I greatly enjoy that public policy gets far more attention than private policy (licensing) in this annual report from the Free Software Foundation Europe. The “Coming up in 2017” section mentions licensing, but exclusively with regard to government/publicly funded material needing to be released under free licenses, i.e., no private choice about it:
But there is still a lot of work to do and 2017 is shaping up to be an interesting year. Although we have managed to get the ban on compulsory routers into law, we expect that ISPs will fight back, so we will have to be on guard for that. The threat of FRAND licensing and software patents is never far off and we will have to continue advising lawmakers on why these are dangerous for Free Software and the European software industry in general. Katharina Nucon, policy coordinator of the German Pirate Party, will be helping us with this campaign.
Most of our efforts, however, will most likely be spent pushing for getting more public institutions to publish their software under a free license. We want public money to pay for public code, and only public code. Software used by public institutions is acquired, deployed and/or developed with taxpayers’ money. Making it available under a Free license to all citizens is just the right thing to do. Furthermore, we hope we will raise awareness amongst politicians of the importance of using Free Software when they see its advantages.
There are several important national and regional elections scheduled throughout Europe in 2017. Politicians are supposedly more receptive during campaigns, so we will do our best to make candidates and parties commit to Free Software and openness in their administrations.
We need governments to commit to improving policies that favour Free Software across the board. It is not admissible any more that the administration pilfer taxpayers money on proprietary software.
We need policies that help the European IT sector become much more competitive and sustainable. There is no better way to achieve this than incentivising the use and development of Free Software and Open Standards.
Finally we need better policies to help promote Free Software amongst the general public. Every European citizen must be allowed to regain control over the technology they use once and for all.