February 17, 2012

EuroParliament to exclude Free Software with patents and FRAND

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Brussels, 17 Feb 2012 — The European Parliament Consumer Committee is on the verge to reform the standardisation process in Europe. The reform recognises patented interface specifications which discriminate Free Software implementations. Royalties over standards create an unavoidable barrier of entry in the market for small software companies and independent developers.

Benjamin Henrion, president of the association complains: “The payment of royalties makes it impossible to distribute free software on the web. It creates an enormous barrier of entry for small companies and independent developers. Authors of the software VideoLAN have been previously threatened by patent holders because they implemented an ETSI standard for a video decoder.”

The reform recognises digital specifications which are licensed under “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms and conditions” (FRAND).

Henrion continues: “Even consortia like ECMA refuse to define what the RAND term means, because it simply does not mean anything. It is a shame that lawmakers use a term that has no clear definition.”

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The FFII is a not-for-profit association active in twenty European countries, dedicated to the development of information goods for the public benefit, based on copyright, free competition, 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 (intellectual property) in data processing.