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Vrijschrift is a Dutch organization concerned with freedom of information. From the objectives,: "Vrijschrift creates awareness about the economic and social meaning of free knowledge and culture for our society. Vrijschrift fulfills both a protecting and promoting role. Internationally Vrijschrift works together with the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure, the Free Software Foundation Europe, Project Gutenberg and a lot of other organisations."
Vrijschrift started an international branch called ScriptumLibre which is the literal translation of the Dutch term Vrijschrift into Latin. In plain English it means free writing, free script.
The organisation has protested about Trend Micro's suing of users of a rival product that Trend claims infringes on a software patent they hold on virus scanning on email gateways.
- Vrijschrift was involved during the political fight against software patents in The Hague and Brussels. Members of Vrijschrift played a key role within the FFII.
- Vrijschrift started the FreE-learning project, which aims at stimulating free educational content under copyleft license. The European Commission refused funding and all attempts in The Hague have failed so far.
- Together with FFII the 'Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive' or 'IPRED' was countered.
- Vrijschrift plays a role in the implementation of the Dutch part of the OpenStreetMap project as an umbrella organization.
- Concerning OOXML Vrijschrift had a seat at the Dutch standardization institute NEN.
- The international 'Translation Project' coordinates activities of developers and translators of free software and is hosted by Vrijschrift.
Vrijschrift is a foundation and its official Dutch name is 'Stichting Vrijschrift.org' (Vrijschrift.org Foundation). It is a legal entity since 2003 although activities started in 1999.
In 2001, the plan was launched to set up a mirror for Project Gutenberg. Internet Service Provider XS4ALL wanted to help and sponsored a server. Later on this turned out to be a risky operation because the Dutch server would contain copyrighted material that was already in the public domain in the US due to differences in law and published book versions. At the same time concerns about the software patent directive from Brussels grew, an earlier idea about applying copyleft principles on learning books was developed and an attempt was made to introduce it - strengthened with a European subsidy. The latter failed of misunderstandings by the crew of commissioner Viviane Reding and it was hard to fit in the program.
In 2003, Wiebe van der Worp founded Vrijschrift.org officially. Nowadays Vrijschrift is characterized as a small but strong organization which is politically and financially independent and both has technical and legal expertise.
Notes and references
- Vrijschrift Wiki
- OpenStreetmap the Netherlands
- Translation Project (free software)
- Philosophy behind free software
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