League for Programming Freedom
(LPF) A grass-roots organisation of professors, students, businessmen, programmers and users dedicated to bringing back the freedom to write programs. Once programmers were allowed to write programs using all the techniques they knew, and providing whatever features they felt were useful. Monopolies, software patents and interface copyrights have taken away freedom of expression and the 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. They aim to reverse the 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 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 1990-08-02. These marches stimulated widespread media coverage for the issue.
The League's funds are used for filing briefs; printing handouts, buttons and signs and whatever will persuade the courts, the legislators and the people. The League is a non-profit corporation, but not considered a tax-exempt charity.
(01 Jan 2007)
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