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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 erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @12:58PM (#42442203) Homepage

    According to the article, there are [still] no software patents in the EU. So theoretically, any FRAND claims of software patents should be ignored. Of course, software patent holders never say "these are software patents." They just say "patents." It'll be interesting how initial claims of this sort will work out.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @01:09PM (#42442271)

    The author starts with the assertion that because he saw the promos for the workshop "only" weeks beforehand, it was therefore a secret plot :
    ... organise something in the shadows, so that the open source world would be caught hopping. The fact that I only heard about it a few weeks beforehand ... shows how quiet the Commission kept about this. This secrecy ..."

    He knew about weeks ahead of time, yet claims a shadowy plot to keep the workshop secret, then his logic only gets worse from there. Triple tinfoil hat for that author.

    He says the panel was rigged, but it includes the founder of FSF Europe and a FSF attorney as well as representatives from specific open source projects/products like PloneGov and Kolab.

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @01:57PM (#42442615) Journal
    The author starts with the premise that it's a shadowy, secret plot, evidenced by the fact he saw the promos for the workshop only WEEKS in advance. I know I always advertise MY secret plots weeks in advance of sitting down to discuss them. He then proceeds to say that the panel, including two representatives from the Free Software Foundation Europe, was a bunch of anti- Free Software shills. The FSF is against free software? Really? Triple tinfoil hat territory.
  • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @03:12PM (#42443461)

    Perhaps that's what the FSF should be working out, instead of pushing GPL v3.

    Why should the FSF spend its time working out how to co-exist with something that they object to?

    I often chuckle when people justify torrenting movies on the basis that Hollywood movies are so bad these days it's not worth paying for them.

    Ok so opposition to software patents == piracy now?

    if the patented idea has no utility, then don't use it. If it does then pay for it.

    This makes the assumption that the patent is valid and actually provides use. Never mind all the crap patents used by patent trolls, ones that get invalidated after long court battles. Never mind patents that are violated without even being aware of it.

    Putting patent "methods" into standards is something good exclusively for proprietary software vendors as a way to exclude FOSS solutions.

    I'm a proprietary software developer.

    And, quite obviously, opposed to Free Software. It's pretty obvious.

    I believe that when people labour towards something that is consumed by others, they should be paid.

    You also are defending the status quo. Unsurprisingly, there are people who disagree with it.

    I don't understand why people here are so desperate to devalue computer programmers so their work is worth nothing.

    That's not at all what is happening here. This is you trying to paint FOSS developers in a bad light and stump for the pro-patent status quo.

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @07:25PM (#42445831)

    Many adherents claim it is all about freedom of information: The right to have the source code to modify. However for them it is really about just not having to pay for anything, though they won't admit it.

    After all, FRAND open standards are something that would appear to be compatible with open information. They are available to all, and the standard contains everything you need to implement it, the fees for redistribution are fixed, and so on. While it does cost money, the information is open, the implementation is open. There are any secrets and you can re-implement it as you like.

    However many OSS heads scream and cry about it, many of the same ones who will declare that OSS is not incompatible with making money. They'll claim it limits freedom but what they are really mad about is that it limits their ability to get things for free. They don't want to have to pay for software, and FRAND does stand in opposition to that.

    People need to decide which kind of free software they care about: Do you care about open access to the source and information, or do you care about not paying? Either is fine but be clear what it is that matters. Don't claim that openness of code is important and then get mad when code is open, but there are fees for redistribution.

    An example would be H.264. The standard is an open one, and FRAND licensed. You can get the reference code and it has been gotten and improved by projects like x264. However, if you wish to distribute your works, you need to pay for it. It is open, but not no-cost.

    If no-cost is what you want, say so. Don't try to claim that you want open access to code, when what you really want is to just not have to pay for any software.

After all is said and done, a hell of a lot more is said than done.