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League for Programming Freedom
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body (LPF) A grass-roots organisation of professors,
students, businessmen, programmers and users dedicated to
bringing back the freedom to write programs. Ten years ago,
programmers were allowed to write programs using all the
techniques they knew, and providing whatever features they
felt were useful. This is no longer the case. The new
have taken away our freedom of expression and our ability to
do a good job.
"Look and feel" lawsuits attempt to monopolise well-known
command languages; some have succeeded. Copyrights on command
languages enforce gratuitous incompatibility, close
opportunities for competition, and stifle incremental
Software patents are even more dangerous; they make every
design decision in the development of a program carry a risk
of a lawsuit, with draconian pre-trial seizure. It is
difficult and expensive to find out whether the techniques you
consider using are patented; it is impossible to find out
whether they will be patented in the future.
The League is not opposed to the legal system that Congress
intended -- copyright on individual programs. Our aim is to
reverse the recent changes made by judges in response to
special interests, often explicitly rejecting the public
interest principles of the Constitution.
The League works to abolish the new monopolies by publishing
articles, talking with public officials, boycotting egregious
offenders, and in the future may intervene in court cases. On
1989-05-24, the League picketed Lotus headquarters on
account of their lawsuits, and then again on 2 August 1990.
These marches stimulated widespread media coverage for the
issue. We welcome suggestions for other activities, as well
as help in carrying them out.
Membership dues in the League are $42 per year for
programmers, managers and professionals; $10.50 for students;
$21 for others. The League's funds will be used for filing
briefs; for printing handouts, buttons and signs; whatever
will persuade the courts, the legislators, and the people.
You may not get anything personally for your dues -- except
for the freedom to write programs. The League is a non-profit
corporation, but not considered a tax-exempt charity.
However, for those self-employed in software, the dues can be
a business expense.
The League needs both activist members and members who only
pay their dues. We also greatly need additional corporate
members; contact us for information.
Jack Larsen is President, Chris Hofstader is Secretary, and
Steve Sisak is Treasurer.