Call For Participation - Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom at FOSDEM 2022

Alexander Sander alex.sander at
Tue Dec 14 16:54:27 UTC 2021

Hi all!

The CFP for the FOSDEM Legal & Policy Devroom, again co-organised by
FSFE, is online. [1]

We seek proposals for 30 or 50 minute talks that address issues of
software freedom project policies and legal issues that extend
beyond and/or are orthogonal to technical issues faced by projects.
For ideas about talk topics see the background information below.





          Call For Participation
          Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom at FOSDEM 2022

CONFERENCE DATE:   Saturday & Sunday 5-6 February 2022 online from
DEVROOM DATE:      Saturday 5 February 2022
CFP DEADLINE:      Wednesday 27 December 2021 at 23:59 AoE (Anywhere on
SPEAKERS NOTIFIED: Friday 7 January 2022 (on or before)

Quick CFP Overview (TL;DR)

Hackers, developers, contributors and lawyers alike are encouraged to
submit on any FOSS-related policy or legal topic.

We seek proposals for 30 or 50 minute talks that address issues of
software freedom project policies and legal issues that extend
beyond and/or are orthogonal to technical issues faced by projects.
For ideas about talk topics see the background information below.

You can respond to this CFP by creating a user account on Pentabarf
and creating one (or more) talk proposals by 27 December 2021.
See details below.

CFP Details

Copyright law provides many of the basic legal underpinnings of Free
Software. Patent and trademark law and legal frameworks relating to
data privacy and security also have significant relevance to Free
Software development. Governance and policies around free software
projects (beyond mere outbound licensing) set the rules for
collaboration and can be critical to a project's success. Also
governments, institutions and administrations increasingly rely on
Free Software and regulate and govern this area.

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.

This DevRoom seeks proposals for 30 or 50 minute talks. Sessions should
address issues of software freedom project policies and legal issues
that extend beyond and/or are orthogonal to technical issues faced by
projects and government regulations. Such topics could include, but
aren't necessarily limited to:

    * What legislation should we be watching, what has been recently
      enacted, and what coming soon? What effect could these have on
      software freedom?

    * Who controls the copyright, trademark, or patent licensing, release
      plans, CLA administration, or security bug reporting policies of
      project, and why? What challenges have you faced in these policy
      and how are you seeking to change it?

    * How is your project governed? Do you have a non-profit
      or a for-profit company that primarily controls your project, or
      neither?  Do you wish your project governance was different?  Who
      decided your governance initially?  What politics (good and bad)
      have occurred around your governance choices and how have you
      changed your policy?  Does your project have a "shadow governance",
      whereby technical governance is open and fair, but some entity has
      its own opaque political structure that influences your project?
      Are you worried that your project might and you don't know? Are you
      exploring any new solutions for governance?

    * How do ethical issues intersect with your project? How do those
      issues interact with software freedom? How can we protect user's
      rights in the current legal and technical landscape? Are there ways
      to mitigate the hold that click through terms of service have over
      the average person's use of software? Are privacy regulations like
      GDPR having any appreciable impact on software freedom?

    * Legal topics of all sorts and their interaction with software
      freedom culture and work remain welcome, and could include: How
      your project make use of legal advice?  What legal advice do you
      give projects and what topics do you put first on the list to worry
      about in projects?  Discuss in detail a legal and/or policy issue
      project faced and how your community dealt with it. What lessons
      did you learn?  Are some of your developers afraid to discuss legal
      quasi-legal issues without their lawyers, or their employers'
      present? How has that impeded or helped your project?  Are your
      lawyers really your lawyers (e.g., do corporate lawyers for
      in your community influence the direction of the project even
      not all contributors work for that company)?

    * Contribution and engagement policies: how does your project engage
      new contributors and what policy decisions did your project make to
      welcome new contributors?  What legal issues or policy concerns has
      your project faced historically in its community engagement
      and what did you learn from these experiences?

    * How does money affect your community? How is funding of developers
      in your project?  What policies do you set to welcome volunteers to
join a
      community where most developers are paid?  Does your project have
      that forbid funding developers directly?  Does reliance on
volunteer labor
      lead to lack of diversity since only the affluent can participate?
      If you had unconstrained resources at your disposal, what would you
      about the funding structure of your project?  Given the resources
you have,
      what have you tried to change?  Have you succeeded or failed?
Would more
      money in the ecosystem hurt or help your project?

    * How do projects handle conflicts of interest and make sure
      that relevant interests of contributors are disclosed in important
      decision making discussions?

