|                                                     |
         |       January 1992  -==-  Volume I  Number 2        |
         |                                                     |
         |                PROGRAMMING FREEDOM                  |
         |              league@prep.ai.mit.edu                 |
         |                                                     |
         |           The Electronic Newsletter of              |
         |        The League for Programming Freedom           |
         | 1 Kendall Sq #143, POBox #9171, Cambridge MA 02139  |
         |  Phone: (617) 243-4091 (voicemail only-leave your   |
         |address or phone number, and we'll answer your query)|
         |  Editor: Spike R. MacPhee (spiker@prep.ai.mit.edu)  |
         |     Reproduction of Programming Freedom via all     |
         |            electronic media is encouraged.          |
         |     To reproduce a signed article individually,     |
         |       please contact the author for permission.     |
	       <><><><><> TABLE OF CONTENTS <><><><><>

 Annual meeting minutes, election results: Board of Advisors approved
News: a Math Programming Society committee takes stand against patents
  Help publicize the League by writing to magazines - Johnathan Vail
LPF magazine publicity: Jan CACM, Jan SunExpert, Feb Embedded Systems
		  Mail, localgroups, signature publicity
	    League-activists mailing list is now moderated
	President Larsen speaks at Oct CPSR -  Adam J Richter
	   LPF at ARISIA sf con in Boston - Johnathan Vail
		       LPF convention publicity
       rms response to editor's comments on Nov Kennedy article
      GATT Treaty Excerpts -  commentary by Richard M. Stallman
	    Final results of the direct mailing experiment
			     LPF Boutique
   <><><> Annual meeting minutes; Board of Advisors approved <><><>

Minutes of the 1991 Annual Meeting of the LPF


The following is the record of the League for Programming Freedom's
1991 annual meeting as reported by LPF Secretary Christian D.
Hofstader.  The meeting was recorded by Sara Thompson, visual
assistant to Chris Hofstader.

The Minutes:

The meeting was called to order by Chris Hofstader at 20:15 on
December 15, 1991 at Tech Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  As senior
officer in attendance Chris Hofstader chaired the meeting.

First order of business was to take attendance and establish a quorum
of the directors and the membership.

In attendance:
     Chris Hofstader
     Steven Sisak
     Richard Stallman

     Notable others:
     Spike MacPhee - LPF coordinator

     2 public members.

     Notable absentees:
     Jack Larsen - LPF President
     Guy Steele - Director

Having three of the five directors established a quorum.  The mail in
proxies established a quorum of the membership.

The second order of business was the reading of the minutes of the
1990 annual meeting.  This was done by Spike.

The third order of business was the issue of whether to adopt a policy
governing the spending of LPF funds.  Spike read the policy and a vote
of the Directors in attendance accepted the policy.  The vote count
was 3 yes and 2 absent.  Jack Larsen submitted an objection to the
policy prior to the meeting and also prior to the meeting Guy Steele
submitted his approval of the policy.  For a copy of the policy send a
request to Spike.

The fourth order of business was presented by Chris Hofstader who
offered to withdraw his resignation as Secretary and Director.  The
vote was 3 in favor, 2 absent.  Chris will remain as Secretary and
Director of the LPF.

The board meeting portion of the annual meeting was declared over.

The fifth order of business was a debate over the bylaws regarding the
ex officio director.  The debate was over the meaning of the language
"immediate past president" and whether or not Richard Stallman still
had voting rights as a Director of the LPF.  A motion was made to
change the bylaws to make this language more clear.  It was decided
that this should be done at a special meeting of the board.

The sixth order of business was a confirmation that an online copy of
the bylaws would soon be available.

The seventh order of business was a report on the direct mailing
delivered by Spike MacPhee.  Seven people joined at $75 to receive a
coffee mug, 3 people joined at the standard membership of $42, 1
person joined as a student member $10.50 and 3 people sent us $1 for a
position paper.  There were 2 people who complained about getting
mail.  There was a net loss of $160 on the mailing.  It was determined
that $160 was reasonable to reach 4000 people.

There was a continued discussion of whether or not to use this tactic
again and which list we should use in the future.  It was generally
decided that we likely will do another direct mailing.

The eighth order of business was a discussion of local working groups.
We discussed how this may be implemented.

The ninth order of business was a discussion of changing our voice
mail system.  Ideas presented included leasing an actual office and
getting a voice mail/fax modem system in a computer.  It was agreed
that we should remain using the gnu offices at MIT.  The largest
problem concerning changing our service would be whether or not we
could maintain the same number.

