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  4. <title>FSFE's Comments on the EU Digital Single Market Strategy</title>
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  6. <body class="article" microformats="h-entry">
  7. <p id="category"><a href="/work.html">Our work</a></p>
  8. <h1 id="comments-on-the-EU-Digital-Single-Market-Strategy">Comments on
  9. the EU Digital Single Market Strategy</h1>
  10. <h2 id="introduction">Introduction</h2>
  11. <p>The European Commission has set a goal to make the EU's single market
  12. fit for the digital age by adopting <a href="">“A Digital Single Market Strategy”</a>(COM (2015)195, 6 May 2015, hereinafter ‘Strategy’)
  13. which is aimed at bringing down regulatory barriers between 28 different
  14. national markets and unlock online opportunities in Europe. According to
  15. the Commission, a true Digital Single Market (DSM) can be achieved by
  16. taking the following actions:</p>
  17. <ol>
  18. <li>Digitalising industry to a smart industrial system
  19. so that all industrial sectors should be able to integrate new
  20. technologies.</li>
  21. <li>Developing standards and interoperability with a European push in
  22. areas such as the "Internet of Things", cybersecurity, big data, and "cloud
  23. computing".</li>
  24. <li>Launching initiatives on the "free flow of data" and a European Cloud
  25. as a catalyst for growth, innovation and digitisation.</li>
  26. <li>Unlocking the benefits of high-quality e-services and advancing
  27. digital skills.</li>
  28. </ol>
  29. <p>Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a charity that empowers
  30. everyone to control technology. Software is deeply involved in all
  31. aspects of our lives; and it is important that this technology empowers
  32. rather than restricts. Free Software gives everyone the rights to use,
  33. understand, adapt and share software. FSFE helps individuals, businesses
  34. and organisations to understand how Free Software contributes to freedom,
  35. transparency, and self-determination. We enhance the rights of users and
  36. businesses by abolishing barriers to Free Software adoption, encouraging
  37. people to use and develop Free Software, and providing resources to
  38. enable everyone to further promote Free Software in Europe.</p>
  39. <p>FSFE believes that Free Software is an essential prerequisite for the
  40. DSM and can provide the desired innovative potential that Europe needs
  41. in order to be successfully competitive in the global ICT market. Free
  42. Software is essential for Europe's own infrastructure because it
  43. empowers European industries to be in full control of their technology,
  44. irrespective of the particular vendor or manufacturer. Therefore Free
  45. Software holds a significant economic importance in the EU, where the
  46. majority of ICT actors, especially the small and medium-sized
  47. enterprises (SMEs), will benefit from innovative, simplified, and cost
  48. and time effective solutions provided by Free Software, instead of being
  49. dependent on the products and services provided by the biggest IT
  50. companies outside of Europe.</p>
  51. <p>Hereby, FSFE reasserts that Free Software will help to achieve the
  52. majority of goals set by the Commission in order to achieve a truly
  53. digital single market. In particular:</p>
  54. <ol>
  55. <li>Free Software is a catalyst of innovation. By providing means to use,
  56. share, study and improve software <strong>Free Software is essential to the
  57. digitisation of all industry sectors</strong>, because it is easily accessible
  58. and enables shaping technology and digital services according to the
  59. specific needs of all actors across different industries.</li>
  60. <li>To achieve the widest interoperability between services that
  61. businesses can use and rely on, <strong>Europe needs standards that are open,
  62. minimalistic and implementable with Free Software.</strong> In order for emerging
  63. areas such as "Internet of Things", "cloud" and big data to be interoperable
  64. between industry sectors, Free Software must be implemented as early as
  65. possible.</li>
  66. <li><strong>Free Software encourages digital thinking</strong> and promotes research that
  67. will provide high-quality e-services and, most importantly, will enhance
  68. advanced digital skills through education.</li>
  69. </ol>
  70. <p>To unleash the innovative potential of digital market, Europe needs
  71. an innovative solution that cannot be based on the outdated and harmful
  72. software models that stand in the way of innovation and digitisation.
  73. Hence, FSFE asks the Commission to take into consideration the following
  74. proposals in order to bring Europe into the global ICT market.</p>
  75. <h2 id="copyright-reform">Copyright reform</h2>
  76. <p>As highlighted in the Strategy, existing differences in copyright law
  77. across member states constitute a significant obstacle for the DSM.
