The League for Programming Freedom

If you are interested in free software, you should also be aware of the League for Programming Freedom. The League is not concerned specifically with free software but with practices that threaten the continued development of all software. The League for Programming Freedom opposes the recent proliferation of software patents and copyrighted command languages. As the league states in one of its position papers, it “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 LPF claims patents of designs and techniques rather than specific products turn everyday software design into a legally hazardous proposition and threaten the programmer’s freedom to develop software. Patenting techniques and methods, rather than specific inventions, creates extremely large and broad-reaching monopolies. Imagine, for example, what programming would be like if someone had patented linked lists back in the 1950s. It is expensive, difficult and time-consuming for software developers to determine whether their designs and techniques have already been patented. No matter how innovative you are, you cannot possibly write new software without relying on older techniques, any of which could potentially be patented.

Software patents and command language copyrights ...

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