ISO and Paying for Standards
2.21 Why aren’t ISO standards free?
ISO standards cost money to develop, publish and distribute. Someone has to pay. The current system whereby users are requested to pay for the standards they use, not only sustains the development process but also, very importantly, ensures that the balance of independent vs. government, private vs. public interests can be maintained.
BTW, ISO is not an abbreviation for the name of an organization; it’s a word derived from the Greek meaning “equal.” The organization is the International Organization for Standardization (in English).
One more thing: when an OGC standard becomes an ISO standard (Simple Features and WMS are and others are to be soon!), you can get the OGC one for free.