FSFE Annual Report 2016 (note public > private policy)


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.


Related, FSFE’s executive director blogs Policy, Why’s That:

Our policy work need to cover two critical areas: we need to work more with governments and local municipalities to encourage uptake of free and open source software friendly policies in procurement and development of IT systems. There are limited reason for any government function today to rely on proprietary software for their core functions. When developing or procuring new systems, governments should make free and open source software the default, and install the necessary oversight to ensure this happens.

But this doesn’t respond to the increased regulation in the software space. We also need to work with governments and regulatory agencies across the board to make sure that when and as they consider regulation of IT, free and open source software is considered and our ability to keep supplying and developing free and open source software is guaranteed.

We need to do this in any area which can be touched by regulation. No stone is too small to turn over: bank and financial regulation, food safety and security, occupational safety, environmental protection, telecommunication, automotive regulation, and so on and so forth.