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Introduction to the European Union Public License (EUPL)

by xavier last modified 2009-03-30 16:00

The EUPL is the first European Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS) license. It has been elaborated by the European Commission in respect of European law requirements and has official value in 22 languages. It can be used by anyone for software distribution.

Based on an article by OSOR - Oct 2008


The main objective of the European Commission is to distribute widely and promote the use of software owned by itself and other European Institutions under a Free/Open Source License conform to European law requirements. The EUPL is however written in neutral terms so that a broader use might be envisaged.

The purpose of the EUPL is not to compete with existing licenses, but to encourage a new wave of public administrations to embrace the Free/Open Source model to valorize their software and knowledge, starting with the European Institutions themselves. The EUPL is compatible with some other copy left licenses, including the GPLv2.


Why the EUPL?

The reason to create a new license is that in a detailed legal study no existing license was found to correspond to the requirements of the European Commission:

  • The License should have equal legal value in many languages;

  • The terminology regarding intellectual property rights had to be conformant with European law requirements;

  • To be valid in all Member States, limitations of liability or warranty had to be precise, and not formulated “to the extend allowed by the law” as in most licenses designed with the legal environment of the United States in mind.

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