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[FYI] (Fwd) FC: French MPs propose open source software law, access

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Mon, 24 Apr 2000 10:52:28 -0400
To:             	politech@vorlon.mit.edu
From:           	Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Subject:        	FC: French MPs propose open source software law, access to source
Send reply to:  	declan@well.com


Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 13:45:29 +0200
From: Jean-Yves Le Déaut <jy@ledeaut.org>
To: declan@wired.com
Subject: [PR] French MPs propose to generalise the use of open
standards, access to the source code and introduce the 'right to
develop compatible software'

    French MPs propose to generalise the use of open standards, access
        the source code and introduce the "right to develop compatible

                               Paris, 4/21/2000

                            For immediate release


    Paris, 4/21/2000 - Jean-Yves Le Déaut, Christian Paul & Pierre
    Cohen, 3 socialist French MPs belonging to the governmental
    majority, are proposing a law in order to "increase liberties and
    consumer protection, and improve economic competition in the
    information society". This law requires the use of open standards
    as well as software which source code is accessible in all public
    administrations and organisations. Moreover, this law guarantees
    the possibility for anyone to freely develop, publish and use
    compatible software, even in the case a patent or a trademark was
    filed for some communication standard.

    This law is based on 5 historical, juridical or constitutional
    principles: free access to public information, retrievability of
    public data, national security, consumer security and

    The principle of free access to public information requires that
    whenever digital data is exchanged with citizens or between public
    administrations, the way this data is encoded and exchanged should
    not depend on the technology of a single vendor but rather use
    public encoding techniques and protocols, also known as open
    communication standards. Therefore, Article 1 states that
    "whenever exchanging digital information, public administrations,
    organisations and agencies are required to use open communication
    standards, based on public rules and processes to exchange digital

    The principle of retrievability of public data requires that
    digital data created and archived by public administrations should
    be retrievable in its original form at any point in time, even
    after 10 or 20 years, even if the software which was used to
    create this data is no longer maintained by its vendor. The only
    way to guarantee this is to use software which source code is
    available. Moreover, considering the recent advances of the
    Echelon digital intelligence system, access to the source code is
    also required for national security in order to ensure that
    software used by public administrations and organisations do not
    include security holes. Therefore, Article 2 states that "public
    administrations, organisations and agencies are required to use
    software which source code they can access."

    In order to raise the level of competition in the information
    society, this law guarantees the right to develop compatible
    software. This law protects commercial publishers of proprietary
    software and developer communities of free software against
    anticompetitive strategies by enforcing in a practical matter the
    interoperability principle introduced in the European software
    directive of 1991. Therefore, Article 3 states that "any
    individual or moral person has the right to develop, publish and
    use an original software which is compatible whith the
    communication standards of another software."

    More competition means more choice for the consumer, thus more
    security. And, as it has been proven lately, more competition from
    free software means more open standards and higher privacy because
    free software can be freely adapted, redistributed and modified to
    fit each customer's needs. As a consequence, this law tends to
    increase liberties and consumer protection in the information

    This law can be implemented immediately because most software
    publishers are ready to adopt open communication standards such as
    those defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the
    Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Most publishers of
    proprietary software, including Microsoft, have also publicly
    stated that they are ready to grant the French administration
    access to the source code of their products.

    This law reminds that, in a market economy, States can play a
    significant role on the economy and preserve the public interest.


    Constitution française -

    Directive de 1991 sur le logiciel -

    Application de l'Article 19 du code des marchés industriels -

    Code de la propriété intellectuelle - Article L122-6-1 -

   About Jean-Yves Le Déaut, PhD

    Jean-Yves Le Déaut, 55, is a socialist member of parliament
    elected in the Meurthe-et-Moselle prefecture (Lorraine). He is the
    chairman and co-chairman of the Office of Technology Assessment.
    He is author of reports on nuclear energy, waste, geneticaly
    modified organism, AIDS and research policy. As a professor of
    University, he is national delegate for technologies at the French
    Socialist Party.


   About Christian Paul

    Chistian Paul, 40, has been a socialist member of parliament
    elected in the Nièvre prefecture (Bourgogne) from 1997. He is in
    charge of the research group on new information and communication
    technologies at the national parliament and organised the first
    French Days on Internet. He is national secretary for agriculture
    and rural development at the French Socialist Party.


   About Pierre Cohen

    Pierre Cohen , 40, has been a socialist member of parliament
    elected in the Haute Garonne prefecture (Midi Pyrénées) from 1997.
    He is responsible for research for the social group at the
    national parliament and, together with Jean-Yves Le Déaut, wrote a
    report on the French Research Policy which was provided in 1999 to
    the French Prime Minister.


   Press Contact

    Jean-Yves Le Déaut
    Phone: 01 40 63 88 10
    Email: jy@ledeaut.org


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