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LLW 2024: A forum for difficult legal topics of Free Software in Gothenburg


For the second year in a row, the Swedish city of Gothenburg hosted an edition of the Free Software Legal & Licensing Workshop (LLW), the annual conference for Legal Network members. The 2024 edition brought new faces and great discussions and presentations on current legal and licensing issues related to technological developments such as AI.

Image from LLW 2024 showing the registration table with the logos of 2024 LLW sponsors

Under a sunny and blue sky, the beautiful Swedish city of Gothenburg once again hosted FSFE’s Free Software Legal & Licensing Workshop (LLW), a two and a half day conference for members of the Legal Network community to meet face-to-face and share legal expertise in a safe space. It was great to have attendees engaging with the speakers in interesting legal discussions, as well as to see them use the venue to engage in impromptu discussions on legal theory, policy, and case law related to Free Software topics. This shows how valuable this conference has become for Free Software legal professionals, who arrived from Europe, the Americas, and Asia, and the importance of a healthy community to encourage discussion of the most current Free Software legal topics and to network in order to build a culture of knowledge exchange in the legal sector.

Discussion, even controversial, can help legal experts to make better decisions while accomplishing the mission of empowering users to control technology. Good examples are Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, that continued to be hot topics during this year’s edition, with a number of discussions on the conference agenda touching on the legal ramifications of AI developments on software and licensing.

Nevertheless, there were many other developments from the past year for attendees to discuss as well, from new legislative initiatives and case law in various jurisdictions within and outside the European Union, to presentations to introduce various community-initiated compliance tools, to conversations about more philosophical ideas regarding Free Software and community.

"I have been working for 2 years in this field now. In the past 2 days I learnt more on those topics than in the 2 years before", said one participant in LLW 2024

This conference also gives newcomers who may be a little shy about participating in discussions on the mailing list a chance to introduce themselves and meet various more established members of the community in person. The FSFE believes in the importance of supporting young professionals, which is why this conference also offers a mentoring programme, so that experienced members can help integrate newcomers into the Free Software legal community, as well as to help them build professional connections and expertise.

We appreciate 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.

We want to thank our sponsors: Intel, Red Hat, Microsoft, Amazon, Bosch, Ericsson, Siemens, Volvo, Bird & Bird, Google, the law firm Heuking, and the Open Invention Network.

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.

The Legal Network is a safe space to promote legal knowledge about Free Software so that companies can make strategic decisions about Free Software development based on an understanding of how Free Software licensing and other related legal issues work. This allows Free Software developers and legal professionals who work within larger companies to continue to contribute to software freedom.

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.