EUROPEAN SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS WELCOME BROAD INSTITUTIONAL AGREEMENT ON EXCLUSION FOR OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT PLATFORMS IN PROPOSED EU COPYRIGHT DIRECTIVE
Brussels DD MM 20YY
Recent conversations with all three European institutions indicate broad agreement on an exclusion for all open source software platforms from the Copyright Directive. Ahead of the upcoming inter-institutional negotiation (trilogue) in January, the signatories of this letter wish to reiterate the need to adopt such language to avoid negatively impacting Europe’s vibrant free and open source software development market - where no ‘value-gap’ exists.
Throughout the trilogue process, our main concern focused on a small number of Member States who had initially wished only to exclude, in article 2(5), “non-for-profit” open source software development platforms used by developers (see Council’s mandate of 25/5/18). Since then, we have had many constructive conversations with policymakers in Brussels and in Member State capitals, clearing up the earlier misconceptions around our ecosystem, licensing model and the notion of “free” and open source software and thus clarify that this particular form of ‘platform’ is often a profit-making entity that offers a free version for users (many of which are SMEs). To elaborate, although it may be free to upload, share, edit and improve open source software code on code-sharing platforms, many of those platforms obtain profit -- not from the sharing of users’ content but -- from other services provided, such as subscriptions to private repositories.
Given the broad support in both Parliament and Council on the importance of excluding open source software, we urge the negotiating parties to reach a timely agreement on removing “non-for-profit” before “open source” in Article 2(5) at the next trilogue on 26 November.
We welcome the development that EU policy makers understand and recognise the core premise underpinning an exclusion, notably:
Open source software is built on the basis of open collaboration and four freedoms to use, study, share and improve software. It is a technical ecosystem interacting within all European industry verticals and the Public Sector. Software developers collaborate by uploading and iteratively improving source code which constitutes a different modality to uploading or streaming videos. Open source software development activity is done in the open, publicly, without payment of software licence fees. Open Source software development is thus not relevant to the alleged value-gap.
Thank you for your continued attention to this issue. Should you wish to discuss this, the European software ecosystem, and this Directive’s implications for it, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you or to answer questions over the phone or by email.
OpenForum EuropeThe Open Source InitiativeEuropean DIGITAL SME AllianceThe Document FoundationFree Software Foundation EuropeSoftware HeritageSpoločnosť pre otvorené informačné technológie (SOIT)CNLL - l’Union des Entreprises du Numérique OuvertSyntec NumériqueEstonian Free and Open-Source Software AssociationΟργανισμός Ανοιχτών Τεχνολογιών - ΕΕΛΛΑΚOpen Source Business Alliance e.VKDE e.VWikimedia Deutschland - Gesellschaft zur Förderung Freien Wissens e. V.Asociación Española de StartupsPostgreSQL EspañaAsociación de Empresas de Software de EuskadiAsociación de empresas Galegas de Software LibreMadrid DUGMuutech Monitoring Solutions S.L.Associació d'empreses per al Programari LliureBarcelona Free SoftwareAssociazione LibreItalia ONLUSOPENLABS apsSoftware Workers srlAssociazione SputniXGovonisBETA-iANSOL - Associação Nacional para o Software LivreESOP - Associação De Empresas De Software Open Source Portuguesas