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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<html newsdate="2018-02-15">
<title>European Free Software Policy Meeting 2018: more joint activities important for Free Software in Europe</title>
<h1>European Free Software Policy Meeting 2018: more joint activities important for Free Software in Europe</h1>
Following the <a href="/news/2017/news-20170214-02.html">well-established tradition</a>
of gathering active Free Software groups before FOSDEM kicks off, the
FSFE once again partnered up with <a href="">OpenForum Europe</a>
for the third edition of European Free Software Policy Meeting in Brussels,
the heart of European decision-making.</p>
<div class="captioned" style="width:80%; margin: 1.5em auto;">
<img src="graphics/pmpc-eu-foss.jpg" />
<p>This time the purpose of the meeting was to shed light on topics important
for Free Software in public policy all over Europe, not only within the
European Union; and to exchange experience for any policy action within
different regions in case similar concerns for Free Software pop up. Practice
shows that they often do, and this is why it is important to be informed
about similar actions in other parts of Europe, in order to be able to
address corresponding concerns in a timely and effective manner.</p>
<p>17 different groups were represented at the European Free Software Policy
Meeting 2018: from national Free Software groups to public sector representatives,
and international organisations. Our participants deemed to be a diverse
group, yet similar in the challenges we face on both national and European
<h2>Common challenges for Free Software in Europe and beyond</h2>
<p><strong>EU Copyright reform</strong>: Article 13 of the current copyright
directive proposal <a href="">can seriously hamper</a>
collaborative software development, and especially Free Software, imposing
the use of mandatory upload filters, and illegal monitoring of their users.
As a result of this proposal code repositories can be arbitrarily removed online.
The directive proposal is currently being discussed by co-legislators in
the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, which both
are struggling to reach an agreement on <a href="/news/2017/news-20171130-01.html">controversial</a>
Article 13. Action within the Member States to "#savecodeshare" is needed
more than ever, in order to make sure that decision-makers understand the
repercussions of Article 13 for Free Software.</p>
<p><strong>Software patents</strong>: while the EU legislation to
impose patents on software was rejected back in 2005, patentability of
software insinuates itself into policy discussions through other means.
In particular, the Unitary Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) may in practice
impose the patentability of software in the EU. By now 15 Member States
have ratified the UPCA, without such Member States as post-Brexit UK and
Germany whose support is necessary in order for the Unitary Patent Court
system to start to function. A <a href="">petition</a>
against UPCA ratification was run in the UK, however, there is a need for
remaining Member States to be aware of the practical ramifications of UPCA
for innovation and especially software business in Europe.</p>
<p><strong>Open Standards</strong>: standardisation policies are still
being infiltrated by closed standards <a href="/activities/msooxml/msooxml.html">disguised as "open"</a>,
and tricky patent licensing practices that are only called "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory"
(<a href="/freesoftware/standards/why-frand-is-bad-for-free-software.html">FRAND</a>)
in the name of greater innovation. In fact, these practices only dilute
the discourse. It is time the term <a href="/freesoftware/standards/standards.html>">"open standards"</a>
is used in accordance with the Free Software definition defined through
<a href="/freesoftware/freesoftware.html">4 freedoms</a>,
and appropriate Free Software licences as approved by
<a href="">Free Software Foundation</a>
and <a href="">Open Source Initiative</a>.
Otherwise, we will continue facing misconceptions about (un)equal treatment
of Free Software in public procurement, where Free Software can be de facto
excluded as a result of policies prescribing business models.</p>
<p><strong>Public Money, Public Code</strong>: "All publicly funded
newly-established software should be made publicly available under Free
Software licence". This is the <a href="">demand</a>
that the FSFE together with ca 116 other organisations and Free Software
projects, as well as more than 16 000 individuals are asking from politicians.
The campaign is aimed at gathering evidence about public expenditure on
software and other IT services in public sector, to provide information that is
easily understandable for decision-makers, and to equip Free Software activists
all over the world with tools to <a href="/activities/elections/index.html">ask their politicians</a>
during national elections to make sure that software paid with taxpayers money
is made freely available to the public.</p>
<h2>Ways to move forward</h2>
<p>The meeting once again proved that there is a need to continuously
exchange ideas, update each other on concerns and victories for Free Software,
and experience we gather while pursuing our mutual goals to maintain the
ecosystem for Free Software to flourish. More collaboration and staying
informed is necessary in order to establish the "smart network" of Free
Software activists all over Europe and beyond, where more joint activities
can take place. We will continue to build on that resource to share information,
and update each other on activities crucial for Free Software, and to
establish meaningful collaborations to address common challenges for Free
<tag key="policy">Policy</tag>
<tag key="pmpc">Public Code</tag>
<tag key="openstandards">Open Standards</tag>
<tag key="public-administration">Public Administration</tag>
<tag key="front-page"/>
<author id="malaja" />