Legal activities

The Legal Network

The Legal Network1 is a neutral, non-partisan, group of experts in different fields involved in Free Software legal issues. Currently the Legal Network has over 400 participants from different legal systems2, academic backgrounds3 and affiliations4.

The aim of the Legal Network is to promote discussion and foster better knowledge of the legal constructs that back Free Software. The conversations on the Legal Network are intended to be dynamic, thought-provoking and up to speed with the most recent developments.

Providing a neutral place of discussion allows the Free Software community at large to grow along various axes. Most prominently, the Legal Network parses possible complications that may arise with Free Software before they emerge in the legal practice. Consequently it develops solutions and tries to build consensus around them in the legal community. Members of the Legal Network also use it to improve each other’s expertise in those fields in which they are less well-versed, contributing to the improvement of the best legal experts on Free Software.

The discussions of the Legal Network are held in a private mailing list. Through the Free Software Legal and Licensing Workshop, the Legal Network provides a catalyst for such activities, giving its members a chance to meet in person, present their works and ideas and get immediate feedback.

Admission to the Legal Network is restricted, and the discussions held there are confidential. Regardless, this does not lock the content away from the larger Free Software community, as the Chatham House Rule enables members to spread the content of the conversations at fair conditions.

Furthermore, when a topic that requires more in-depth analysis arises, the Legal Network sets up a Special Interest Group (SIG). SIGs are subject to the same Code of Conduct as the Legal Network, but can invite experts from outside the Network if their input is deemed valuable. When the discussion on the original question has reached maturity, the SIG presents its output to the wider community.


  1. Previously known as "European Legal Network".
  2. The Legal Network currently has members from 28 countries spread over 4 continents.
  3. The Legal Network is composed by highly competent legal professionals, engineers and other professional figures that contribute with their own specific knowledge.
  4. The Legal Network members are private practitioners, volunteers, relevant members of the Free Software community, employees of enterprises of different sizes.