  78. Therefore, the Commission has set a goal to make legislative proposals
  79. before the end of 2015 that will reduce the differences between national
  80. copyright regimes and allow wider access to works across the EU,
  81. including further harmonisation measures.</p>
  82. <h3 id="harmonised-exceptions">Harmonised exceptions</h3>
  83. <p>In the Commission's Strategy the <strong>need for harmonising exceptions</strong> to
  84. copyright across member states is already highlighted as a measure to
  85. boost innovation in research and provide an incentive to create and
  86. invest while allowing transmission and consumption of content across
  87. borders<a class="fn" id="fnref1" href="#fn1">1</a>. FSFE fully supports
  88. the Commission in achieving this objective and points out that, to this
  89. aim, <strong>full harmonisation of copyright limitations is required.</strong></p>
  90. <p>The existing framework (under the auspices of Directive 2001/29/EC)
  91. is unclear, as it provides an exclusive list of non-mandatory exceptions
  92. from which member states can 'pick and choose'. This situation is far
  93. from being consistent across member states and in the long-term is
  94. unsustainable, as it creates an excessive burden on SMEs and start-ups
  95. who cannot enter the European-wide market due to the lack of the
  96. resources needed to comply with the variety of different rules in
  97. national copyright laws. The proposal from the Parliament<a class="fn" id="fnref2" href="#fn2">2</a>, harmonising only <em>some</em> exceptions, will not bring any substantial
  98. relief to the existing situation, and will not bring the EU closer to the
  99. Digital Single Market, as it will produce only a slightly-less-fragmented
  100. framework.</p>
  101. <p>In order to make legislation sustainable in the future, FSFE supports
  102. the introduction of an open norm interpretation of exceptions in special
  103. cases that do not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work and
  104. do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author or
  105. rightsholder (i.e. a three-step-test according to the Berne Convention).
  106. Due to the rapidly changing nature of a digital environment, it is
  107. impossible to foresee all the situations in which a copyright limitation
  108. could be justified. Hence an open norm interpretation, in addition to
  109. the harmonised list of exceptions, will provide a certain flexibility to
  110. the interpretation of legitimate use of works, and will ensure the
  111. necessary technological neutrality of copyright framework that is needed
  112. in order to bring copyright legislation up to date.</p>
  113. <p>Hereby, <strong>FSFE supports the direction taken by the Commission to achieve
  114. complete harmonisation of copyright exceptions</strong> in order to adapt copyright
  115. to the digital age, and asks the Commission to avoid compromising on that
  116. goal when revising copyright legislation.</p>
  117. <h3 id="text-and-data-mining">Text and data mining</h3>
  118. <p>Another point highlighted by the Commission in the Strategy is the
  119. need for a greater legal certainty in regard to text and data mining
  120. e.g. copying of text and datasets in search of significant correlations
  121. or occurrences). FSFE asks the Commission to uphold this goal for
  122. copyright reform and to support a legislation that explicitly grants
  123. anyone that has legitimately obtained the right to access a protected
  124. work <strong>the right to extract data from it</strong>. This is an important element for
  125. achieving technological neutrality, because there is no advantage in
  126. treating digital documents differently than their analogue counterparts
  127. as this creates unnecessary burdens for researchers and educational
  128. institutions, and thus can significantly hamper innovation.</p>
  129. <h3 id="strengthened-copyright">Strengthened copyright</h3>
  130. <p>Software patentability is another area of concern that needs to be
  131. addressed on a European level in order to unleash the full innovative
  132. potential of Europe. Despite the fact that software is explicitly
  133. excluded from patentability according to the European Patent Convention,
  134. software in Europe is <em>de facto</em> patented under "computer
  135. implemented invention". The European Patent Office (EPO) grants more than
  136. 5 000 patents yearly in the fields of "computer technology"and "digital
  137. communications"<a class="fn" id="fnref3" href="#fn3">3</a>, that in
  138. practice cover software. Software patents in the form of "computer
  139. implemented inventions" have the highest growth rate, according to the
  140. EPO, and the number of granted software patents has been rising at a rate
  141. of 3 000 per year.<a class="fn" id="fnref4" href="#fn4">4</a></p>
  142. <p>Software is treated as "literary work" and is protected by copyright
  143. under Software Directive 2009/24/EC, thus making the additional protection
  144. through patentability unnecessary. Moreover this burdens innovators with
  145. extra costs and legal risks, and hinders market competitiveness. The
  146. loss of potential innovators and new actors on the digital market due to
  147. the unclear status of software patentability is a high price to pay for
  148. the EU.</p>
  149. <p>FSFE wants to highlight the legislative actions taken on national
  150. level in order to tackle this issue, in particular the decision of the
  151. German Parliament in 2013 to effectively limit the patenting of computer
  152. programs, as copyright protection is already available<a class="fn" id="fnref5" href="#fn5">5</a>.
  153. This decision was also welcomed and supported by German SME associations.
  154. Furthermore, several studies have shown that companies producing software
  155. do not deem patent protection as a useful mechanism spurring future
  156. inventive streams. On the contrary, companies find that software patents
  157. hinder the rate of innovation and lock-in the market in favor of few
  158. monopolistic companies.<a class="fn" id="fnref6" href="#fn6">6</a></p>
  159. <p>FSFE asks the Commission to follow this example and propose a clear
  160. <strong>requirement that software solutions shall not be patented under any
  161. unclear terms</strong> implemented by the practice of the EPO, and to further
  162. strengthen copyright protection for software, so that <strong>no rights received
  163. under copyright will be devalued by third parties' patents covering
  164. software</strong> in “computer implemented inventions”.</p>
  165. <blockquote>
  166. <h3 id="recommendations">Recommendations</h3>
  167. <p>As stated above, unharmonised sets of exceptions and limitations,
  168. technological protection measures, legal uncertainty in regard to text
  169. and data mining, and software patents are only few examples of how
  170. existing copyright law is hampering innovation, creativity, and the
  171. development of a digital single market for cultural goods. FSFE asks the
  172. Commission to take into account the issues highlighted in the resolution
  173. for copyright reform and approved by the European Parliament, but most
  174. importantly, to unleash the creative potential of Europe by taking an
  175. even bolder stand towards renewal of copyright legislation. In
  176. particular, FSFE asks the Commission:</p>
  177. <ol>
  178. <li>To <strong>uphold the principle of technological neutrality</strong>,
  179. so that the same rights will be available for everyone regardless of the
  180. technology applied. In order to eliminate unjustified differences between
  181. digital and analogue usage which causes unnecessary complexity for all
  182. involved parties, <strong>harmonised exceptions and limitations to copyright
  183. have to be equally applicable in both digital and analogue domains</strong>.
  184. This will ensure that all industry sectors can make the most of legitimately
  185. accessed works.</li>
  186. <li>To further strengthen copyright protection of software against
  187. arbitrary patents granted by the EPO, so that software is excluded from
  188. patentability according to the most internationally recognised instruments.
  189. Companies should be able to uphold all legitimate rights obtained through
  190. copyright and be able to use software in accordance with these rights
  191. without the fear to infringe third parties' patents.</li>
  192. </ol>
  193. </blockquote>
  194. <h2 id="right-to-tinker">Right to tinker</h2>
  195. <p>The Commission should take a definitive stance towards the <strong>recognition
  196. of the “right to tinker”</strong>; that is, the right of owners of a computing
  197. device to replace or supplement the software in this device according to
  198. their choice. This right is closely linked to the fundamental right to
  199. property enshrined in the Article 17 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights
  200. of the EU, i.e. everyone has the right to own, use, and dispose of his or
  201. her lawfully acquired possessions. The current trend towards ‘locking-in’
  202. a device is alarming because it precludes innovators and companies from
  203. installing, developing and using the software of their choice on the
  204. hardware they own, thus precluding them from being in full control of
  205. their property. Some widely used technical protection measures make it
  206. technically impossible to install new software not ‘authorised’ by the
  207. hardware manufacturer. In addition, most hardware is sold with little or
  208. no information about its specifications, so that the purchaser is unable
  209. to inspect the acquired hardware. This situation is a major obstacle
  210. towards maximising the innovative potential in Europe because it
  211. fundamentally hinders creation of new goods and services based on
  212. existing technology.</p>
  213. <p>The right to tinker constitutes an important incentive to create and
  214. innovate, and it <strong>allows businesses to be in full control of their
  215. infrastructure</strong>, i.e. the services and facilities necessary to conduct
  216. their business that are inevitably reliable on the hardware and software
  217. of their choice. It is important to ensure that hardware
  218. manufacturers (mostly located outside of Europe) do not place arbitrary
  219. restrictions on the owners of devices, i.e. on potential innovators and
  220. companies providing goods and services based on this hardware. It is
  221. important to ensure that European innovators are not only users of
  222. technology, but are able to develop new solutions based on existing
  223. technology they own.</p>
  224. <p>In order to adequately safeguard this fundamental right to property,
  225. hardware manufacturers have to be required to provide the specifications
  226. of their products in order to enable the owner to use and develop
  227. software that is interoperable with their computing devices. Moreover,
  228. the copyright exceptions covering reverse engineering of software
  229. (articles 5(3) and 6 of directive 2009/24/EC) should also be clarified
  230. to provide more legal certainty for software developers to make
  231. interoperable software.</p>
  232. <p>FSFE reasserts that software is, without any doubt, a major driver
  233. for the digital single market, digital innovation and digitisation of
  234. all European industries, and therefore it is crucial to attain a legal
  235. framework that prevents hardware vendors from placing any arbitrary,
  236. unnecessary and disproportionate restrictions on its use.</p>
  237. <blockquote>
  238. <h3 id="recommendations-1">Recommendations</h3>
  239. <p>FSFE asks the Commission to recognise and safeguard the
  240. right to tinker in the spirit of Article 17 of the Charter of Fundamental
  241. Rights of the EU, so that businesses are able to control their
  242. infrastructure, and as an important incentive for innovation.</p>
  243. </blockquote>
  244. <h2 id="interoperability-and-standardisation">Interoperability and standardisation</h2>
  245. <p>The Strategy recognises that, in order to provide support for new
  246. technologies, there is a need for a European approach in the
  247. standardisation. FSFE wants to stress that in order for Europe to achieve
  248. digital single market and be competitive on the global IT market, it is
  249. necessary to ensure that standards are not developed and applied
  250. nationally or regionally, but reflect the global nature of IT sector.
  251. Therefore, the solution that Europe needs is the implementation of
  252. standards that are <strong>open, minimalistic and implementable with Free Software.</strong>
  253. These standards will allow companies to harvest the innovative potential
  254. of global cooperation and give it back to the market, at the same time
  255. allowing the widest competition of goods and services. These standards
  256. are necessary for Free Software to operate and provide its benefits to
  257. the digital single market.</p>
  258. <p>Hereby FSFE wants to reinstate that Free Software will also provide
  259. the necessary tools to unlock the innovative potential of software
  260. related services that constitute a larger share of potential revenue
  261. than the income generated through collecting software usage licence fees.
  262. To have a competitive market for this kind of services, both clients and
  263. providers need to be able to freely choose different business partners,
  264. and that requires a level of interoperability that only Free Software can
  265. provide. Europe needs a solution that encompasses the full potential of
  266. technology and community-based collaboration, that is Free Software,
  267. which allows service provision without any restrictions.</p>
  268. <p>Consequently, Europe needs realistic and easily implementable solutions
  269. that have proved their longevity, but not at the expense of other
  270. competitors or through the market abuse.</p>
  271. <p>In previous years, FSFE supported the Commission in the antitrust
  272. case about Microsoft, and their dominant position in the desktop
  273. operating system, including as a third party in the European Court of
  274. Justice (ECJ)<a class="fn" id="fnref7" href="#fn7">7</a>. Despite the
  275. success achieved by the Commission against Microsoft in that case, it
  276. took a considerable amount of time and effort. FSFE cannot provide such
  277. assistance every time a vendor abuses its position. In order to avoid such
  278. time-lengthy and costly consequences to achieve desirable interoperability
  279. ex-post, it is in the interest of the majority of stakeholders that the
  280. Commission maximises its efforts to avoid the possibility of vendor
  281. lock-in and anti-competitive behaviour on the digital market from the
  282. beginning, especially in such emerging areas as "Internet of Things" and
  283. the European Cloud initiative. To achieve that aim, FSFE asks the
  284. Commission to implement standards that are open, minimalistic and
  285. implementable with Free Software in order to avoid unnecessary
  286. complications that only the biggest industry players can afford to manage.</p>
  287. <ul>
  288. <li><strong>Open</strong> Standards will empower European industries to compete on the
  289. global market. Open Standards have already proven themselves: besides the
  290. obvious example of the Internet, it is worth mentioning that several of
  291. the biggest and most successful IT players, who have built their software
  292. model on either Free Software or proprietary equivalent, are based on
  293. Open Standards.</li>
  294. <li>It is important to implement Open Standards that are <strong>minimalistic<a class="fn" id="fnref8" href="#fn1">8</a></strong> because this will enable the majority of European IT actors,
  295. that are SMEs, to adapt them, and most importantly, to understand them.
  296. Overcomplicated and lengthy standards developed outside of Europe will
  297. take extra time and resources to be efficiently implemented and
  298. understandable for European SMEs, the majority of which do not have such
  299. capacity to fully follow the complex specification of a standard. Simply
  300. trying to import and implement such standards will create extra burdens
  301. to the digitisation of European industries and prevents new actors from
  302. entering the market because companies are burdened by costly specifications
  303. or the need to invest in new infrastructure. Therefore, in order to
  304. digitalise industries cost efficiently, while at the same time ensuring
  305. the competitiveness and independence of European companies, the
  306. implemented standards have to be both open and minimalistic.</li>
  307. <li><strong>Implementable with Free Software:</strong> Another worrisome point is the
  308. position that the Strategy takes on <strong>standard essential patents</strong> (SEPs),
  309. calling them "<em>an increasingly important feature in standardisation</em>"
  310. and "<em>an important element of the business model in terms of monetising
  311. investment in research and innovation</em>", while supporting the "<em>need
  312. for a balanced framework for negotiations between right holders and
  313. implementers of standard essential patents in order to ensure fair
  314. licensing conditions</em>"<a class="fn" id="fnref9" href="#fn1">9</a>.
