Many years back I wrote about how Erskine May, the rules of our House of Commons, are locked away from us, the citizens, by copyright laws and a big price tag:
Erskine May is the House of Commons rulebook – but if you want to get a copy, it’ll cost you £268.40 from a commercial publisher, and Parliament has said no to a request for a free electronic copy from a member of the public…
Imagine if a new set of Parliamentary rules were written this year (for, perhaps, a reformed and elected Upper House) and Parliament proposed not only that the rules must not be published online, but could only be available in book form for £268.40. There would be outrage. Why shouldn’t people be able to read the rules online? Why should people who want a hard copy be forced to pay out so much money?
Yet that’s the situation with Erskine May.
Or rather, that was because – hooray – it is now available online for free: