Standards aren’t laws, but complying to many laws requires to know them nevertheless. Therefore, and for the sake of technical innovation it’s absolutely necessary that standards are easily accessible, and free (as in beer).
When I read that ASTM (an American association that develops all kinds of standards) now offers practically all of their publications in a “digital library”, I thought that once again the U.S. were far ahead to old Europe where these standards are very expensive. One example: In Germany, DIN standards are issued by a publisher which probably makes considerable money from its monopoly position.
However, a closer look at ASTM’s “Digital Library” reveals that this is at best a digital bookstore, and not at all a library. The same old story, but now you can download expensive documents as a PDF.