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FSFE Newsletter - May 2016


EU jeopardises its goals in standardisation with FRAND licensing

As a part of the Digital Single Market strategy, the European Commission has published the communication on ICT standardisation priorities as one of the key factors in the digital economy. FSFE welcomes the overall approach taken in the communication in favour of more open standards and a greater inclusion of Free Software communities into standardisation processes.

However, the document lacks proper understanding of licensing conditions of standard-essential patents in order to include Free Software into standard setting processes. In particular, FSFE expresses its concerns in regard to the promotion of so-called "fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing terms that in practice are incompatible with Free Software. This way, the document jeopardises every effort set by the European Commission to integrate Free Software communities into standardisation.

European Commission vs Google Android

On April 20, the European Commission outlined its charges in regard to Google's business practices relating to the Android operating system. According to the Commission, Google is abusing its dominant market position by pre-installing and setting Google Search, Google Play Store and Google Chrome as the default on most Android devices sold in Europe. These practices close off ways for competitive search engines to access the market.

FSFE has previously raised its concerns in regard to the claim against the free-of-charge distribution of Android that had been raised to the European Commission by a coalition of certain online service providers who claimed that this practice is harmful to competition. We argued against that claim as it undermines the whole essence of Free Software licensing, and are pleased to see that the Commission disregarded that claim in its antitrust case against Google.

From the community

What else have we done?

Take Action

From 2 - 4 September, 2016, the first summit of FSFE will take place, an event dedicated to our community. To make it a unique and appealing experience for everyone, we sent out a Call for Participation last week to all our Fellows and on our mailing lists. Take your chance and be part of FSFE's main event in 2016 by becoming a speaker or a volunteer, by hosting a workshop or another event.

Good Free Software news

Spain's Ministry of Finance and Public Administrations published its web-based solution for archiving electronic files under a Free Software license. France is also not lagging behind and recently published the source code of the fiscal calculator used by the French fiscal administration to calculate the income taxes of individuals in France. This was an outcome of the legal case in Paris' administrative court that concluded that a source code of a software written by and for public authorities can be considered as a public information that can be freely accessed.

Thanks to all the volunteers , Fellows and corporate donors who enable our work,

your editors Polina Malaja and Erik Albers, FSFE