We need many associations such as April

Yann Moulier Boutang's photo

Why does the association April fully deserve the Lutèce d'Or award that it is receiving tonight? It will be receiving it through its Executive Director and tireless animator Frederic Couchet, that I salute in this message as he could not be here. April, a quite young association, has already played a crucial role in the battle so that new public spaces may be created in urban areas and more generally in all areas where digital cooperation and intelligence have become the driver producing sustainable growth. Facing the daunting challenges that lie ahead - a sustainable growth for the whole of mankind and the planet and much more equality between the North and South - we need new instruments, but also a new culture. By promoting Free Software, April is involved in the field of digital culture and new technologies. It is part of this larger and exciting movement which works on the creation of new common property, of which other illustrations include water, air, arable land, seas, and language. April doesn't only work for the general good, but it invents the new borders of public action. An access as democratic as possible, the provision of maximum intelligence is the common condition of all activities which we call market economy - namely companies and financial markets - but also all forms of activities involved before and after - culture, private space, the social and public economy. Even the industry welcomes more and more the progression of non-proprietary technologies and languages. This is both because they are cheaper and because they inspire more cooperation, confidence, contribution. This is more effective because they counteract the tendency to create a thicket of standards of which DRM are only the latest expression. SMEs, start ups, large companies that have understood the game are right in helping April and Free Software developers. They should, as their survival is at stake. Interoperability of computers in their operating systems and in their applications is obvious to all those that are familiar with the non-digital industry. Without interoperability, the model of competition between firms would turn rapidly to capturing annuities. The guarantees of equal access, protection of private person against the technical oligarchies of encryption are new demands for public action that are well known to organizations such as the CNIL. The nano-technologies and smart objects raise formidable problems regarding freedom. It becomes even more necessary to ensure transparency of computer programs, information systems and networks. All the pro-security speeches in the world cannot invent solutions to these issues. Only more democracy, public debate at European and global level can defend our non-barbarian society. April played a crucial role in the battle against software patents in the European Parliament. The Parliament was thus informed and could escape the tropism of the Commission that was under intense lobbying of large proprietary software firms. What's the point of the fines imposed on the firm of Redmont if we give to it much more with one a hand than what we have taken with the other by adopting the most conservative intellectual property legislation? We need more of April's presence in the upcoming battles. April and its President are working without the safety net of a guaranteed public employment. We need many associations such as April, as they are an illustration of citizen's expertise. Long live April, that teaches us every day that democracy is built every day. It is a happy sign for the Paris metropolis that April be awarded the Lutèce d'or. A free access to Wireless Internet in public places would be another.

— Yann Moulier Boutang_
, Professor in Economic science