.

    If ICC were to raise the dues of jurisdictions then they would not be dependent on the income from selling copies of the standards. Remember if ICC did not publish the IBC the jurisdiction would spend considerably more money in developing a local building code.
     
  5. conarb

    conarb Registered User

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    Mark:

    So far two Circuit Courts disagree with you and one does not, nobody wants to see the corrupt ICC fail more than I do, but the Supreme Court has to resolve a conflict in the circuits, why they refused to do so before is the question, the question is why? And what will it do when it comes up again?
     
  6. Inspector Gift

    Inspector Gift Sawhorse - Made in USA

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    It may not be the contractors. Our local libraries have stopped carrying the code books. The Director claimed that they are not used enough to jusify the costs of replacing them every 3 years, or the even the space all of the code books required on their packed shelves.
    They donated all of them to our department.
     
    #26 Inspector Gift, Apr 12, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  7. tmurray

    tmurray Registered User

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    Just to add to this, there are many laws that are written by a special interest group, then given to politicians to bring to their government. Similarly, the special interest groups are supported by their interest holders. Citizen groups, trade unions, manufacturer's etc. pay membership dues and this is what they do with the money.

    Regardless of the revenue structure, ICC will make money and someone will pay for it.
     
  8. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    Public access is met With internet access through ICC and Many States (CA as an example, https://www.dgs.ca.gov/BSC/Codes ) Hard copies in libraries are stone age technology, and with constant errata and supplements issued, who maintains the hard copies at those libraries.

    What I like with the UpCodes is it is copy-able so you can cut and paste. without paying the ICC for that right,
     
  9. Rick18071

    Rick18071 Sawhorse

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    This gives me an idea. On my way to copyright the Constitution.
     
  10. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    Useless
    Our lawmakers don't read or follow it. Just look at current Politicians, on both sides.
     
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  11. conarb

    conarb Registered User

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    Absolutely correct, I wonder why I wasted all that time in law school, standing up and reciting law, writing papers, etc. , then live in a world where everybody lobbies and gets laws for special treatment.
     
  12. my250r11

    my250r11 Sawhorse

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    Ditto!
     
  13. Glenn

    Glenn Corporate Supporter
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    The information on the Upcodes Colorado pages is completely fabricated. We are a home rule state and do not have a state building code that dictates anything to the local municipalities.
     
  14. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    While Colorado may be a home rule state it only means that adopting entity is the local government jurisdiction that adopts the code. Once the model code is adopted by a local jurisdiction there can be no copyright on the content adopted by that jurisdiction.

    There is another wrinkle that could put the adopting cities in violation of the antitrust laws. States are not subject to antitrust law as long as they comply to the state action doctrine which requires that the State legislature, and not a home rule entity, must clearly articulate the desire to displace competition. Thus unless the state of Colorado has given cities the authority to adopt building codes and adopt model codes the cities will be subject to antitrust litigation. As the Supreme Court has established there are no sovereign cities.
     
  15. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    Glen
    NOT TOTALLY CORRECT
    The UpCodes For Colorado
    https://up.codes/codes/colorado
    Has a Tab that refers you to the following:
    List of Colorado Jurisdiction Adoptions
    https://www.iccsafe.org/about-icc/government-relations/map/colorado/
    State Adoptions
    Codes are primarily adopted and enforced locally. Two state agencies adopt state minimum plumbing and electrical codes respectively. The State Architect adopts codes for all state-owned buildings and facilities (2012 IBC, IMC, IPC, IFGC, IECC). The Division of Fire Prevention and Control adopts and enforces codes for all public schools and junior colleges (2015 IBC, IRC, IFC, IMC, IEBC, IECC) and for all licensed healthcare facilities statewide (2012 IBC, IRC, IFC, IMC, IECC, IEBC, IWUIC). The Colorado Examining Board of Plumbers has adopted the 2015 IPC, IFGC and plumbing chapters of the 2015 IRC as the state minimum plumbing code.
    2015 International Building Code
    2015 International Existing Building Code
    2015 International Fire Code
    2015 International Fuel Gas Code
    2015 International Mechanical Code
    2015 International Plumbing Code
    2015 International Residential Code
    2012 International Energy Conservation Code
    2012 International Urban-Wildland Interface Code

    They are not saying their version is accepted everywhere
    Read everything and do not assume.
     
  16. Glenn

    Glenn Corporate Supporter
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    I'm not really following you Mark. I wasn't commenting about the legal stuff. That's not in my wheelhouse. That link lists the 2015 model codes. In the Denver metro we have municipalities on anything from the 2009 to the 2018, each with their own amendments. State only dictates electrical and (sort of) plumbing. I didn't spend a lot of time on the site, I was just curious how they handled Colorado's weirdness and it looked to me like they didn't handle it very well. I think what this site is doing is wrong, wrong, wrong.
     
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  17. Pcinspector1

    Pcinspector1 Platinum Member

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    Glenn, I hope your copyrighted?

    "This is a rough neighborhood, when I was a kid, my parents moved a lot, but I always found them!"
     
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  18. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    This is all legal stuff.

    In terms of copyright the same rules apply when your jurisdiction adopts a model code. At that time there is no copyright on the adopted material even if it is derived from a model code.

    The other point is that there are limits on the autonomy provided by state law.

    It is not clear what you see as the problems.
     
  19. mark handler

    mark handler Sawhorse

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    So how is the information on the Upcodes Colorado pages completely fabricated?
    They clearly state the individual jurisdictions adopt and enforce the building codes.
    They Clearly state that State codes follow the codes outlined in their pages.
    And they refer you to the ICC pages which says the same. If Up codes pages completely fabricated then so is the ICC Pages.
    Are the ICC pages completely fabricated?

    I thought your mission was to: "Make building code knowledge accessible and affordable."
    isn't that what the UPcodes are doing? Accessible? Without charge?
     
    #39 mark handler, Apr 20, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  20. Glenn

    Glenn Corporate Supporter
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    I don't know how to respond, because you sound like you're getting angry at me or something... I just saw a bunch of 2015 I-codes listed and perhaps I commented too soon. I'll just retract my statement.

    ICC makes their codes plenty accessible. The lack of "cut and paste" is not an argument...that's a convenience. My mission has nothing to do with this business. I create my own product.
     
    #40 Glenn, Apr 22, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
    Pcinspector1 and jar546 like this.

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