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Re: FSF Europe Survey on Interplay between Intellectual Property

Hi Lesley,

thanks for forwarding word of our work on this survey and study!

Let me add a bit of background:

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Lesley Binks <lesley.binks@googlemail.com>
> Date: Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 19:16
> Subject: FSF Europe Survey on Interplay between Intellectual Property
> Rights and Standards.
> To: debian-women@lists.debian.org

> Not sure quite who might be interested in this - I'm just
> recirculating these links on the FSF from another source.

You can find FSFE's news item about the survey here:


> Survey at http://projects.isi.tu-berlin.de/ipr/eso/survey.php
> Explanatory memo: http://projects.isi.tu-berlin.de/ipr/eso/
> I think this survey is based toward the corporate and/or IPR
> generating end  so if you have reached or resolved a conflict between
> IPR and standards at some point in a corporate career you might want
> to look at this.

What we want to highlight is that there's something funny about
this survey. 

It's part of a study commissioned by the European Commission, led
by the Fraunhofer institute. The study is supposed to explore the
interplay between patents and standards, and we're somewhat
concerned about the direction it might be taking. After all,
the European Commission uses studies like these as a basis for
their policy development.

In particular, the survey seems to be aimed at finding out how
European businesses would like patents to be licensed when they're
integrated into standards. For Free Software, the only practical
option here is "royalty free". Everything else means that you'd
have to charge per copy when you (re-)distribute the software --
that's incompatible with the freedom to share the software.

The survey itself talks about "essential IPR", but what they mean
is clearly patents -- so they lose points for obfuscated

> The survey is supposed to take about 20 minutes (!)

From the feedback we've had from the European Free Software
business associations that we've contacted, the survey is too
complicated for the smaller technology companies that make up the
backbone of the European economy. 

By pointing those companies to the survey, we're trying to avoid
it becoming even more biased to the views of the few large players
that currently dominate the standardisation process.

But even with that effort, it's questionable whether the study
that comes out in the end will really reflect the views and needs
of Europe's industry, or just a very distorted version thereof.

Best regards,

Karsten Gerloff                      [ ]   <gerloff@fsfeurope.org>
Free Software Foundation Europe   [ ][ ][ ]      [http://fsfe.org]
President                            | |         +49 176 9690 4298
Your donation powers our work!           [http://fsfe.org/donate/]

Free Software Foundation Europe e.V. is a German Verein registered
at the Registergericht Hamburg (VR 17030). 

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