Free Software Foundation Europe is a charity organization that empowers users to control technology. Free Software gives everybody the rights to use, understand, adapt and share software. These rights help support other fundamental freedoms like freedom of speech, press and privacy.
The EU is getting ready to vote a "Copyright Reform" package in July 2018. It would fundamentally undermine the foundations upon which Free and Open Source Software is built. The proposed Article 13 of the EU Copyright Directive targets every online service that allows its users to upload and share content with each other, including code hosting platforms. The latter would have to use content recognition technologies to decide what material software developers should be allowed to share. As a result, massive user code base would be monitored and blocked from being shared online at any time.
Thus, software developers will be unable to use currently free software components and tools, which limits their competition and innovation, as the proposed filtering technologies will consider such code reuse a law violation. This can have a serious impact on digital economy due to significant contribution of open source technologies, thus limiting Europe’s growth in this area.
To deal with this situation, FSFE created SaveCodeShare in September 2017. This is an initiative to bring awareness about this unintended impact on software sharing platforms. They needed to design and develop a website for this campaign, so that ordinary users could ask them to connect to their deputy or MP.
The main challenge was a combination of a very limited time and small team. The provided design was quite basic, so we had to improve the original UI designs provided. All application components, including the database and SMTP server settings, had to be deployed to Ansible-Playbook in a timely manner.
We built a solution of 3 modules to address registration and collecting information about the applicants. The main page displays info about the participants, their quantity, and pictures or company logos.
The second module deals with registrations either for individuals or organizations which is done via email with a confirmation. The email is counted as a unique ID. Large organizations just contact FSFE to get listed and they collect and add info for them. This module displays explanations of the Article 13 in question and offers to sign the letter to support the FSFE initiative.
The third module is an admin area where they add large companies and their logos manually, review contact information and the list of all participants. This list can be exported into an csv file which would then be handed over to the Members of the European Parliament and the EU Council.
After the release, the website gathered a community of more than 8,000 individuals and multiple large well-known organizations like GitHub, OpenSuse and LibreOffice. The vote in the EU parliament is pending for June 2018, and they will have to take into the account the signatures collected with the help of SaveCodeShare.
- Back-end: Python, Django
- Databases: PostgreSQL
- Infrastructure/Deployment: Ansible-Playbook