Gov Software in Slovakia

Slovakia Digital endorsing EUPL

The State IT Act (Act on Information Technologies in Public Administration) goes to the Slovakian Parliament for vote. It was endorsed by the Slovak government at the end of 2018 and is now at the Parliament agenda for adoption and entry into force in May 2019.

The law will cover all software that the state will develop, itself or via contractors.

Concerning this software, the main points highlighted by the law are as follows:

  • vendors would have to hand over the source codes to the software they created;
  • the software would be covered by an EUPL license, which in practice says that the vendor will allow the use of the work under "in any circumstances and in any way";
  • the state would be "the sole and exclusive owner of all the information" acquired during the project, its creation, operation and all its changes. Despite this “exclusive ownership” it is good to know that distribution under the EUPL will also benefit to the “vendor-developer”: the open licence authorises him to freely reuse the source code in other projects. Therefore, it is a win-win situation for all parties;
  • when the supplier changes, the vendor/developer company would have to provide "full synergy", particularly in the field of architecture and integration of information systems;
  • a project that is not only consisting of the delivery of a single functional unit must be subdivided into sub-deliveries and each has its own added value or independence.

Ján Hargaš (Slovakia Digital) declares praising the effort to promote the EUPL license - so to cover the delivered work under "in any circumstances and in any way". One of the main reason is to eliminate the so-called “vendor lock-in” issue: when the original vendor provides support and operations, and when it keeps exclusive access to the code, other companies cannot bid or compete. Another important reason is that the licence, which has a working value in Slovakian language, clarifies the legal framework and contains "unambiguous formulations".

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