The tenth order of business was the Treasurer's report delivered by
Steve Sisak.  The LPF's 1991 income was $27,585.12, the expenses for
the year totalled $15,805.50, the net annual income was 12,779.62.  A
detailed report is available from Steve Sisak.  [see expenses below]

The eleventh order of business was a discussion of finding a lawyer
who would be more responsive to the relatively small needs of the LPF.
Steve Sisak was put in charge of this task.

The twelfth order of business was a discussion of the taxes that we
need to pay.  The rate that we will pay is 25% and the exact details
are being worked out by Steve Sisak along with our accountant and

The thirteenth order of business was the annual election of officers,
directors and adoption of resolutions.  With Richard Stallman
withdrawing from the election all officers and directors were running
unopposed and therefore were all elected.

     1992 Officers:                      Biggest expenses 1992:
     Jack Larsen - President             4076 printing
     Christian D. Hofstader - Secretary  2573 op exps
     Steve Sisak - Treasurer             2030 buttons, tshirts
     Directors:                          1630 coordinator pay
     Les Earnest                          792 direct mail postage
     Chris Hofstader                      604 postage
     Jack Larsen     (as president)       226 publicity
     Steve Sisak                           60 bank charges
     Richard Stallman (ex officio)         13 office supplies

The question to add a board of advisors passed 190 - 1, w/4 abstained.

The final order of business was a statement for the record by Chris
Hofstader of his disappointment with the poor attendance at the annual

The meeting was adjourned at 22:30 EST. <>

	 <><><> News: MPS committee takes patent stand <><><>

A committee of the Mathematical Programming Society has taken a stand
against patents and Steve Robinson sends a note about the appendices:

As you might know,... we added as one of the appendices to our report
a paper by the League (with permission), and we gave in the report the
mail and email address for people to contact the League. I hope it
generates some interest. The appendices were printed in the special
issue of OPTIMA in which the report ran, but were not reprinted in the

 <> Help publicize the League: write to magazines - Johnathan Vail <>

In response to an article in Embedded Systems Programming magazine
about legal issues in programming I wrote a letter to point out the
importance of some issues I thought were glossed over.  It was not a
flame or an argument but merely to point out that software patents are
the most important legal issue facing programmers.  I mentioned
contacting the LPF for more information.

The letter was published in the recent February 92 issue under the
column heading "Free Our Software".  I am not sure what the title
refers to exactly since the first letter in the column was about
freedom of source code and mentioned the GNU philosophy.

Anyway, many thanks to Daniel La Liberte, Michael Ernst, Paul Eggert,
Jonathan Ryshpan, and Greg Buzzard for their help in rewording and
proofreading.  The published letter was a little changed but I haven't
diffed it to see exactly what.  I don't think anything was deleted.

The letter:
                                               December 9, 1991
Dear Sirs,

    This letter is in response to the recent cover article "Legal
Issues for Embedded Systems Developers" by Joel B. Gilman.  The
article was a good overview of many legal issues faced by the software
industry today but glossed over the most serious one facing

    This is the relatively new phenomenon (since 1981) of software
patents.  The article only briefly mentioned one of the many concerns
raised by software and algorithm patents and did not mention any of
the arguments against their existing at all.  Computer software is
different from physical inventions or processes and many people feel
it belongs in the realm of ideas or mathematical expression which is
not patentable.

    A single program may contain hundreds or thousands of algorithms
and techniques.  Though a competent programmer can invent these on the
fly, some -- or possibly hundreds -- of these techniques may have
already been patented or, even worse, a patent may be pending.
Despite his independent discovery the programmer may be forced to pay
royalties or redesign his program in a less efficient way for each
"new" technique.  It is not feasible to check for patents on every
technique in a computer program; to attempt to do so would be a large
burden on the software industry, driving software costs up sharply.

    This is just one of many reasons that software patents are a
serious threat to the software industry.  I think a future article in
your magazine examining software patents would provide a substantial
service to the readers.  Software patents can and will have a profound
affect on the individual programmer.

    I would suggest contacting the League for Programming Freedom.
This is an organization of programmers (as well as users, educators
and others) formed to protect the freedoms of programmers, primarily
from software patents and "look and feel" copyrights.  The address is:

          [League address]
                              Johnathan Vail  <>

<>LPF Publicity: Jan CACM, Jan SunExpert, Feb Embedded Systems Prog<>

The LPF patents paper was just printed in the January 1992
Communications of the ACM.  (They printed the interface copyright
paper in November 1990.)

