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LLW 2023: learning and exchanging legal knowledge

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The Swedish city of Gothenburg hosted the 2023 edition of the Free Software Legal & Licensing Workshop (LLW), the annual conference for the Legal Network community. It was great to see so many old and new faces in person after two years online, and to learn, share and network about the legal and licensing issues facing current technology developments.

LLW brochure and tote bag

Two and a half days of talks and discussions about licensing and other legal issues surrounding Free Software in the beautiful Swedish city of Gothenburg. Two and a half days in which the Legal Network community finally got together in person to share legal expertise during the official sessions, but also during the coffee breaks and social gatherings. After a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, during which the FSFE had to organise the LLW as an online conference for two years, we are grateful to be able to provide a productive platform for such discussions.

A healthy licensing ecosystem allows Free Software to flourish. Discussion and knowledge sharing contribute to this, which is why this conference was so valuable for the professionals who attended. One of the key discussions this year, with an entire track dedicated to it, was Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, discussing its ethical and responsible use, as well as the implications on Free Software licensing. But of course, there were also time to engage in other issues that have been around for years and that are also important for the Free Software community, such as Open Data, the legal implications of cryptocurrencies on Free Software, or the practices of “Open Source Program Offices” (OSPOs) in different international companies.

Enabling newcomers to the community to be able to productively engage in sharing expertise and knowledge is also important to the Legal Network. To that end, the FSFE organises a mentoring programme at the LLW to support young professionals in the Free Software legal field, and mentors were able to help their mentorees build community connections and integrate them into the Free Software legal community smoothly during the LLW 2023.

In short, the initial feedback from the 2023 edition of LLW has been very positive, with interesting talks and exchanges of ideas, as well as time to socialise and have a coffee with new and old faces. We are appreciative for all Legal Network members who took the time to participate in person, and hope to see them again next year. It is extremely heartening for us to see the Free Software legal community grow in strength and knowledge with regular meetings like the LLW.

The Legal Network 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 systems, academic backgrounds and affiliations.

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.

Admission to the Legal Network is restricted, and the discussions held there are confidential. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the content of the mailing list is contained away from the larger Free Software community. The Chatham House Rule applies to all discussions on the Legal Network mailing list and at Legal Network events, which enables members to use the information received, but not to reveal the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker or any of the participants involved in the discussion.