Impact of the EUPL

The EUPL is the licence of choice for distributing software from the European institutions or agencies and from several Member States. The EUPL has made such distribution possible on a much wider scale. The preference for the EUPL is not exclusive of other licences providing the same rights (the use of another licence may even be compulsory according to the copyright law, in case the distributed work is a derivative of a previous work distributed under another licence that is copyleft. This mostly happens when developing from GPL covered components).

The EUPL is part of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF v2 published in December 2010) as the legal framework implemented by the Commission in order to facilitate the sharing of software components. This is in line with the 2009 Malmö EU ministerial declaration: “the Open Source model could be promoted for use in eGovernment projects”.

About 30% of Joinup hosted projects are distributed under the EUPL (January 2011).

The EUPL is used outside Joinup (in other forges and for other projects). At the end of 2015, about 15,000 projects are reported to be distributed under the EUPL, in whole or in part (according to Github and other source code bases). 

Within two years of its v1.1 publication and its certification by the Open Source Initiative (OSI), the EUPL was already widely used in Member States:

  • The Estonian National Interoperability Framework (2009) requires that software developments commissioned by the public sector should be freely used on the basis of the EUPL licence.
  • The Spanish Royal Decree 4/2010 implementing the national interoperability framework states: “the EUPL will be procured, without prejudice of other licences that can guarantee the same rights”.
  • The Malta Government policy (2010) states: “Government shall seek to facilitate distribution of OSS Government solutions under the EUPL.”
  • The Netherlands (NOiV) licence wizard recommends the EUPL for software owned by the government.
  • The EUPL is widely used by Italian institutions (i.e. Istat) and regions, by administrations in France, Germany, Belgium, etc.

The publication of the new EUPL v1.2 (May 2017) has reinforced the use of the EUPL.
The EC Open source software strategy 2020-2023 specifies the use of the EUPL for EC distributed software.

The Joinup team welcomes new information and questions related to the use of the EUPL, which can be submitted HERE.