Member Rich Morin reports:
     My January I/Opener column in SunExpert Magazine is entitled
     "This Column May Be Illegal".  It gives my own views on the
     software patent and L/F copyright issues.  It suggests that
     folks contact (and preferably join) LPF.

See Johnathan Vail's article above about writing to magazines for his
letter in Embedded Systems Programming magazine. <>

       <><><><><> Mail, localgroups, signature publicity <><><><><>

  An amusing suggestion from a person interested in joining, who
can't be identified for professional reasons:

I wholeheartly agree with the column published in the January issue
of CACM.  We must do something now to stop lawyers from bringing the
world to such a ridiculous state. By the way, has anybody ever thought
of patenting the patent process? This could be a good way to stop them

And several frustrated readers of the 80 column last issue suggested
that we use the 70 column default for the on-line version.  Ok, this
issue, we did.  <>

Local groups, please send us info about what you're doing.

Putting LPF in your .sig signature is generating 2 or more info
requests to us each week.

This issue came out on January 44; we still plan the next in March. <>

       <><> League-activists mailing list is now moderated <><>

League-activists is now a moderated list to reduce extraneous traffic.

This mailing list
        league-activists@prep.ai.mit.edu and its'
 two sub-lists:
and     league-activists-remote@prep.ai.mit.edu should be used only
for members' requests for assistance in league projects, local or
nationally, or for announcements from LPF.

These lists are filtered by a moderator to:
       - insure this use;
       - minimize the number of messages;
       - remove items meant for the list's -request address;
       - forward items that should have been sent to another list.

League-tactics@prep.ai.mit.edu is for discussion of LPF directions and
is not moderated.

To subscribe, change your eddress (email address), or be removed from
either list, please use:

or      league-tactics-request@prep.ai.mit.edu

We apologize for not removing people in a timely manner from League
lists.  Spike wasn't on the -request lists; that has been fixed. <>

 <> President Larsen speaks at Oct Berkeley CPSR by Adam J Richter <>

        I think 35 people attended Jack Larsen's speech at the Oct
meeting of the Berkeley chapter of Computer Professionals for Social 

        Larsen pretty much assumed that he was talking to LPF members,
so he didn't spend much time talking about why he thought software
patents and UI copyrights were bad.  He spent most of the two hour
speech talking about more technical things like court decisions and
the status of various treaties.  It was quite informative for the
other LPF members and me, but I don't think that we recruited many new
        Also, Larsen spoke against a few other forms of intellectual
property that the LPF doesn't have a position on (e.g., mask work and
normal patents). <>

    <><><> LPF at ARISIA sf con in Boston - Johnathan Vail <><><>

In late December I found myself signed up for a computer virus panel
at the ARISIA science fiction convention in Boston.  One of my
accomplishments in the field has been the compilation a short glossary
of virus and virus related security terms that is posted occasionally
on the comp.virus newsgroup.  For the panel I decided to print the
glossary as handouts for the panel.

Since there was some space at the end I was trying to think of some
related graphics I could use to jazz up the handout.  When I started
looking at my LPF "liberty" sticker I got the idea that I could use
the space as an advertisement for the lpf.  I obtained permission to
do this and was pleased with the results.  I hope it gave the LPF more
visibility and helped to make the "liberty" drawing a more
recognizable symbol for the league.

For those that might be interested, the postscript and ASCII versions
of the glossary have been posted to comp.virus and comp.misc. <>

	  <><><> LPF publicity at recent conferences <><><>

We had handouts and League material at the following recent
conventions thanks to our hard-working volunteers::

In Dec: 1992 Sun User Group (SUG) Conference in San Jose, CA

In Jan: USENIX Winter 92 Technical Conference in San Francisco, CA

        NeXTWORLD EXPO in San Francisco, CA

        6th Annual Tech Conf on the X Window System in Boston, MA <>

  <><> Rms response to the editor's comments on Nov Kennedy piece <><>

      We are also trying to reach the public.  Demonstrations will
    get 10 seconds of broadcast time because of their visual nature,

This protest was not covered by TV.  But ordinary TV news coverage is
not very useful for us--they don't give any issue the time needed
to get our point across.

However, this protest did result in at least 2 print media articles
(one in Boston Business Journal and one to come in Sun Expert.)  And
there may be others too.

    while position papers never will.

