League for Programming Freedom

<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 monopolies, software patents and interface copyrights, 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 improvements.

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.

Home (http://lpf.ai.mit.edu/).

Telephone: +1 (617) 243 4091.

E-mail: <[email protected]>.

Address: League for Programming Freedom, 1 Kendall Square #143, P.O.Box 9171, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139 USA.

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