Report of the workshop of the European Commission on FRAND and Free Software licenses (Brussels, 22 November 2012)

On 22 November 2012, the European Commission organized a workshop, which April attended, on the FRAND licenses and open standards.

During that day, many people spoke out to remind those in attendance of the importance of truly open standards, be it for competition, for data continuity, or to avoid technological confinement. Even if the European Commission has already said that this day would not lead to legislative progress strictly speaking, April is pleased to note that most of the players in the field concur on the need to use open standards.

Even so, it is a pity that this day did not happen until after the same Commission's adoption of a strategy1 that forgets all mention of open standards, to the benefit precisely of FRAND ("fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory") licenses. These terms have in fact no precise definition. By imposing restrictions on the use of standards, the FRAND licenses are, therefore, by definition, incompatible with Free Software. If the discussions have been going in the right direction, we nonetheless have to remain vigilant with regard to what happens next with the matter.

The European Commission published a report which includes a summary of all the presentations and the discussions held at the workshop