Protect Your Freedom to Write Programs
Join the League for Programming Freedom
(Version of February 3, 1994)
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. New monopolies, known as
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 monopolize 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 pretrial 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 for Programming Freedom is a grass-roots organization of
professors, students, businessmen, programmers and users dedicated to
bringing back the freedom to write programs. The League is not
opposed to the legal system that Congress expressly established for
software--copyright on individual programs. Our aim is to reverse the
recent changes that prevent programmers from doing their work.
The League works to abolish the new monopolies by publishing articles,
talking with public officials, denouncing egregious offenders, and
filing amicus curiae briefs, most notably against Lotus in its suit
against Borland. We testified twice at the recent Patent Office
hearings on software patents. 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.
Please give more if you can. 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
If you have any questions, please write to the League, phone
+1 617 621 7084, or send Internet mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chris Hofstader, President
Dean Anderson, Secretary
Aubrey Jaffer, Treasurer
Chris Hofstader can be reached at (617) 492-0023; FAX (617) 497-1632.
To join, please send a check and the following information to:
League for Programming Freedom
1 Kendall Square #143
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
(Outside the US, please send a check in US dollars on a bank
having a US correspondent bank, to save us check cashing fees.)
The address for League mailings, a few each year; please indicate
whether it is your home address or your work address:
The company you work for, and your position:
Your phone numbers (home, work or both):
Your email address, so we can contact you for demonstrations or for
writing letters. (If you don't want us to contact you for these
things, please say so, but please give us your email address anyway
so we can save paper and postage by sending you the newsletter by email.)
Is there anything about you which would enable your endorsement of the
LPF to impress the public? For example, if you are or have been a
professor or an executive, or have written software that has a good
reputation, please tell us.
Would you like to help with LPF activities?
The corporate charter of the League for Programming Freedom states:
The purpose of the corporation is to engage in the following
1. To determine the existence of, and warn the public about
restrictions and monopolies on classes of computer programs where such
monopolies prevent or restrict the right to develop certain types of
2. To develop countermeasures and initiatives, in the public interest,
effective to block or otherwise prevent or restrain such monopolistic
activities including education, research, publications, public
assembly, legislative testimony, and intervention in court proceedings
involving public interest issues (as a friend of the court).
3. To engage in any business or other activity in service of and
related to the foregoing paragraphs that lawfully may be carried on
by a corporation organized under Chapter 180 of the Massachusetts
The officers and directors of the League will be elected annually by