Whitepaper on ICT standardization, open source and software makers held liable for code

In this blog, I outline two EC initiatives that I follow with interest: A whitepaper on ICT standardization and a proposal to deem software makers liable for code

At the talkstandards event(see previous blog), there was an interesting talk by Anne Lehouck, Principal Administrator, EC principal administrator at European Commission. I must confess that it took me a bit by surprise since I did not expect the openness and detail in the content. So, this talk was very useful.

Anne Lehouck talked of the European commission’s forthcoming white paper on ICT standardization.

The key points which I took from this talk are:

a) The commission is proposing a platform which will engage all stakeholders with the goal of facilitating coordination between the various bodies including vendors, users, SSOs. This is a policy platform, not a standards platform where the parties will come together to discuss the relationship between standards, industry and public needs.

b) IPR : FRAND will be the preference and compliance to Article 81 and Article 82 of European Competition Law will be important. Policies of standards bodies need to address the complex nature of the IP landscape. We need clear, transparent, flexible policies

c) An emphasis on Europe in light of the global scenario

d) Public procurement : Public agencies and government bodies should choose the best solution. The policy should be sufficiently flexible to allow procuring agencies to choose alternatives conforming to their existing systems.

My personal view is: The approach is pragmatic and its interesting to see what comes of it. In contrast, we have recent proposals like EC wants software makers held liable for code – which in my view are fundamentally unworkable and to make matters worse we are already seeing a mix of open source and non open source strategies. So, if we start making software makers liable for code – I am not clear how that fits in going forward

In any case, a discussion is needed and it’s a good thing

Hence, the whitepaper is a pragmatic approach forward but much remains to be seen