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Can Building Codes be Copyrighted?

Startup UpCodes has created a free, searchable database of building codes, and the company is at the center of a lawsuit by the International Codes Council. The ICC writes the most widely used building codes in the United States, and they claim they have copyright over the codes and require a license fee for their use. UpCodes argues it is covered by the fair use doctrine, which permits some use of copyrighted material, but the ICC alleges its copyright and ability to raise revenue is being infringed upon. Central to the lawsuit is the question of whether the law can be copyrighted.