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Can the NEC Handbook be downloaded for free anywhere? Answered

Since the government requires us to wire everything to the current National Electrical Code's rules and guidelines, why is this information concealed for a great ransom? (the price of a hard copy of the book) As a citizen of the US, aren't I entitlted to the information if it can be obtained without undue hardship to the government or public? If one poor devil sits down and puts it all into a PDF, then millions of other poor devils only have to click the link.


Thanks, Everyone. I've got it on a PDF file now, and I couldn't be more pleased.

Theft -- stealing something which cost money, time and effort to produce -- does cause "undue hardship" by definition. As GuardianFox said, the printed NEC Handbook is expensive because (a) producing any physical object requires time and money; (b) the sales volume is low, so the fixed production cost is divided among many fewer items; (c) the target audience is limited and usually corporate. Having said that, a trivial Google search (see Nacho Mahma's post) gives you the answer to your question.

. It's not theft (unless you're an Abbie Hoffman fan ).
. From the Wikipedia article:
"In the United States, statutory law cannot be copyrighted and is freely accessible and copyable by anyone.1 When a standards organization develops a new coding model and it is not yet accepted by any jurisdiction as law, it is still the private property of the standards organization...
Once the coding model has been accepted as law, it loses copyright protection and may be freely obtained at no cost. Links to both the restricted and unrestricted versions of the NEC are listed at the end of this article."

You're correct. I wasn't referring to the intellectual (copyrighted) property, so much as the actual printed book. If you want a free copy of the printed book, then I think you ought to be out of luck, as it does cost real money to produce, which deserves reimbursement.

The intellectual property, as law or regulation, is freely available as you say.

Just a correction, there's no law that says it has to be "at no cost." That is, they're not going to spit $40 worth of paper out of their epsons and just let you walk out with it. You're totally free to borrow and photocopy or make a handwritten copy of course, and digital copies are available, as you pointed out.

Your public library has it. It's reference, so you may not be able to check it out... but there's no reason you can't photocopy certain pages and take notes. There is a reason the physical books cost money. It costs money to publish and print. Plain and simple.