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<p>To ensure software interoperability, copyright and patent licenses may only be included in an Open Standard under a non-restriction and non-assertion license. Otherwise this standard will exclude Free Software from using it and is not in any sense interoperable. (F)RAND licensing thereby prevents interoperability. Royalty-free licenses on the other hand are free to use, also for Free Software and therefore strongly support interoperability. Please see Question 8 for a more detailed analysis.</p>
<h3>8. How could adopting (Fair) Reasonable and Non Discriminatory ((F)RAND) standards deliver a level playing field for open source and proprietary software solution providers? </h3>
<p>(F)RAND standards cannot deliver a level playing field for participants in the software market because most (F)RAND standards require a royalty fee to be paid for each copy of a program that is distributed. Paying royalties of even a single penny per copy or less to implement a standard might appear "fair" to someone not familiar with the problem. </p>
<p>In addition, and maybe even more important, per-copy royalties are fundamentally incompatible with the GNU GPL, which is the most widely used Free Software license [See <a href="http://osrc.blackducksoftware.com/data/licenses/">statistic of “Top 20 Most Commonly Used Licenses in Open Source Projects”</a>] and covers key programs such as the Linux kernel and much of the GNU operating system. Moreover, such royalties are fundamentally incompatible with most of the Free Software licenses out there. According to the quantity of usage of different licenses, more than 80% of Free Software projects are distributed under licenses that are incompatible with patent royalty-bearing regimes. In reality, (F)RAND is unfair, unreasonable, and highly discriminatory against all Free Software.</p>
<p>The only solution that enables full competition is "zero-royalty" or "royalty-free" licensing for patents included in standards for software, data, and document formats. Because "zero-royalty" does not exclude Free Software from using the standard nor does it exclude proprietary (or even heavily patented) implementations. Indeed, "Zero-royalty" means that if certain technologies are mandated by a standard, they must be available to everybody without requiring running royalties. Meanwhile the implementations can be distributed under any given license and include any technology, provided that the standard is respected.</p>
<p>The exponential growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web, which are built entirely on the basis of restriction-free standards, clearly demonstrate the potential that the policy can unleash if UKG sticks to a definition of Open Standards that makes them available for implementation to all interested parties without restrictions.</p>
<h3>9. Does selecting open standards which are compatible with a free or open source software licence exclude certain suppliers or products? </h3>
<p>Open Standards do not exclude anyone. On the contrary, since they can be implemented by anyone, they open up the market to all players.</p>
<p>Since by definition, there are no restrictions on implementing an Open Standard, developers of proprietary software have the option of including support for the relevant interfaces or file formats in their programs, at no cost beyond that of the implementation itself. Claims that requiring Open Standards would exclude one group of suppliers are generally without merit.</p>
<h3>10. Does a promise of non-assertion of a patent when used in open source software alleviate concerns relating to patents and royalty charging? </h3>
<p>Businesses serving government need a firm legal basis to build upon. While a promise not to assert a patent is generally a friendly gesture by the patent holder, it is no replacement for a clear policy requirement for Open Standards, which can be implemented without royalty payments or restrictions. Promises of non-assertion may eventually be rescinded (e.g. when the patents it covers are sold to another company). </p>
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<timestamp>$Date: 2012-04-21 17:12:14 +0200 (Sat, 21 Apr 2012) $ $Author: samtuke $</timestamp>

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<title>FSFE's submission to the UK Open Standards Consultation 2012</title>
<meta content="Definition of Open Standards, with comment on emerging standards and links to other definitions." name="description" />
<meta content="Open standards certified open European interoperability framework SELF EU Project Geneva Declaration on Standards Future of the Internet Document Freedom Day Definition Emerging Standards FSFE pdf" name="keywords" />
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h3 { margin-left:2em; margin-right:2em; }
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<p>Adopting the proposed policy including FSFE's amendments (see Question 1) would be a significant step towards leveling the playing field. Today, 60% of revenue from central government contracts goes to only 10 or so systems integrators. It is not acceptable for the government to pick winners in this fashion. </p>
<p>The policy, if implemented in full, will be an important step towards opening the UK's public sector IT market to competition. A comprehensive Open Standards policy would greatly lower the bar for UK businesses, in particular smaller ones, to compete for government contracts. In addition, Open Standards naturally circumvent vendor lock-in and therefore guarantee the freedom of choice for future government procurement and a vivid competition inside the government IT market.</p>
<h3>5. What effect would this policy have on improving value for money in the provision of government services?</h3>
<p>The policy would substantially open up competition for government business as Open Standards can be implemented by the widest possible range of software suppliers. For the buyers, this means lower prices, and better quality. The absence of a vendor lock-in would allow government bodies to switch suppliers comparatively easily.</p>
<p>By making it easy to move from one supplier to another, Open Standards guarantee maximum choice for customers This, in turn, leads to improved performance as vendors compete to keep government customers loyal. </p>
<p>In addition, using Open Standards will boost innovation, as new products can be based on existing ones. Innovation in software development is, and has always been, largely incremental, building on improvements made by others. Open Standards make these incremental innovations a lot easier, accelerating the rate of innovation, which will in turn lead to better products on the market.</p>
