Policy Advocacy Activities

As a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, Free Software Foundation Europe works to create general understanding and support for Free Software and Open Standards. The following activities are concrete actions that we take in the areas of public awareness, policy advocacy, and legal support.

Since its foundation in 2001, the FSFE has been working every single day to further Free Software in Europe and beyond. With our concrete activities, based upon the three pillars of our work, we focus on protecting and extending user rights. Some of our actions run for many years, some are aimed at short-term developments, but all are part of our mission: empower users to control technology.

Another major part of our work consists of continuous engagement and background work. We are present at dozens of conferences per year, support and maintain an excellent community, and provide it with helpful resources. Furthermore, we are a prominent contact point for all questions and enquiries around software freedom, Open Standards, and user rights. We also provide basic education resources on Free Software legal and licensing issues.

We need political change to strengthen Free Software. Learn more about how we achieve this.

  • Public Money? Public Code!

    Why is software created using taxpayers' money not released as Free Software? We want legislation requiring that publicly financed software developed for the public sector be made publicly available under a Free and Open Source Software licence. If it is public money, it should be public code as well. Code paid by the people should be available to the people!

  • Device Neutrality

    Although digital devices are ubiquitous today, the number of devices on which users cannot run Free Software is exponentially increasing. The consequence is an increased loss of control over users’ technology. Device Neutrality aims to enable end-users to bypass gatekeepers to have a non-discriminatory use of Free Software on their devices.

  • Digital Markets Act

    Device Neutrality is the policy concept to regulate monopoly over devices and re-establish end-user control over their digital equipment. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) regulates the economic activity of large digital platforms and introduces Device Neutrality in the EU legislation, fostering access to Free Sofware in Devices.

  • Router Freedom

    Although we should be free to choose the technical devices we use in our private lives, some European Internet Service Providers are dictating which device their customers have to use to connect to the Internet, or discriminating against owners of alternative devices. This undermines our basic freedom of choice.

More Policy Activities

  • Radio Lockdown Directive

    An EU regulation may make it impossible to install a custom piece of software on most radio devices like WiFi routers, smartphones, and embedded devices. It requires hardware manufacturers to implement a barrier that disallows users to install any software which has not been certified by them.

  • Electoral Activities

    What could be a better time to ask politicians about their stance on Free Software and Open Standards than the run-up to an election? We believe we can and should raise these issues in all elections, European, national, regional and local. Depending on the electoral system and culture, we use different strategies and tools.

  • Software Patents in Europe

    We are working towards a world where software does what software users want it to do. For this, software users must be able to participate in the development and distribution of the software. Software patents block this goal by adding legal and financial risks to software development and distribution and by giving the patent holders legal power to completely prohibit software developers from using the patented ideas.

  • PDFreadersFinished

    The PDFreaders initiative aims to shine a spotlight on government organisations that promote proprietary PDF readers. With the help of activists across Europe, we have contacted these organisations and told them how they can improve their websites to respect our freedom. On pdfreaders.org we present Free Software PDF readers for all major operating systems.

  • Microsoft vs. EU Antitrust CaseFinished

    In 2001 the European Union started investigating Microsoft's dominant position in the market for desktop operating systems. The FSFE represented the interests of Free Software developer as a public interest organisation who cannot be bought off. Thanks to the excellent work by all involved parties, the case was won in all rulings up to the European Court of Justice in 2012.

  • Unlock Education in the NetherlandsFinished

    This activity was specifically targeted at the Dutch education sector, with the aim of enabling citizens to have free access to education and public institutions, both online and offline. By promoting the mandatory use of Open Standards and platform-independent access to all materials, students and parents will be able fulfil their potential for personal growth and development without being dependent on a company.

  • Internet Governance Forum (IGF)Finished

    The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a global policy discussion forum of the United Nations, established as an outcome of the UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). FSFE followed the IGF to ensure that policy discussions will not endanger digital freedom in general and Free Software in particular.

  • MS-OOXMLFinished

    Since the beginning of the standardisation process for Microsoft's Office Open XML - OOXML (hereafter MS-OOXML), the FSFE has raised serious doubts about whether MS-OOXML can be considered open. FSFE was the first to raise the issue in the community, led the movement against the standardisation of MS-OOXML, and has been closely following developments over the years.

  • IPRED2Finished

    A second Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive was proposed by the European Commission. It aims to criminalise all "intentional, commercial-scale" infringements and allow rights holders to participate in investigations. The FSFE pointed out to the EU institutions how such laws encourage abuse of the legal system and have a chilling effect on law-abiding activities.

  • World Intellectual Property OrganizationFinished

    The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), one of the 16 specialised agencies of the UN system, administers 23 international treaties dealing with various aspects of limited monopolies on knowledge. As an observer to WIPO, and together with a global coalition of other actors, the FSFE worked to transform WIPO into a "World Intellectual Wealth Organisation".

  • World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)Finished

    The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was a two-summit UN conference organised by the ITU to propose important cornerstones for the information and knowledge society. The FSFE participated with other civil societies to ensure that the principles of the digital age would protect digital freedom, knowledge sharing, access to information and Free Software.

  • Classification of Free Software as a World Cultural HeritageFinished

    The goal was to have Free Software classified by UNESCO as an Intangible World Heritage and registered in the World Memory Register (another UNESCO project). The Free Software community and UNESCO share the same values of freedom, equality and fraternity. Such recognition would be a great boost for Free Software.

  • EUCD - Copyright extensions that harmFinished

    The European Copyright Directive (EUCD) was the European equivalent of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). These laws lead to the creation of monopolies and cartels, and pose serious obstacles to freedom of speech and the press by providing means for digital censorship. The FSFE has been actively involved in opposing such harmful legislation.