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CRA & PLD: Liability rules with large exemptions for Free Software are introduced

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With today's votes on CRA and PLD on the introduction of liability rules for software, a broad exception for Free Software was made, so that after long and intense debates individual developers and non for profit work are safeguarded.

Picture in shades of blue with a lock surrounded by a circle and the phrase cybersecurity.

On Tuesday, March 12, the two votes in the plenary of the European Parliament on the Cyber Resilience Act (CRA) and the Product Liability Directive (PLD) marked the provisional end of a long debate on the introduction of liability rules for software - with a broad exemption for Free Software.

Already at an early stage, the FSFE argued in a hearing in the EU Parliament, for the inclusion of clear and precise exemptions for Free Software development in the legislation and for liability to be transferred to those who significantly financially benefit from it on the market.

The co-legislators have largely complied with our demands and following intensive debates, have significantly improved the Commission’s proposal, by introducing an exemption for Free Software and including it in the articles of the regulation. In the future, individual developers and non-profit development of Free Software will be exempt from the CRA and the PLD. Nevertheless, the wording in both the regulations are different and a standardisation processes and guidelines are still being drawn up. We will therefore closely monitor the implementation and whether Software Freedom is protected accordingly. The efforts of Free Software advocates have also helped to ensure that decision maker in EU institutions now have a better understanding of Free Software and its various stakeholders, which will be useful in future debates.

"In the debate about liability rules for Free Software, it has become clear how important Free Software is for our economic and social development. On the other hand, it has also become clear what needs to be taken into account in the Regulation when it comes to software freedom. This has shown the immense importance of working together with the various stakeholders in Free Software development and distribution and as well as to understand and accommodate the different interests of these players," concludes Alexander Sander, FSFE`s Senior Policy Consultant.