<p>The technologies that make up the Internet are best examples of an infrastructure which is built upon non-restrictive and royalty-free standards, thus enabling Free Software as well as proprietary programs to compete in the most vibrant and innovative environment.</p>
<h3>6. Would this policy support innovation, competition and choice in delivery of government services? </h3>
<p>The openness of standards for software, document formats and data is critical in this respect. Since Open Standards can be implemented without restrictions, the proposed policy would greatly contribute to supporting innovation, competition and choice in the delivery of government services. Standards provide a platform on top of which businesses can compete, and Open Standards mean that there is no limit to the number and approaches which businesses can take to satisfy government needs.</p>
<p>If public data, for example, is published or delivered in formats based on Open Standards, this makes it possible for anyone to build innovative software to interact with this data. This will enable citizens to take the initiative and develop applications to suit their needs and those of their communities.</p>
<p>As explained above, the policy would be key to introducing real competition into the market for public sector IT service contracts in the UK. Currently, most of the UK's public bodies are tied to a small number of large vendors, many of which are headquartered outside the UK. </p>
<p>If the policy is implemented in full, across all public bodies and private bodies exercising public functions, together with suitable training and education for procurement staff, it will become possible for a large number of UK businesses (both existing and new) to compete for public sector IT contracts, as barriers to market entry will decrease significantly. </p>
<h3>7. In what way do software copyright licences and standards patent licences interact to support or prevent interoperability? </h3>
<p>As explained above, FRAND licensing of patents in standards for software, data and document formats is incompatible with the most widely used Free Software licenses. At the same time, many of the main competitors to dominant programs in the market are Free Software. Deciding which patent licensing policies to accept in standards therefore turns into a choice between a free market and one dominated by an oligopoly. </p>
<p>To ensure software interoperability, copyright and patent licenses may only be included in an Open Standard under a non-restriction and non-assertion license. Otherwise this standard will exclude Free Software from using it and is not in any sense interoperable. (F)RAND licensing thereby prevents interoperability. Royalty-free licenses on the other hand are free to use, also for Free Software and therefore strongly support interoperability. Please see Question 8 for a more detailed analysis.</p>
<h3>8. How could adopting (Fair) Reasonable and Non Discriminatory ((F)RAND) standards deliver a level playing field for open source and proprietary software solution providers? </h3>
<p>(F)RAND standards cannot deliver a level playing field for participants in the software market because most (F)RAND standards require a royalty fee to be paid for each copy of a program that is distributed. Paying royalties of even a single penny per copy or less to implement a standard might appear "fair" to someone not familiar with the problem. </p>
<p>In addition, and maybe even more important, per-copy royalties are fundamentally incompatible with the GNU GPL, which is the most widely used Free Software license [See <a href="http://osrc.blackducksoftware.com/data/licenses/">statistic of “Top 20 Most Commonly Used Licenses in Open Source Projects”</a>] and covers key programs such as the Linux kernel and much of the GNU operating system. Moreover, such royalties are fundamentally incompatible with most of the Free Software licenses out there. According to the quantity of usage of different licenses, more than 80% of Free Software projects are distributed under licenses that are incompatible with patent royalty-bearing regimes. In reality, (F)RAND is unfair, unreasonable, and highly discriminatory against all Free Software.</p>
<p>The only solution that enables full competition is "zero-royalty" or "royalty-free" licensing for patents included in standards for software, data, and document formats. Because "zero-royalty" does not exclude Free Software from using the standard nor does it exclude proprietary (or even heavily patented) implementations. Indeed, "Zero-royalty" means that if certain technologies are mandated by a standard, they must be available to everybody without requiring running royalties. Meanwhile the implementations can be distributed under any given license and include any technology, provided that the standard is respected.</p>
<p>The exponential growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web, which are built entirely on the basis of restriction-free standards, clearly demonstrate the potential that the policy can unleash if UKG sticks to a definition of Open Standards that makes them available for implementation to all interested parties without restrictions.</p>
<h3>9. Does selecting open standards which are compatible with a free or open source software licence exclude certain suppliers or products? </h3>
<p>Open Standards do not exclude anyone. On the contrary, since they can be implemented by anyone, they open up the market to all players.</p>
<p>Since by definition, there are no restrictions on implementing an Open Standard, developers of proprietary software have the option of including support for the relevant interfaces or file formats in their programs, at no cost beyond that of the implementation itself. Claims that requiring Open Standards would exclude one group of suppliers are generally without merit.</p>
<h3>10. Does a promise of non-assertion of a patent when used in open source software alleviate concerns relating to patents and royalty charging? </h3>
<p>Businesses serving government need a firm legal basis to build upon. While a promise not to assert a patent is generally a friendly gesture by the patent holder, it is no replacement for a clear policy requirement for Open Standards, which can be implemented without royalty payments or restrictions. Promises of non-assertion may eventually be rescinded (e.g. when the patents it covers are sold to another company). </p>
</body>
<timestamp>$Date: 2012-04-21 17:12:14 +0200 (Sat, 21 Apr 2012) $ $Author: samtuke $</timestamp>

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