Patrice-Emmanuel Schmitz

Patrice-Emmanuel Schmitz is lawyer, ICT practitioner and legal expert in the framework of, the collaborative public sector sharing and reusing website of the European Commission. He authored several studies in the field of intellectual property rights applied to software, the public procurement reform, the best practice contractual clauses in case of software procurement, data protection under the GDPR, cloud computing and data sharing. He coordinated the writing and translation in 23 languages of the European Union Public License (EUPL) that is used by both public and private sector to distribute free/open source software and the writing of various other legal instruments.

EOLE 2020 / 2021

Webinar 5 "Open source tools for public administrations"

Patrice-Emmanuel will be speaking at this webinar on march 17 at 11:30 am. In the framework of the last EOLE event in Paris on 5 December 2018, the concept of a Joinup Licensing Assistant (JLA) was presented. What was then just a paper concept is now an emerging reality with a number of implemented functionalities, working on a large panel (currently 51) of free/open licenses1.

Across Europe, software copyright owners including Public Administrations are urged to share and distribute their software under open conditions, but for public administrations that are not familiar with free/open licensing, this is a difficult exercise. National guidelines are still very different, recommending various options or restricting (like in France) the number of licenses the public administrations are authorized to use. Various tools or analysis grid exist, generally limiting the choice to a handful permissive licenses (MIT, BSD, APACHE) and, when reciprocity is a requirement, to the GPL family of “weak” (LGPL) or “strong” copyleft licenses (GPL-3.0, AGPL). Analysis are focused on what licenses authorize (“Can”), prohibit (“Cannot”) or condition (“Must”), but no tool bring enough attention to compatibility, interoperability and other concepts that are typical to the European legal framework like a working value in several languages, moral rights or moderated exclusion of liability. After setting the scene and clarifying the key concepts of compatibility and interoperability, the main JLA functionalities are illustrated (they are currently available online and may be tested by everyone):

  • selection of licenses based on their real legal content
  • original information provided and link to the SPDX text repository
  • possibility to compare different licenses
  • possibility to check the compatibility between an inbound and an outbound license

If the reciprocate EUPL (European Union Public Licence) is sometimes taken here as example, it is not only by reference to the last European Commission strategy “Think Open”2 where the license is applicable for distributing EU software, but to illustrate how far it differentiates strongly from some other reciprocal licenses, mainly regarding compatibility and interoperability.