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<html newsdate="2017-06-13">
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<title>New European Interoperability Framework calls on public sector to contribute to Free Software</title>
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<h1>New European Interoperability Framework calls on public sector to contribute to Free Software</h1>
<p newsteaser="yes">The revised "new"
<a href="https://ec.europa.eu/isa2/eif_en">European Interoperability Framework</a> (EIF),
adopted by the European Commission on 23 March 2017, gives specific guidance
on how to set up interoperable digital public services, and offers public
administrations concrete recommendations on how to improve interoperability
of their e-services.</p>
<p>The FSFE <a href="https://fsfe.org/news/2016/news-20160624-01.en.html">participated</a>
in the public consultation round on the draft version of the revised
EIF (published in 2016). The "new" EIF includes significant improvements
in alignment with our answers and in contrast to the draft version and
the previous <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/isa2/sites/isa/files/isa_annex_ii_eif_en.pdf">EIF v.2</a>.
However, the European Commission (EC) has not sufficiently addressed
the risks that a FRAND-based standardisation policy pose to Free Software.</p>
<p>In alignment with our <a href="https://fsfe.org/activities/os/eif-v3.en.html">answers</a>
to the public consultation, the new EIF includes the principle of openness
that was absent from the draft version. Furthermore, the principle of
openness according to the new EIF requires public administrations to
actively consider using Free Software when offering their public services:</p>
<blockquote>
<p>Recommendation 3: Ensure a level playing field for open source
software and demonstrate active and fair consideration of using open
source software, taking into account the total cost of ownership of
the solution.</p>
</blockquote>
<p>Furthermore, according to the new EIF public administrations should
not only use Free Software but <strong>"whenever possible contribute to the
pertinent developer communities"</strong>. Free Software is also called
<strong>"an enabler of the underlying EIF principle on reusability"</strong>.
This is a significant improvement in comparison to both previous
<a href="https://fsfe.org/activities/os/eifv2.en.html">EIF v.2</a>
(published in 2010) and the <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/files/57b2ecd5-effa-4594-9ef2-47e7ecc67047">draft</a>
version that was open for public consultation. The need for more Free
Software when offering e-services was also <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/isa2/sites/isa/files/eif-public-consultation-factual-summary-en.pdf">expressed</a>
by majority of citizen respondents to the public consultation, and it
is plausible to see that the EC included the wishes of the EU citizens
to the new EIF. </p>
<p>Licensing policies of so called "open specifications" (the alternative
term the European Commission uses for <a href="https://fsfe.org/activities/os/os.en.html">Open Standards</a>)
have also been revised for the better. The EIF v.2 based its appropriate
licensing model on what is described as "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory"
(FRAND)/or royalty-free terms, despite that FRAND <a href="https://fsfe.org/activities/os/why-frand-is-bad-for-free-software.en">does not allow standards to be implemented in Free Software</a>.</p>
<p>The new EIF gives a slight preference to the royalty-free licensing
terms when it comes to licensing of "open specifications", which is an
improvement to the previous version.</p>
<p>However, the new EIF ignores the fact that "royalty-free" is not a
sub-term of FRAND, and the way the new EIF is worded still gives a preference
to FRAND terms, but just without royalties. This is extremely problematic,
as the effects of FRAND do not solely come from royalty-related criteria,
but also include several other restrictions that make FRAND incompatible
with Free Software.</p>
<p>Unfortunately, the way the new EIF is basing its licensing policies
of open specifications can still prevent Free Software projects from
offering their services to the public sector.</p>
</body>
<tags>
<tag>front-page</tag>
<tag content="DigitalSingleMarket">DigitalSingleMarket</tag>
<tag content="policy">policy</tag>
<tag content="EIF">EIF</tag>
<tag content="OpenStandards">OpenStandards</tag>
</tags>
<author id="malaja"/>
</html>