I asked What tests should I perform before I claim my enclosure is Type 1?

The answer was in the NEMA 250 standard, which I have since purchased. For anyone to properly answer that question, they will need to post the contents of that standard, which is copyrighted. This renders the question legally unanswerable.

Is "buy the standard" the only possible correct answer? Is there some other approach that is acceptable?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Is the standard under a NDA, or is it just a copyright? \$\endgroup\$
    – W5VO
    Jul 22, 2015 at 22:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Copyright only that I see \$\endgroup\$ Jul 22, 2015 at 22:26

2 Answers 2


Note that this is not legal advice, just my understanding of how copyright works.

Copyright protects the wording, not the concept. You can't copyright an idea (that's the domain of patents and trademarks). For example, the game Monopoly is copyrighted, but that only protects the exact wording of the text in the game, not the rules of the game or the name Monopoly (but the name is protected by a trademark).You can still talk about the standard, you can even quote portions of the standard, but wholesale copy and paste of the text is probably a bad idea. If I described the tests in my own words, I would expect to be fine.

That being said, you may find that buying the standard is still something you need to do, if you plan on verifying that your product is compliant. There may be ways around it, such as labs for hire for FCC tests (though those regulations are public). You may also find that the logos are licensed, and unless you play by the standards organization's rules, you can't legally put the correct logo on your product or packaging. I believe USB follows a similar model.

A copyright is not a patent, it isn't a trademark, and it isn't a NDA.


My answers often involve reference to copyrighted standards, such as IEC standards, Australian Standards, etc.

I am generally happy to excerpt small parts of those standards here - a couple of paragraphs or a small table. For anything more, I paraphrase.

The idea is that my answers should give an idea of what to expect to find in the standard, should the reader buy the full document. This way, the person reading the answer has some useful information, but would still have to buy the standard to get the full details required for professional work, so the standards publisher has not lost any revenue.

In the particular case of your NEMA Type 1 enclosure question, I might answer by paraphrasing the highlights of the relevant standard:

NEMA Type 1 enclosures are tested to NEMA 12345. The tests involve probing the enclosure with a standard-sized rod, which simulates a human finger. Further tests include spraying water on the enclosure, from various angles and various spray pressures, to test if the enclosure is weatherproof. For full details of the testing procedure, you should consult NEMA 12345.

This isn't enough detail that you no longer need to buy the standard (depriving the publisher of revenue). Particularly, it doesn't include enough information about specific dimensions, spray pressures, test procedures, etc. for you to go out and do the tests. However, it is useful confirmation that this is the standard you need to look at, and if you buy it, it will answer your questions.

You get the confidence that the money you spend on the standard won't be wasted, and the publisher gets some free advertising. Everyone wins.


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