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Recently I stumbled upon a footnote in an old IDABC presentation, then had a look at the Commission registers with the reference and found a document from the Commission that was not made public yet.

C(2006)7108/1 22/12/2006 Enterprise and Industry Draft Commission Decision concerning the use of an open source software licence related to sofware developed under the IDA or IDABC programmes

A final version of the decision is not found in the register. In Europe you can file a request for public document access under the  regulation EC/1049/2001 and usually get what you ask for. IDABC is now superceded by a new EU programme for interoperability, ISA. Apparently the Commission decision was later updated when the 1.1 version of the European Union Public License was approved. The EUPL is a wise choice for software from the public sector and enterprises as it is the legally best reviewed license for European market jurisdictions, available in all EU languages, it does not contain a political agenda and is compatible to most common licenses such as the GPL.

Any further questions?

  • Was C(2006) 7108 ever formally adopted or “top killed”? Does “The European Commission approved the EUPL v.1.0 on 9 January 2007” refer to C(2006) 7108?
    It seems the document was adopted.
  • Why is a final decision not found in the register?
    Because the Commission decided so on purpose! Very fishy.
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The Open Source Initiative (OSI) approved a license from the European Commission which the administration developed for its own software, the European Union Public License (EUPL) (cmp also the info resources of OSOR.eu and Wikipedia). It was written to be legally enforcable in all member states of the Union with its member states and does not want to score on political grounds. Unlike other licenses it is available in several languages. The draft and review team carefully investigated existing licenses. Still it aims to be compatible with existing software licenses. It was fascinating to get involved in the EUPL process because it demonstrated how “legal interoperability” is a challenge entirely different from “legal harmonisation” and what public authorities can contribute to transnational legal certainty without any requirements to change the national laws. The EU-Commission IDABC did an excellent job here and I hope a capable transnational authority will start the same effort for RAND and RF patent licensing/indemnification models. Congratulations for Karel de Vriendt, the approval of the EUPL by the OSI will facilitate the application of the license for the re-use of egovernment software. The EUPL is also increasingly a vital option for European businesses looking for a legally secure way to license their software to their customers under its terms.

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