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European Commission Support of FRAND Licenses Hurts Open Standards 137

jrepin writes "While the UK has seen the light, the EU has actually gone backwards on open standards in recent times. The original European Interoperability Framework required royalty-free licensing, but what was doubtless a pretty intense wave of lobbying in Brussels overturned that, and EIF v2 ended up pushing FRAND, which effectively locks out open source — the whole point of the exercise. Shamefully, some parts of the European Commission are still attacking open source."
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European Commission Support of FRAND Licenses Hurts Open Standards

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @12:33PM (#42442061)

    Many European citizens still think Europe will bring more democracy but it mostly brings more power to corporate lobbies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @12:44PM (#42442129)

    Whats the betting that the rich closed source US software venders that managed to secretly get this through
    pay either no tax or just a gesture contribution like starbucks etc yet somehow sell billions of pounds/euros/dollors worth
    of mostly crap software into the EU, So sell here then pay tax here!, As for patents on software in general these MUST
    be abolished either completly OR have a very short life say 2 years with no extensions.
    As for copyrights thats another area that desperatly needs to be re-thought.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @12:46PM (#42442137)

    That's often true, but on the other hand, look at something like ACTA, where national governments were lining up to back the Big Media position, and it basically died because of a European-level grass-roots campaign.

    Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any way of knowing which level(s) of government will actually side with their people and which will side with their corporate sponsors these days, particularly with all the conveniently indirectly elected "representatives" throughout the system now.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @01:30PM (#42442419)

    If FRAND patents exclude OSS, then there's something wrong with OSS.

  • by GPLHost-Thomas ( 1330431 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @01:46PM (#42442525)

    Many European citizens still think Europe will bring more democracy

    Can you point at a single citizen that still thinks this way? Oh, sorry, I misread. You wrote "will", as in, perhaps one day in the future... Yeah, maybe there's still some people with hope, but I believe the number of such people is getting smaller and smaller.

    Seriously, Europe is all but about democracy. In fact, it has stolen democracy from once sovereign states. And when the people vote no for Europe, it still goes forward with more Europe. What's even more sad, is that despite people's discontent, in a country like France, absolutely zero party are proposing that this stops. (Well, in fact, there's one, called UPR, but nobody heard about them as there is not a single mass media that let them talk, and they were not allowed to run for presidency, so it's almost as if there were none.)

  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @02:11PM (#42442733)

    Open Source doesn't imply no fees.

    Imposing mandatory royalties on standards makes it impossible to comply with the standard in FOSS projects. You end up with patent holders capable of dictating who can and cannot use the software. That defeats the purpose of FOSS, particularly the stuff that falls under licenses like the GPLv2 and GPLv3.

    Is the truth that OSS is all about getting something for nothing?

    This is you simply being a troll. Stick to white knighting for Apple.

  • Because they are outnumbered by about 50 to one by the supermegacorps and the lobbyists working for supermegacorp, who can outspend them something like 100 times over when it comes to buying politicians?

    I mean you have exactly ONE, and only one, billion dollar corp and they are just barely over the billion dollar mark. Now look at how much Apple and the big media corps have by way of comparison and then realize thanks to all the tax dodges you are only looking at probably a third of how much they REALLY have. You think, Moz,and RH along with the FSF can stand in the room with those guys and not get outbid by several orders of magnitude?

    The reasons corps shouldn't be allowed to "speak" with money is because their "speech" quickly drowns out the people. it is SUPPOSED to be one man one vote but with corps being allowed to be treated as people suddenly some people are simply worth more and therefor better than everybody else, and that is just fucked up. Just because you can name a couple of corps that aren't complete douchebags doesn't magically tip the scales in favor of corps, because for every one FSF you have a dozen Goldman Sachs and *.AAs.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @02:21PM (#42442841)

    Imposing mandatory royalties on standards makes it impossible to comply with the standard in FOSS projects. You end up with patent holders capable of dictating who can and cannot use the software.

    That's incorrect. The ND of FRAND is for non-discriminatory. Everyone can use it, so long as they pay.

    Again there is nothing intrinsic to open source that means no cost. If the OSS community has munged those two dissimilar things together, then that's how it's broken.

