European Union Public Licence
|Linking from code with a different license||Depend on the applicable copyright law in the European Union country where the Licensor resides or has his registered office for defining what qualify as a derivative work.|
Its first version 1.0 was approved on 9 January 2007. Its latest version is version 1.1, which was approved by the European Commission on 9 January 2009. The licence is available in 22 official languages of the European Union. All linguistic versions have the same validity. The EUPL v 1.1 is OSI certified as from March 2009.
This licence was originally intended to be used for the distribution of software developed in the framework of the IDABC programme, although (given its generic scope) it is also suitable for use by any software developer. Its main goal is its focusing on being consistent with the copyright law in the 27 Member States of the European Union, while retaining compatibility with popular open-source software licences such as the GNU General Public License. The first IDABC software packages mentioned are CIRCA groupware, IPM and the eLink G2G, G2C, G2B specification software. Since the launching (in October 2008) of the European Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR), which has been migrated to the Joinup collaborative platform (December 2011) other software mainly produced by European administrations, has been licensed under the EUPL.
Comparison to other open source/free software licences
With licence proliferation a growing problem, the European Union justifies its licence as the first open source licence to be released by an international governing body. The European Union also wishes to dispel legal uncertainties, real or perceived, in respect of other open-source licences, such as the GNU General Public License, by creating a software licence which takes due account of European Union Law. A third goal of this licence is to create an open-source licence available into 22 official languages of the European Union, and is sure to conform to the existing copyright laws of each of the 27 Member States of the European Union. Lastly, to dispel fears of licence proliferation, the licence was developed with other open-source licences in mind and specifically authorizes covered works to be re-released under the following licences, when combined with their covered code in larger works:
- GNU General Public License (GPL) v. 2
- Open Software License (OSL) v. 2.1, v. 3.0
- Common Public License v. 1.0
- Eclipse Public License v. 1.0
- CeCILL v. 2.0
On the other hand, many OSI-approved licenses are compatible with the EUPL: JOINUP publish a general compatibility matrix between all OSI-approved licenses and the EUPL.
An overview of the EUPL license and on what makes it different has been published in OSS-Watch.
The EUPL v1.2, which is currently being drafted, is set to be released before the end of 2013. A principal objective of the EUPL v1.2 is to update the appendix of compatible licences to cover newer popular licenses such as the GNU GPLv3 and AGPLv3.
According to the EUPL v.1.1, the European Commission may publish other linguistic versions and/or new versions of the EUPL, so far this is required and reasonable, without reducing the scope of the rights granted by the Licence. Future upgrades will not be applicable automatically when software was expressly released "under the EUPL v.1.1 only". New provisions cover the Application service provider loophole of software distribution: Distribution and/or Communication (of software) includes providing on-line "access to its essential functionalities". A possible issue that could use further thought is how the licence affects dynamic linking. This currently depends on national law. According to studies done prior to the approval of the EUPL, this is intentional: each case is left to appreciation.
Member States policies
As from 2010, EU Member States adopt or revise policies aimed to encourage - when appropriate - the open source distribution of public sector applications. The EUPL is formally mentioned in some of these policies:
- OSI approval published on Joinup
- http://www.cecill.info/licences/Licence_CeCILL_V2-en.html%7CThe EUPL is explicitly compatible with GPLv2. For combine code with GPLv3, The EUPL allows combining under CeCILL v. 2.0, and CeCILL is then explicitly GPL v.3 compatible.
- CIRCA groupware
- IPM technical architecture
- IPM EUPL
- Osor.eu migration
- Joinup forge
- Matrix of EUPL compatible licenses
- The EUPL - An Overview
- Public Consultation on the draft EUPL v1.2
- European Union Public Licence - EUPL
- Full English text of the licence (PDF)
- Legal context and milestones of the elaboration of the EUPL (by Severine Dusollier) (PDF)
- Article of professor Severine Dusollier with a particular reference to the EUPL (PDF)
- "Speech of Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission", YouTube video
- "The European Union can show off with its own, free, open source license", Linux magazine PDF
- Italian web site dedicated to the EUPL