  315. The problems caused by SEPs include a high possibility of vendor lock-in
  316. and anti-competitive behaviour, as SEPs can confer significant market
  317. power on their holders. Licensing under 'fair, reasonable and
  318. non-discriminatory' (FRAND) terms, but including a royalty-payment
  319. requirement, is often presented as a way to balance the interests of the
  320. market with those ofpatent owners. However royalty-based FRAND serve only
  321. the interests of a handful of the biggest companies - most often based
  322. outside of Europe - providing no benefits to the local European actors,
  323. the majority of which are SMEs. Furthermore, royalty-based FRAND licensing
  324. has been shown to be detrimental and incompatible with Free
  325. Software.<a class="fn" id="fnref10" href="#fn1">10</a> This is a major
  326. obstacle for achieving the widest competition of goods and services on
  327. the digital market, as Free Software actors should be able to compete on
  328. the same conditions as their proprietary counterparts. Consequently,
  329. there are no legitimate reasons to uphold such practices
  330. as SEPs and royalty-based FRAND.</li>
  331. </ul>
  332. <blockquote>
  333. <h3 id="recommendations-2">Recommendations</h3>
  334. <p>FSFE asks the Commission to use the whole potential of <strong>Open
  335. Standards that are minimalistic and implementable with Free Software</strong>
  336. and apply them to "cloud", big data and the "Internet of Things". It is
  337. important to avoid a situation of standards fragmentation and vendor
  338. lock-in from the beginning. As the idea of interoperability is essential
  339. to the concept of Free Software, the situation of vendor lock-in by using
  340. Free Software is eliminated.</p>
  341. </blockquote>
  342. <h2 id="free-flow-of-data-between-systems-and-services">Free flow of data
  343. between systems and services</h2>
  344. <h3 id="portability-of-data">Portability of data</h3>
  345. <p>The Strategy highlights the lack of open and interoperable systems
  346. and services, and of data portability. In addition, the Strategy
  347. acknowledges the lack of clarity over rights to use data, and that the
  348. restrictions to free movement of data on grounds other than privacy are
  349. often not addressed. According to the Commission, the portability of
  350. data between different services and service providers is important in
  351. order to avoid private and commercial users, and their data, from being
  352. locked into a particular provider.<a class="fn" id="fnref11" href="#fn11">11</a>
  353. <p>In regard to this point, FSFE supports decentralised systems of
  354. computing where the data storage is shared between several entities
  355. (e.g. 'peer-to-peer' systems or distributed systems), as this solution
  356. shares the burden of maintaining the network and distributing data in
  357. the most reliable and secure way. In this context, the failure of one
  358. entity would not entail the complete disturbance of the whole system or
  359. loss of all data. This solution will most efficiently provide relief to
  360. the concerns of users and businesses relating to security, highlighted
  361. in the Strategy. Also, because such decentralised system with shared
  362. maintenance is low-cost, it will not require businesses to invest in
  363. costly specifications or new infrastructure. This will result in a more
  364. efficient and widespread adoption of computing solutions across different
  365. industries.</p>
  366. <p>As highlighted in the Strategy, users and businesses need to be able
  367. to extract their data from the service at any time without experiencing
  368. lock-in or being stuck in a specific technical solution. Open standards
  369. for formats and protocols are necessary to guarantee this. However,
  370. without the source code of the programs used to deal with user data,
  371. this is impractical. This is why programs available to exploit exported
  372. data should be available under a Free Software License so that data can
  373. be transferred to a different provider without being lost.</p>
  374. <p>Hereby, FSFE wants to highlight the ongoing legal reform in France
  375. derived from the need to safeguard users' right to extract their data
  376. from any content provider and import it to another one in an open
  377. standard format<a class="fn" id="fnref12" href="#fn12">12</a>. FSFE asks
  378. the Commission to follow this example and safeguard the aforementioned
  379. <strong>right to extract data in an Open Standard format</strong>, as this provision will
  380. ensure the widest competition between different service providers on the
  381. digital market based on the free flow of data.</p>
  382. <h3 id="open-science">Open Science</h3>
  383. <p>Another point acknowledged by the Commission is access to public data
  384. that is said to help drive innovation<a class="fn" id="fnref13" href="#fn13">13</a>.
