13 April 2023. Brussels. It is two years since CISPE launched the Ten Principles for Fair Software Licensing with Cigref, the French CIOs association of digital leaders. To mark the occasion, CISPE is declaring 13 April 2023 the first European Fair Software Day.
The Ten Principles for Fair Software Licensing were created to provide customers with an effective tool to rebalance one-sided licence agreements with dominant software companies and allow them to run their software in the cloud of their choice without financial or other penalty. Launched under the patronage of the then Digital Minister of France, Cedric O, on 13 April 2021, they were supported from the outset by CIOs and cloud organisations across the continent including Voice in Germany, CIO AICA Forum, CIONet Italia, CIO Club Italia, AUSED, FIDA Inform in Italy, the Dutch Cloud Community in The Netherlands, and the Danish Cloud Community in Denmark.
Since its launch, the Ten Principles have caught the imagination of customers, vendors, and influencers around the world. Events in Denmark, Italy, Spain and the UK were followed by launches in Israel and the USA and conversations in countries from South Africa to Japan.
The Principles have been integrated into CISPE’s Public Sector Cloud Procurement Handbook and have been referenced by academics, associations and even regulators as a straightforward and effective framework that could be used to restore competition in cloud sectors.
Today, on European Fair Software Day, CISPE reiterates the importance of a set of agreed principles that define fair practice in software licensing.
It also seeks to reclaim the Principles on behalf of customers. The Principles exist to provide software customers with a powerful and effective negotiating tool that will help them get a fair agreement. As such, software companies cannot unilaterally claim to meet the requirements of the Ten Principles – they must be independently assessed and ratified. CISPE has developed an auditing framework which is available to any independent third party wishing to assess the compliance of a software vendor on behalf of a customer.
“Two years on from their launch, CISPE has placed the Ten Principles, and their auditing framework, at the heart of remedies it has proposed in its competition case against Microsoft.” Said Francisco Mingorance, Secretary General of CISPE. “We believe that principle-based, future-proof and auditable commitments can restore fair competition to the sector and give European customers a strong foundation for free and fair choice to run the software they want in their preferred cloud.”
“On the second anniversary of the launch of the Principles for Fair Software Licensing, the Coalition for Fair Software Licensing is proud to join a growing global chorus of organisations calling for clarity and predictability in software licensing terms to ensure customer choice and security in the cloud,” Coalition for Fair Software Licensing Executive Director Ryan Triplette said. “These Principles provide the framework needed to ensure that customers can devote their resources towards economic growth, rather than have them diverted towards exploitive or restrictive licensing terms.”
Simon Besteman, Managing Director of Dutch Cloud Community added: “The 10 Principles of Fair Software Licensing launched two years ago have opened a long overdue dialogue between the dominant software publishers and their users. Although these openings are meaningful, we are still only at the beginning of the journey towards fairness and openness that we all need in order to build sustainable relations between the publishers and the cloud community. We remain supportive of the actions of CISPE and others and committed to working towards making the Principles for Fair Software Licensing the norm everywhere.”
Paola Generali, President of Assintel, the Italian association for ICT and digital companies, said: “In Italy, the issue of free competition in the software market, and more generally in the overall ICT market, is quite evident. In an economic fabric composed primarily of micro, small and medium enterprises, it is vital to have a criterion of fairness, in order to allow SMEs to operate in an honest and respectable atmosphere. For this very reason, Assintel immediately and strongly backed the 10 Principles. Thanks to these Principles it has been possible to support and strengthen the fight against the abuse of economic dependence in line with Article 33 of Italy’s 2021 Annual Competition Law, adopted in August 2022.”
Lorenzo Principali, Digital Department Director of the Institute for Competitiveness added: “The analysis conducted by I-Com on more than 80 ICT companies in Italy showed how the timely application of CISPE’s 10 Principles for Fair Software Licensing could produce benefits for the Italian ICT market of up to €1.6 billion per year. This is a further reason for us to support CISPE’s initiative and to emphasise the importance of promoting the systematisation of the regulatory framework on cloud computing both at the Italian and European levels. Such changes would help to protect smaller and non-integrated providers and to foster the development and diffusion of the cloud in businesses and public bodies.”
Carlos Mateo, President of the Spanish Startups Association and promoter of the Nubes initiative said: “Fair access to cloud infrastructures and services are an essential prerequisite for the development of the entrepreneurial start-up ecosystem in Spain. According to our study, merely raising the adoption of cloud services to the European average could lead to the creation of 324,000 new jobs in Spain and add 1.3% to GDP growth by 2030. We therefore encourage those concerned by these unfair and damaging software practices to use the Ten Principles of Software Licensing and thereby promote a healthy and flourishing digital ecosystem.”