    * Strategies and plans for addressing harassment, exclusionary and/or
      discriminatory behavior in FLOSS communities. Do you have a Code
      of Conduct? Have you needed to enforce it?  Was it successful in
      improving behavior and diversity in your community? What strategies
      do you use to you handle toxic people in your community?

    * Talks on license compliance, licensing business models, and
      akin to, or building upon, what you've seen in our DevRoom before
are of
      course welcome. (URLs to talks from previous years are below.)

Regarding topic relevancy, here's the only "don't": please don't propose
introductory talks; there are other venues appropriate for those.
FOSDEM is the meeting place of experts in Free Software
project governance, law, and policy. This DevRoom is for intermediate
to advanced topics surrounding just about anything you might call a
"legal" or "policy" issue for your project or software freedom!

Should I Submit?

Do consider that what may seem elementary to you may in fact be
an intermediate topic in this area. In particular, while we expect to
submissions from lawyers, we've found in our careers that non-lawyers
often know just as much (and often more) about these topics than
lawyers. Developers and other Free Software project participants who
regularly face complex policy and legal questions are strongly and
to submit proposals. Historically, some of the most lively and
talks in this DevRoom's previous years have been from developers who
have been thrust (often due to circumstances beyond their control) into
dealing with legal and policy issues for Free Software.

Look at past talks in our DevRoom for inspiration:

CFP Schedule And Submission Details

Submit proposals NO LATER THAN 27 December 2021 at 23:59 AoE
(Anywhere on Earth)

Please use the following URL to submit your talk to FOSDEM 2022:

and follow these steps:

    * Select as the Track "Legal and Policy Issues devroom".

    * Include a title. (Note that "Subtitle" entry doesn't appear on
      all conference documents, so make sure "Title" can stand on its
      own without "Subtitle" present.) Shorter and more concise is

    * Include an Abstract of about 500 characters and a full description
      of any length you wish, but in both fields, please be concise, but
      clear and descriptive.

    * Indicate a 30 or 50 minute time slot. If you select any other time
      your submission is very likely to be rejected.

    * Use the "Links" sub-area to your past work in the field you'd like
      to share. Particularly helpful are recordings (audio/video) of
      your past talks on the subject or past papers/blog posts you've
      written on the subject.

    * You are encouraged to enter biographic information under the
      "Person" section (e.g. you may upload an image, enter your
      background in the "Description" tab, and sites of interest
      under the "Links" tab).

    * State that you agree to CC BY-SA-4.0 or CC BY-4.0 licensing of your
      talk in the "Submission Notes" field. Add a statement such as this:

         "Should my presentation be scheduled for FOSDEM 2022, I hereby
          agree to license all recordings, slides and any other
          materials presented under the Creative Commons Attribution
          ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

    * Also in the notes field, confirm your availability to speak on
      Saturday, 5 February 2022. (Please indicate any challenges you
      may have with respect to your availability to present during the
      European time zone.)

Failure to follow these instructions above (and those on the FOSDEM
2022 site) may result in automatic rejection of your talk submission.
However, if you have trouble with submission via the official system,
please do contact <fosdem-legal-policy at> for assistance.

Diversity Statement

The organizers of this DevRoom are committed to increasing the
diversity of the free software movement. To that end, our CFP process
takes demographic information into account in order to build a program
that features as many different voices and perspectives as possible.
If you are comfortable doing so, please share any demographic
information about yourself in the "Submission Notes". Such disclosure
is not mandatory by any means.

No Assurance of Acceptance

The organizers (listed below) realize many of our friends and
colleagues will respond to this CFP. We welcome submissions from all,
but an invitation from any of us to submit is *not* an assurance of
acceptance. We typically must make hard decisions. We appreciate
the effort you put into crafting your submission to give yourself the
best chance of acceptance.

About the DevRoom Organizers

The co-organizers of the FOSDEM 2022 Legal and Policy Issues DevRoom are
(in alphabetical order by surname):

- Richard Fontana, Senior Commercial Counsel, Red Hat

- Matthias Kirschner, President, Free Software Foundation Europe

- Bradley M. Kuhn, Policy Fellow and Hacker-in-Residence at Software
Freedom  Conservancy

- Max Mehl, FSFE Programme Manager, Free Software Foundation Europe

- Alexander Sander, FSFE Policy Consultant

- Karen M. Sandler, Executive Director of the Software Freedom
Conservancy, Lecturer In Law Columbia Law School

You are welcome to contact us all at <fosdem-legal-policy at>
questions about this CFP.


Alexander Sander - FSFE Policy Consultant
Free Software Foundation Europe
Schönhauser Allee 6/7, 10119 Berlin, Germany |
Registered at Amtsgericht Hamburg, VR 17030  |   (

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