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FOSDEM21: Legal and Policy Issues Devroom agenda


As every year, the FSFE will be present at FOSDEM, the biggest annual Free Software event in Europe. In 2021, the FSFE is honored to co-organise the Legal and Policy Devroom at FOSDEM. We are excited and look forward to presenting you an interesting programme throughout the whole weekend.

While FOSDEM normally takes place every year in the Free University of Brussels, this year it will for the first time happen online. Also for the first time, the FSFE will co-organise the Legal and Policy Devroom on Saturday and Sunday at 14:00 CET.


FOSDEM's Legal and Policy Issues Devroom addresses important Free Software (also called Open Source Software) related policy or legal topics. Our community has substantial expertise in this area yet there are few venues to discuss these matters in a forum open to all. Hackers, developers, contributors, lawyers, policy experts, and community leaders all possess expertise in these matters. At the Legal and Policy Issues Devroom we come together for a fruitful exchange on these questions:

On Saturday we start with an interview with Evangelos Tsavalopoulos from the European Commission on the new Open Source strategy of the Commission. The strategy was presented on 21 October 2020 and we will shed light on the first activities since then and address critical voices that have been raised in the last months.

The interview will be followed by a talk at 15:00 CET by Deb Nicholson and Hong Phuc Dang on: Open Source Culture is Very US-Centric, But It Shouldn't Be. How Can We Make FOSS Truly Global?

At 15:30 we will learn more about Software and Hardware Freedom in Health public policy. Fabio Balli, Adriana Groh and Luis Falcon will be on a panel and discuss the extent to which the use of Free Software and open hardware can be used in the public health sector. The panel will be moderated by Karen Sandler.

The panel will be followed by a talk by Sven Franck who addresses the issue of lacking a financial base for software projects. He demands Give open source a (tax) break at 16:30

The closing panel of the day starts at 17:00 and focuses on licence compliance questions: John Sullivan, Miriam Ballhausen, Davide Ricci and Eilís Ní Fhlannagáin will discuss: Open Source and Free Software License Compliance And Users - Do Present Compliance Practices Assure Software Freedom for Device Users? The panel will be moderated by Bradley M. Kuhn.

On Sunday, Vittorio Bertola will kick off the day with a talk on Open Source, Interoperability and the Digital Markets Act - New European regulation proposals to open up the dominant platform at 14:00.

At 14:30, this talk will be followed by a talk on licensing issues in a large community by Cornelius Schumacher: Protecting against proprietary re-licensing with a community contract - How the KDE Free Qt Foundation ensures software freedom for twenty-five years and counting

At 15:30, the FSFE’s Deputy Legal Coordinator, Lucas Lasota, will present an overview on the current state of Router Freedom in Europe and the consequences for Free Software users worldwide.

At 16:00 we will have another discussion on licencing, this time about a specific court case: Giovanni Battista Gallus, Fabio Pietrosanti, Carlo Piana and Alberto Pianon will talk about the first AGPL compliance case settled in an Italian Court.

To close the devroom, the organisers of the Legal and Policy Devroom – Max Mehl and Alexander from the FSFE, Karen Sandler and Bradley Kuhn from Software Freedom Conservancy, and Richard Fontana from Red Hat – will summarise the issues of the day and tackle some topics that have been missing on the agenda at 17:00.

Beside the talks at the Legal and Policy Issues Devroom you should also consider attending the talk by Max Mehl on REUSE - Best practices for declaring copyright and licenses which will take place at the OpenChain devroom on Saturday at 15:45.

If you want to stay updated and are interested in our other activities and talks around FOSDEM you can visit our digital booth or follow us on social media. Also visit the official FOSDEM page during the event for general updates.

We are all looking forward e-meeting you during FOSDEM for fruitful exchange, debates and networking.