The U.S. Supreme Court reached a 5-4 ruling on the case Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, No. 18-1150, a case that may have significant implications in the building industry. The state of Georgia was suing Public.Resource.Org for copyright infringement because the website published annotations to the state's building code. While the 54-volume code was available via publisher LexisNexis, the annotations, prepared by lawyers working for the publisher, were only made available through a subscription service. The court—breaking conventional liberal-conservative lines—ruled that in the case where such annotations are made by state lawmakers, they cannot be copyrighted. “If everything short of statutes and opinions were copyrightable, then states would be free to offer a whole range of premium legal works for those who can afford the extra benefit,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts for the majority, which included justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. “A state could monetize its entire suite of legislative history. With today’s digital tools, states might even launch a subscription or pay-per-law service.” In his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas expressed his concern that such a ruling would discourage states from producing annotated codes altogether. [The New York Times]

Texas A&M University

Researchers from Texas A&M University and the Air Force Research Laboratory have developed new guidelines for 3D printing hard steels that results in sturdy, defect-free objects in any shape. While hard, martensitic steels can are typically very strong, 3D printing the material to date has caused unintended flaws. To resolve this, the scientists reassessed the laser framework of a printer to successfully print the material. “Testing the entire range of laser setting possibilities to evaluate which ones may lead to defects is extremely time-consuming, and at times, even impractical,” said study author Raiyan Seede in a press release. “By combining experiments and modeling, we were able to develop a simple, quick, step-by-step procedure that can be used to determine which setting would work best for 3D printing of martensitic steels.” [Texas A&M University]

New York–based urban planner Meli Harvey has launched an interactive map of New York City sidewalks to highlight the safest streets and routes for maintaining social distancing standards while walking throughout the five boroughs. The online map features a color-coded overlay with pop-up messaging that indicates sidewalk width and level of difficulty for navigating by foot. [Sidewalk Widths]


Commissioned by tech startup Scribit, Turin, Italy–based Carlo Ratti Associati has launched Pura-Case, a portable wardrobe purifier that uses ozone gas to remove microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses from clothes and fabric. “As the entire world adjusts to a new normal in terms of health and hygiene, Pura-Case aims to promote top sanitation standards in the key interface between us and the environment—clothes,” architect Carlo Ratti said in a press release. “Pura-Case is an alternative to large-sized devices currently being used in hospitals. It can play a vital role in the post-pandemic world next year as we regain our old social life.” Now in the prototype phase, Pura-Case will soon be launched through a Kickstarter campaign. [Carlo Ratti Associati]

A Zoom call with the informal network of USC fabricators
courtesy Alvin Huang; USC Architecture A Zoom call with the informal network of USC fabricators

Contributor Karrie Jacobs details how informal networks of architects have mass-produced simple yet lifesaving PPE amid the COVID-19 pandemic—and how the process might have charted a new course for humanitarian design. [ARCHITECT]

Meticulous conception and design, technical advancement, and versatility are commonalities among the 28 products selected from 198 entries in this year’s ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING + ARCHITECT Product Call. [ARCHITECT]

Blaine Brownell, FAIA, assesses design conventions of structures that require continued energy use, even while the workforce is forced to stay home. [ARCHITECT]