  385. It is important to include software developed with public funds into the
  386. list of public data that needs to be widely accessible, in order to
  387. effectively boost innovation on the digital market. Research that has
  388. been paid for with taxpayers' money should be made publicly available
  389. in order for innovators to build on it and return better goods and
  390. services to the market.</p>
  391. <p>FSFE wants to reinstate the importance of Free Software to innovation
  392. and development of online services in the fast-paced IT market, and asks
  393. the Commission to include a specific requirement for <strong>all publicly
  394. funded software to be released as Free Software</strong>. This requirement will
  395. also enhance the exchange of knowledge and European research results, as
  396. Free Software is based on the ability to use, study, share and improve
  397. software according to the needs of users, businesses and public bodies
  398. themselves.</p>
  399. <p>FSFE wants to stress that Free Software is the major component and
  400. driver for innovation in digital age. Furthermore, it is noteworthy to
  401. highlight that the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), an
  402. institution that is at the forefront of scientific and technological
  403. advancement, is basing its infrastructure on Free Software and has a long
  404. tradition of Open Access. This practice should be encouraged and promoted
  405. by public institutions in order to unleash the potential of the planned
  406. "European Open Science Cloud" in the EU.</p>
  407. <blockquote>
  408. <h3 id="recommendations-3">Recommendations</h3>
  409. <p>In order to achieve the greatest interoperability between systems and
  410. services, FSFE asks the Commission to:</p>
  411. <ol>
  412. <li><strong>Support decentralised solutions to the data portability based on Free
  413. Software</strong> that will provide relief to the data security concerns, and
  414. require no extra maintenance costs from SMEs in order to be implemented.</li>
  415. <li>Ensure everyone's <strong>right to extract data in an Open Standard format</strong> to
  416. ensure data portability and to avoid vendor lock-in.</li>
  417. <li>Require that <strong>all publicly funded software to be released as
  418. Free Software</strong> and ensure that the <strong>European Cloud initiative, including the
  419. European Open Science Cloud, is based on Free Software</strong>.</li>
  420. </ol>
  421. <p>This will ensure the greatest variety and competition of goods and
  422. services on the market as it will induce businesses to develop solutions
  423. based on public data for both the public and private sector.</p>
  424. </blockquote>
  425. <h2 id="e-government-and-inclusive-e-society">e-Government and inclusive e-Society</h2>
  426. <h3 id="european-interoperability-framework">European Interoperability Framework</h3>
  427. <p>The Strategy highlights the need to do more in order to modernise
  428. public administrations, achieve cross-border interoperability, and
  429. facilitate easy interaction with citizens<a class="fn" id="fnref14" href="#fn14">14</a>.
  430. Here, FSFE wants to reinstate the attempt of European Interopreability
  431. Framework (EIF) to include more Free Software and Open Standards solutions
  432. in the public sector in the EU by encouraging European public
  433. administrations to prefer "open specifications" when establishing public
  434. services. In addition EIF ISA2 proposal promotes the principle of "openness"
  435. and the reuse of software solutions<a class="fn" id="fnref15" href="#fn15">15</a>.
