TiSA: the Trade Agreement That Would Prohibit Free Software Mandates

On May 27, 2015 a a new leak of TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement) was published. TiSA is an international agreement currently negotiated behind closed doors by 50 countries, including the EU and the US. In this version, an article explicitly prevents a country to give priority to Free Software. April denounces this text and asks European governments to reject those dangerous and opaque negotiations.

The article in question plainly states that no Free Software mandates would be authorized:

Article 6: [JP propose; CO oppose: Transfer or Access to Source Code

1. No Party may require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition of providing services related to such software in its territory.

2. For purposes of this Article, software subject to paragraph 1 is limited to mass-market software, and does not include software used for critical infrastructure.]

This statement is proposed by Japan and opposed by Colombia, there is no word on the position of other countries yet. However, it goes against the recent moves in favor of Free Software in many countries, including France and Italy. The adoption of such a text would be a dangerous setback against interoperability, data durability, and independence, without providing any clear advantage for international trade. April hence demands this sentence to be removed and asks the question: why has it been inserted in the first place, and who asked for it?

For more information on the secret agreement TiSA, we invite you to read the article on EFF's website.

WikiLeaks has released 17 secret documents from the ongoing TISA.