Brussels, 6. November 2009 –This week a Dutch journalist, Brenno de Winter, alerted the public about a new draft for an upcoming European Interoperability Framework (EIF) 2.0 communication of the European Commission. The leaked draft is a follow-up to a famous earlier document 1.0 with a strong emphasis on genuine open standards (and open source). FFII has analysed the document and explains why a release in its current form would undermine interoperability.
The IDABC EIF 1.0 is referenced around the world because it includes a clear definition of the professional term “open standard”. The release of EIF 1.0 was followed by intense lobbying from stakeholders from third nations which aimed to undermine its contribution to European Digital Independence but also strong support from other players.
“Microsoft and other larger companies went to lobby the European Commission and DG Enterprise in order to ask for the removal of the open standards definition, in order to exclude Free Software with patent royalties”, explains FFII President Benjamin Henrion, who followed the lobby debates in Brussels. While some lobbyists want to water the European Interoperability Framework down, others aim for better interoperability enforcement and full support for open standards with public ICT services.
FFII quickly analysed the new document and contributes Ten Recommendations on how to get a better EIF 2.0. Nevertheless, the only aspect that matters for the FFII is to preserve a strong definition of “open standards and specifications” in a way that patent cartels do not qualify for the gold standard. Admission of patent cartels (RAND licensing terms) is also a means to make the terminology incompatible with the European Union Public License (and compatible licenses) and several national laws. Ultimately, admission of patent cartels for the public sector also endorses the controversial software patentability without democratic backing, a concern for many Europeans.
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The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in over fifty countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, and open standards. More than 1000 members, 3,500 companies and 100,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in public policy questions concerning exclusion rights in data processing.