  436. Member states and the EU are called to step up joint efforts to avoid market
  437. fragmentation and ensure cross-border or cross-sector interoperability
  438. in the implementation of legislation, and to promote commonly agreed ICT
  439. solutions<a class="fn" id="fnref16" href="#fn16">16</a>.</p>
  440. <p>It is noteworthy that several member states have implemented Free
  441. Software solutions for public administrations in their national
  442. legislations (e.g. the UK Government ICT Strategy promotes procuring
  443. Free Software solutions for governmental infrastructure<a class="fn" id="fnref17" href="#fn17">17</a>,
  444. and the Italian government's "Guidelines on comparative evaluation [of
  445. software]" require public administrations to choose Free Software by
  446. default<a class="fn" id="fnref18" href="#fn18">18</a>). FSFE is in strong
  447. favour of such national developments and asks the Commission to support
  448. the principle of &quot;openness&quot; in public services by prioritising
  449. Free Software in order to ensure that public administrations are
  450. interconnected through reusable and distributable solutions.</p>
  451. <p>According to the Commission's plans, the EIF is to be revised and
  452. extended, in particular with other instruments to be shared by national
  453. administrations such as the European Interoperability Reference
  454. Architecture (EIRA)<a class="fn" id="fnref19" href="#fn19">19</a>, a
  455. metamodel for building interoperable e-Government systems that is based
  456. on "open standard". FSFE welcomes the further expansion of the 'best
  457. practices', however, we ask the Commission to follow the example of
  458. aforementioned member states and to <strong>uphold and strengthen the
  459. promotion of Free Software in the public sector</strong> when revising
  460. the EIF.</p>
  461. <p>Free Software as the tool for the greatest transparency and
  462. interoperability of cross-border public services will prevent
  463. unnecessary architectural complexity and fragmentation across public ICT
  464. solutions. Free Software should not only be treated as an alternative to
  465. the proprietary solutions in the EIF, but instead should be further
  466. encouraged and prioritised as a means for boosted innovation and a basis
  467. for emerging new services. Achieving the utmost interoperability by
  468. solely applying "open standards" is not enough. Only once these standards
  469. are <strong>open, minimalistic and implementable with Free Software</strong>, can they be
  470. easily adapted by the majority of stakeholders.</p>
  471. <blockquote>
  472. <h3 id="recommendations-4">Recommendations</h3>
  473. <p>In order to achieve the easiest way to interact with public
  474. administrations, citizens and businesses have to be able to choose the
  475. software of their choice. Choosing Open Standards for software, data,
  476. and document formats in public ICT solutions is the best way to achieve
  477. the widest digital participation and an inclusive e-society because it
  478. avoids burdensome obstacles and imposed extra-costs to effectively
  479. interact with and within the public sector. However, in order to use the
  480. potential of Open Standards to the widest extent, these standards need
  481. to be minimalistic and implementable with Free Software, as the latter
  482. will help to achieve the biggest cross-border interoperability for
  483. communication with the public sector in member states. Therefore, FSFE
  484. asks the Commission to explicitly include the requirement to <strong>prioritise
  485. Free Software in public procurement as the most favourable ICT solution.</strong></p>
  486. </blockquote>
  487. <h2 id="digital-skills">Digital skills</h2>
  488. <p>The Strategy highlights the shortage of ICT professionals and the
  489. urgent need to address the lack of essential digital skills. Furthermore,
  490. the Draft Report "New priorities for European cooperation in education
  491. and training" acknowledges the importance of creation of open digital
  492. educational resources and high quality educational software to address
  493. the need to boost digital skills<a class="fn" id="fnref20" href="#fn16">20</a>.</p>
  494. <p>FSFE believes that Free Software is the solution to the pressing need
  495. to increase the level of ICT professionalism in Europe and thus asks the
  496. Commission to support the use of Free Software in schools and educational
  497. institutions. As mentioned above, Free Software is based on principles
  498. that everyone can use software and run it for any purpose, study how it
  499. works and adapt it to the needs, share it with others, and improve it if
  500. necessary. These principles promote independent thinking, adaptability to
  501. the concrete needs of users, and sharing the knowledge within the community.</p>
  502. <p>Free Software promotes thinking and using a program outside of a
  503. concrete application, i.e. the capability to adapt to any software: an
  504. essential skill in the fast-paced digital environment. Due to its nature,
  505. Free Software is the best solution for promoting the widest digitisation
  506. of all sectors in society - from industry to education - as it is easy
  507. to administer, redistribute, modify and adapt to specific needs without
  508. such obstacles as licencing fees or additional costly software maintenance
  509. agreements.</p>
  510. <p>It is important to treat every user of technology as a potential
  511. innovator and developer, and the easiest way to empower industries is to
  512. promote the use of Free Software across all sectors.</p>
  513. <blockquote>
  514. <h3 id="recommendations-5">Recommendations</h3>
  515. <p>FSFE asks the Commission to <strong>promote the use of Free Software in
  516. schools and other public educational institutions</strong> as Free Software will
  517. enable the development of important technical and digital skills with the
  518. necessary flexibility to adapt to the concrete needs of a particular
  519. educational institution at a low cost. European educational system should
  520. be aimed at empowering students by teaching them core concepts, and treat
  521. them as potential innovators by encouraging tinkering, instead of training
  522. them to use specific piece of software and to stay solely as "consumers".</p>
  523. </blockquote>
  524. <h2 id="fn">Footnotes</h2>
  525. <ol>
  526. <li id="fn1">Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe", COM(2015)192 p. 7.<a href="#fnref1">↩</a></li>
  527. <li id="fn2">European Parliament resolution of 9 July 2015 on the implementation of Directive 2001/29/EC, 2014/2256(INI).<a href="#fnref2">↩</a></li>
  528. <li id="fn3">European Patent Office, <a href="">"European patents granted 2005-2015 by field of technology"</a>.<a href="#fnref3">↩</a></li>
  529. <li id="fn4">FFII, <a href="">"Software patents in Europe"</a>.<a href="#fnref4">↩</a></li> Last accessed on 29.10.2015.
  530. <li id="fn5">German Bundestag, Motion Proposed by the Parliamentary Groups of the CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP and BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN "Securing Competition and Innovation Dynamics in the Software Sector — Effectively Limiting the Granting of Patents on Computer Programs", Drucksache 17/13086, 16.04.2013, adopted in Bundestag on 7.05.2013, <a href="">unofficial translation to English</a><a href="#fnref5">↩</a></li>
  531. <li id="fn6">Reinier Bakels et al, “Study of the effects of allowing patent claims for computer-implemented inventions. Final Report and Recommendations”, EC-DG Information Society, UNU-MERIT, Study for the European Commission, 2008.<a href="#fnref6">↩</a></li>
  532. <li id="fn7">ECJ, Microsoft Corp. v European Commission, T-167/08, 27.06.2012.<a href="#fnref7">↩</a></li>
  533. <li id="fn8">Bernhard Reiter, "The minimal principle: because being an open standard is not enough", 27.02.2014. Available <a href="">here</a>.<a href="#fnref8">↩</a></li>
  534. <li id="fn9">COM(2015)192 p. 15.<a href="#fnref9">↩</a></li>
  535. <li id="fn10">Ian Mitchell, Stephen Mason, "Compatibility Of The Licensing Of Embedded Patents With Open Source Licensing Terms", IFOSSLR, 2011.<a href="#fnref10">↩</a></li>
  536. <li id="fn11"><a href="">A Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe - Analysis and Evidence</a>, SWD(2015)100 final, 6.05.2015, p. 65.<a href="#fnref11">↩</a></li>
  537. <li id="fn12">Conseil National du Numérique, Projet de loi pour une République numérique, <a href="">Article 12 - Portabilité des données</a>, 26.09.2015.<a href="#fnref12">↩</a></li>
  538. <li id="fn13">COM(2015)192 p. 15.<a href="#fnref13">↩</a></li>
  539. <li id="fn14">COM(2015)192 p. 16.<a href="#fnref14">↩</a></li>
  540. <li id="fn15">Proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a programme on interoperability solutions for European public administrations, businesses and citizens (ISA2) Interoperability as a means for modernising the public sector, COM(2014)367 final, 26.06.2015, p. 5.<a href="#fnref15">↩</a></li>
  541. <li id="fn16">COM(2014)367 final, recital 19.<a href="#fnref16">↩</a></li>
  542. <li id="fn17">Cabinet Office, <a href="">"Government ICT Strategy"</a>, 2011.<a href="#fnref17">↩</a></li>
  543. <li id="fn18">Italian Digital Agency, <a href="">"Codice dell’Amministrazione digitale"</a>, 193/2013DIG, 6.12.2013.<a href="#fnref18">↩</a></li>
  544. <li id="fn19">SWD(2015)100 final, p. 68.<a href="#fnref19">↩</a></li>
  545. <li id="fn20">Draft 2015 Joint Report of the Council and the Commission on the implementation of the Strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET2020), New priorities for European cooperation in education and training, COM(2015)408 final, SWD(2015)161 final, 28.08.2015.<a href="#fnref20">↩</a></li>
  546. </ol>
  547. </p>
  548. </body>
  549. <sidebar promo="our-work">
  550. <h2>Table of Contents</h2>
  551. <ul>
  552. <li><a href="#introduction">Introduction</a></li>
  553. <li><a href="#copyright-reform">Copyright reform</a></li>
  554. <li><a href="#right-to-tinker">Right to tinker</a></li>
  555. <li><a href="#interoperability-and-standardisation">Interoperability and standardisation</a></li>
  556. <li><a href="#free-flow-of-data-between-systems-and-services">Free flow of data between systems and services</a></li>
  557. <li><a href="#e-government-and-inclusive-e-society">e-Government and inclusive e-Society</a></li>
  558. <li><a href="#digital-skills">Digital skills</a></li>
  559. </ul>
  560. <h2>Related links</h2>
  561. <a href="/activities/policy/eu/20151029-fsfe-dsm-comments.pdf">Comments on the Digital Single Market strategy (pdf)</a>
  562. </sidebar>
  563. <tags>
  564. <tag content="Digital Single Market">DigitalSingleMarket</tag>
  565. <tag Content="Policy">Policy</tag>
  566. <tag content="European Commission">EuropeanCommission</tag>
  567. <tag content="Public Administration">PublicAdministration</tag>
  568. </tags>
  569. </html>