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OpenUK supports Open Innovation – not Open Source release of Llama 2 by Meta – July 2023

Zin Lwin
18th July 2023

OpenUK supports Meta in Community Licensing of Llama 2 AI Large Language Model


  • New open innovation licence shares Llama 2 Large Language Model (LLM) enabling use by open innovation communities 
  • Licence allows everyone to use Llama 2 LLM subject to licence and Acceptable Use Policy
  • Llama 2 Community Licence caps use cases to 700 million users, at which point a commercial licence is required from Meta
  • Acceptable Use policy – will this guide the parameters for Future Codes of Conduct and GuardRails for AI usage?


London, UK – 18 July 2023 – OpenUK, the not for profit organisation representing the UK’s Open Technology sector, supports Meta’s open innovation release of Llama 2 (Large Language Model Meta AI) under its new Llama 2 Community License, joining many global organisations in the statement, “We support an open innovation approach to AI. Responsible and open innovation gives us all a stake in the AI development process, bringing visibility, scrutiny and trust to these technologies. Opening today’s Llama models will let everyone benefit from this technology.


LLMs are an essential part of artificial intelligence projects, but have been the missing piece in the jigsaw of open community development and innovation in AI. Developing and training LLMs comes at a massive cost in terms of compute power, data and financial resources. The leaked release of Llama earlier this year gave the open technology community preview access to a LLM which they used and built on. Since then, the open communities use of Llama to develop AI for their own projects and deployments has dramatically increased the pace of innovation and demonstrates clearly the potential value of openness, collaboration and democratising AI.


The new licence combined with an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) sets out the parameters of responsible use and has legitimised access to Llama 2 for open innovation by more users to build on in their projects. It gives access to the foundational LLMs, software and algorithms, machine-learning model code, trained model weights, inference-enabling code, training-enabling code, fine-tuning enabling code and other elements   and and delivers a manual and documentation, all of which are available to and usable by all, opening it beyond the research community originally licensed in February. At a time when our regulators and governments are struggling to clarify what “Appropriate Use” of AI is,  in the inevitable regulation, the terms of this AUP may carry great influence.  


The licence is not approved by the Open Source Initiative, and in its current format would not meet the requirements of the Open Source Definition. That means that it should not be officially described as “open source.” The OSI is currently working through a consultation to define what “Open Source AI” is, looking to a shared set of principles that recreate the permissionless, pragmatic and simplified collaboration of open source for AI practitioners.   


Amanda Brock, CEO at OpenUK, commented: “As an Open technology Organisation, OpenUK not only supports open source software but the gamut of open technology, implemented with open standards and open innovation. Supporting this step by Meta to formally open up a LLM, offering open development and open innovation in this space, is a no-brainer for OpenUK and had unanimous support from our Board. The democratisation of AI and opening innovation around it to enable collaboration across our open communities is an essential step in the future of this most impactful of technologies. Whilst we recognise that this licence is not an official ‘open source software’ one, it provides certainty for those that want to take advantage of Llama 2. This is a fantastic step in the right direction for open AI communities.”


The Meta Community License is a non-exclusive, worldwide, non- transferable and royalty-free limited licence that allows individuals and companies to use, reproduce, distribute, copy, create derivative works of, and make modifications to the Llama Materials. This provides the right to re-use Llama 2, as well as control of any content or product that uses LLaMa to create results. The licence caps out at 700 million users at which point a commercial licence on unidentified terms is required. 


“Llama 2 being made available represents a first step towards opening AI and makes AI openness possible. This is a positive step for the community, and hopefully the first of many. We note that the licence requires any company or individual that gets more than 700 million users for its product to re-engage with Meta on licensing, which is a potential restriction for the future. The total number of Internet users is estimated at 5.18billion, so Meta’s licence condition would only apply to services that are used by more than 13.5 percent of all online users,” continued Brock.


For OpenUK, the Meta licence release follows on from its research report on the opportunity for the UK around AI, published on 13th July. This included a dedicated section on “AI Openness” and how this sector needs to be defined and licensed in order to grow with contributions from leading experts including representatives of the Open Source Initiative, and the UK’s thought leaders the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, and the Turing Institute.


Relevant Links:


About OpenUK

OpenUK is the UK’s organisation for the business of Open Technology, being Open Source Software, Open Source Hardware and Open Data across the UK.  Its purpose is UK leadership and global collaboration in Open Technology. OpenUK works on three pillars: Community, Legal and Policy and Learning. In 2022 OpenUK will focus on Skills, Security and Sustainability. OpenUK is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, company number 11209475.

Twitter: @openuk_ukMastodon: LinkedIn: openukopentechnology




Mark Kember

onebite for OpenUK

 +44 (0)1635 887707 

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