    This is you simply being a troll.

    No, it's me pointing out that the emperor has no clothes.

  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @03:37PM (#42443719)

    its the insistence on a license and distribution model that cannot easily handle various real burdens which creates the can of worms out of thin air.

    Artificial burdens. At this point software patents don't exist in the EU and hopefully they never will. Of course, if you think that insisting upon the distribution model the GPL (or any FOSS license) allows is a flaw, then you're pretty much anti-FOSS and should just admit it.

  • by Kergan ( 780543 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @03:48PM (#42443813)

    Methinks you've no idea of what you're talking about. Only the most uninformed American, British and Continental European could possibly have anything to say about EU democracy -- and that would be if, and only if, they followed Anglo-Saxon news.

    Get real. Seriously.

    The parliament is elected in very much the same way as the US congress is. The EC officials are suggested by elected heads of state, and must be approved by the EU parliament [].

    When new directives and regulations are in the pipe, the entire process is entirely transparent. They publish pretty much everything they do in no less than 23 languages. Consider that for a moment. 23 languages. If you've got anything to say about whatever the EC and the EP are working on, you merely need to read up and participate. And you can. And some do. At all levels. It's grass-root stuff, really. And grass-root movements actually get their way every now and then (e.g. ACTA), contrary to what occurs in the US congress.

    The EU's key issue, if any, is this: When local parliaments transcribe a directive into local law that relates to improving air quality, they'll readily take credit for it. But when heads of States agree to pass a tough but much needed reform as an EU treaty, directive or regulation, they'll instantly blame the EU for it.

    A case in point would be France's latest president, Hollande. He campaigned saying he'd renegotiate the stability pact. Anyone with an ounce of clue knew that he was full of shit. But even his key opponent, Sarkozy, didn't call him out on it, because the EU is far too convenient a scapegoat to lay bare. Hollande went on to lick Merkel's feet and promptly enact the actual treaty. And he'll need it, to pass further legislation down the road to axe the public sector. Want you to bet that he won't place part or all of the blame on the stability pact when he does?

    Its other key issue would be the UK press' Euro-skepticism at large. Which, I assume, is your main source of information -- directly or not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @04:48PM (#42444523)

    No, there's something wrong with software patents. I use both proprietary and FOSS software and appreciate the principles behind both methods of development and distribution. Existing copyright protection even supports the existence of both models

    Say we need software to decode a popular video format. The proprietary developer writes said software and then distributes it in binary form for a fee. If people want to use this software they can do so by purchasing a license to use it and then can continue to use that software as they please. The license prevents them from distributing copies of that software to other people so that the developer doesn't miss out. The developer will likely keep the source code to themselves. End result: developer makes money on their hard work and can put food on the table, and the users get software that does what they want. Everyone is happy.

    The FOSS developer writes their own software as well. It can't copy any functionality directly from the proprietary software above as the proprietary developer hasn't released the source code. The FOSS developer must write it from scratch, or perhaps reuse code from another FOSS project. Either way, a similar amount of effort goes into writing it as the proprietary developer has faced. This software is then released as source code with no restrictions on its end use. It may be released in compiled binary form too, or somebody else might choose to do this part. End result: users get software that they can use how they like and have the ability to study and modify it too if they wish (i.e. freedom). They can also distribute the software to others.

    So everyone is happy; both models work nicely.

    Then someone discovers that both of these software products infringe on a software patent. Now, the third party holding a patent can dictate or restrict both of the above situations despite not having contributed to the actual real work involved in either resulting product. In order to continue, the proprietary developer might negotiate a royalty fee that is deducted as a portion of the fee that users pay for the software.

    Things get a little more complex for FOSS. Does the developer have to negotiate this, or those distributing binary copies of the software. Does that mean that every end user who compiles their own copy technically have to stump up a fee to some third party? Where do they pay? How can this be monitored to ensure that everyone who should pay, does? If the unit license cost is very low (e.g. a few cents), is it even feasible? No matter what, this process breaks the entire FOSS model.

    So FOSS itself isn't broken, the system is. It should be able to legitimately cater for both proprietary and FOSS software models and it seems that we can better achieve this without software patents.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein