The joint committee for the French bill on Higher Education and Research confirms the provision giving priority to Free Software
Paris, 26 June 2013. Press release.
This Wednesday, 26 June 2013, the members of the joint committee (CMP) for the French bill on higher education and research —from both the National Assembly and the Senate— confirmed the legislation that gives priority to Free Software in the Public Service for Higher Education. April especially welcomes this vote and congratulates the Deputies and Senators. April also thanks all the persons who mobilised and contacted the Parliament Members.
Last week, at first reading of the bill on higher education and research, the Senate introduced a modified Article 6 that gave priority to Free Software in the Public Service for Higher Education1. This Wednesday, 26 June 2013, the CMP held a meeting to reconcile the versions of the bill that were adopted respectively by the National Assembly and the Senate, into a single text. The provision dealing with Free Software was one of discrepancies to be resolved. The CMP validated the version that gives priority to Free Software (in French).
The CMP adopted this final wording for Article 6 (read the new bill (in French) and the report of the deputy Vincent Feltesse and the senator Dominique Gillot (in French)):
The previous wording used the inadequate term “copyright-free software” [logiciels libres de droit]. The CMP corrected that mistake.
II. – In the aforementioned Education Code, Article L. 123-4-1 is reinstated and reads as follows:
“Art. L. 123-4-1. – The Public Service for Higher Education provides digital services and educational resources to its users.
“free software is used as a priority.”
April is glad that deputies and Senators recognise the importance of Free Software in the Public Service for Higer Education, as it alone can guarantee equal access to this future service. April hopes this first step will be followed by other legislation in favour of Free Software.
The following Senators were at the CMP:
- Members: Marie-Christine Blandin (Green Party), Dominique Gillot (Socialist Party, PS), David Assouline (PS), Françoise Cartron (PS), Jacques Legendre (UMP), Sophie Primas (UMP) and Valérie Létard (UDI) ;
- Substitutes: Jean-Claude Carle (UMP), Ambroise Dupont (UMP), Brigitte Gonthier-Maurin (CRC), Françoise Laborde (RDSE), Françoise Laurent-Perrigot (PS), Claudine Lepage (PS) and Colette Mélot (UMP).
The following Deputies were at the CMP:
- Members: Patrick Bloche (SRC), Vincent Feltesse (SRC), Sandrine Doucet (SRC), Yves Durand (SRC), Patrick Hetzel (UMP), Françoise Guégot (UMP) and Dominique Nachury (UMP) ;
- Substitutes: Jean-Yves Le Déaut (SRC), Christophe Borgel (SRC), Michel Pouzol (SRC), Virginie Duby-Muller (UMP), Benoist Apparu (UMP), Isabelle Attard (Green Party) and Rudy Salles (UDI).
The CMP text will be put to vote at the respective plenaries of the two Chambers, probably next week. The discussion of articles will be limited to debating and voting amendments. At this reading, amendments introduced or approved by the Government will be the only ones allowed. For additional information you may refer to the page about the CMP, on the National Assembly website (in French).
“Senators and MPs recognise the importance of Free Software for a public service. We hope that the Government is not going to make any new attempt at reversing the encouragement to use Free Software in education, which was one of François Hollande's presidential campaign commitments,2” said Frédéric Couchet, Executive Director of April.
Pioneer of Free Software in France, April is since 1996 a major player in the democratisation and the spread of Free Software and open standards to the general public, professionals and institutions in the French-speaking world. In the digital era that is ours, it also aims to inform the public on the dangers of an exclusive appropriation of information an knowledge by private interests.
The association has over 4,000 members, using or producing Free Software.
English translation done by : Thérèse, Jeanne. April's English translation team is recruiting volunteers.
For more information on the Public Service for Higher Education, please visit the Legifrance website (in French).
- 2. In April 2013, François Hollande's answer (in French) to the National Council of Free Software was that, in the IT field, the State should work toward “agile, rather than large, expensive, compartmentalised projects,” stressing that “Free Software allows for more resource sharing and encourages competition among external suppliers.”. About education specifically, he stated the following: “I hope that high quality Free Software, using standardised open formats, will be taught in schools and universities, and that its use will be given priority in all exams, both for office applications and for scientific, technical or documentary uses.”