Enhancing the software industry

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How to enhance the software industry ? Don't wonder anymore longer, dear policy makers, and simply follow the guidelines.

1. Fostering freedom to innovate

» No software patent

Patent law was created as a counterpart for the costs invested in developing "technical solutions to technical problems". Besides the fact that the software industry costs are of a completely different range, there is nothing technical in a software - not more than in a music score or a mathematical reasoning. A software is a set of instructions and data aimed at being executed by a machine. Software patents are dangerous as they create ownership rights on trivial processes. Programmers shall not have to worry about infringing a patent while developing pieces of codes. This leads to hindering software innovation, already sufficiently protected by copyright, antitrust and contract laws. Practices consisting in delivering software patents shall be stopped.

» No DRM in Copyright law

Whereas copyright law shall definitely apply to software - and we include here open source licenses - the decision to include DRM among the subject matters was a complete mistake. A DRM is a digital measure aimed at restricting access to digital content. It is not because someone decides to add a DRM on a content that the latter satisfies the legal criterias such as originality or creativity of the work. Worse, it prevents users from exercising legal exceptions to copyright, such as for interoperability or research purposes - in addition to violating their privacy. A complete reform of the copyright system must be undertaken.

» Free and open digital standards

Data needs to circulate freely within the information infrastructure so that users are not locked in with one single editor. This is what we call interoperability, which allows us to read a same document using different software. In that extent we need free and open standards so that various actors can access and implement the latters on royalty-free basis to develop their products. This supposes neither patent nor any copyright restriction whatsoever, and is thus in contradiction with any "fair, reasonable and non discriminatory" model (FRAND) that would impose the payment of royalties. Free and open digital standards shall apply in all standardization bodies.

2. Restoring a healthy competition

» Non discriminatory public procurement

In addition of being strictly forbidden by contracting rules, favoring a brand in public procurement leads to excluding innovative companies from the market and maintaining propriatory, non standardized software in administrative bodies. This, at the expense of governments themselves, who collaterally abdicate their control over IT budget and security. In spite of common sense though, public administrations continue playing a major role in sustaining monopolies through discriminatory calls for tenders. Transparency in public affairs is not only an option anymore. State's infringement to contracting rules must be condemned.

» A ban on tied sales

Tied sales happen when a customer is forced to buy another product together with the one he actually needs. This raises the cost for the latter, and discourages him for searching for an alternative of the imposed product, excluding companies who could potentially offers competitive solutions. The legislation shall allow the customer to buy the products separately and give a chance to innovative competitors.

» Net neutrality

Internet shall remain an area where freedom of speech and communication prevail. If ever certain persons use it for inappropriate behaviours, such behaviours shall be condemned in accordance with the law on case by case basis. The web as for itself shall stand free from any censorship whatsoever. Unfortunatelly, some service providers tend to favor certain editors an block access to other's content based on commercial interests. Such practices are not acceptable and must be forbidden by the law once and for all.

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How to enhance the software industry ? Don't wonder anymore longer, and simply follow the guidelines to foster free innovation and ensure a healthy competition.

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