Protests and position papers are not alternatives; using one doesn't
interfere with using the other.

We write articles as much as we see how.  We get them published
whenever someone will publish them.  Meanwhile, when we do a protest,
it gets us additional coverage.  Every bit helps.

Protests have another benefit: when they are easy to participate in,
they help keep up the enthusiasm of the people who participate.  They
also provide an opportunity to inform other people at the event
itself, such as by handing out position papers--which we did. <>

  <><> GATT Trade Treaty Threatens to Require Software Patents <><>

For many years, international trade has been regulated by a treaty
known as GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade).  Negotiations
are continuing for a revision of GATT.  Unlike the previous versions,
the new version threatens to intrude into areas that have in the past
been considered domestic policy, including copyright and patents.

The current working draft would require all countries that sign the
new treaty to have patents "in all fields of technology"--which must
include software techniques.  It would also rule out all the ideas so
far proposed to protect software from patents or make the patent
system bearable for software developers.

The treaty covers all aspects of international trade, and currently
the negotiations are deadlocked over the issue of agricultural
subsidies.  It's possible that this disagreement will block the treaty
entirely.  But perhaps there will be a compromise on agriculture; if
that happens, the entire treaty will be presented to each country as a
package deal.  The pressure to accept it will be immense.

If the US ratifies such a treaty, it would force sweeping changes in
US intellectual property law, and deny the US the option of reversing
them.  This would take place without any consideration by the House of
Representatives, and the Senate will be unable to consider these laws
on their own merits as would normally happen.

The US administration is responsible for negotiating the treaty and
has pressed hard for these very provisions.  The administration has in
effect found a way to legislate by itself, depriving Congress of any
real opportunity to write the laws of the land.

Here are brief excerpts from the treaty that show the problems it

            Article 27: Patentable Subject Matter

1.  Subject to the provisions of paragraphs 2 and 3 below, patents
shall be available for any inventions, whether products or processes,
in all fields of technology, provided that they are new, involve an
inventive step and are capable of industrial application...

[Paragraphs 2 and 3 provide some exceptions, but none of them applies
to software.]

                 Article 28: Rights Conferred

1.  A patent shall confer on its owner the following exclusive rights:

     (a) where the subject matter of a patent is a product, to prevent
       third parties not having his consent from the acts of:
       making, using, offering for sale, selling, or importing for 
       these purposes that product;

     (b) where the subject matter of a patent is a process, to prevent
       third parties not having his consent from the act of using
       the process...

[This rules out any form of mandatory licensing scheme that might
mitigate the problem of patents.]

     Article 31: Other Use Without Authorisation of the Right Holder

     Where the law of a PARTY allows for other use3 of the subject
matter of a patent without the authorisation of the right holder,
including use by the government or third parties authorised by the
government, the following provisions shall be respected:

     (a) authorisation of such use shall be considered on its
individual merits;

     (b) such use may only be permitted if, prior to such use, the
       proposed user has made efforts to obtain authorisation from
       the right holder on reasonable commercial terms and conditions
       and that such efforts have not been successful within a
       reasonable period of time.  This requirement may be waived by a
       PARTY in the case of a national emergency or other
       circumstances of extreme urgency or in cases of public
       non-commercial use.

[Exceptions in accord with these provisions will be very few.]

     (h) the right holder shall be paid adequate remuneration in the
       circumstances of each case, taking into account the economic
       value of the authorisation;

[So it will be expensive for a government to make any sort of

          Article 30: Exceptions to Rights Conferred

     PARTIES may provide limited exceptions to the exclusive rights
conferred by a patent, provided that such exceptions do not
unreasonably conflict with a normal exploitation of the patent and do
not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the patent
owner, taking account of the legitimate interests of third parties.

[This would seem to rule out making an exception for software in the
scope of patents.  Any exception for a program that would be used
widely would enable the patent holder to claim to have "lost"

                Article 33: Term of Protection

     The term of protection available shall not end before the
expiration of a period of twenty years counted from the filing date.

[This requires an increase in the term of a US patent in many cases.
It also rules out the idea of making patents for software last for a
shorter term commensurate with the rate of progress.] <>

      <><><><><> Final results of the direct mailing <><><><><>

  $792.00	cost - postage for 4000 letters at 19.8 cents each.
  $859.50	income as follows:
  $450 	        mem + mugs - 6
  $126	        mem  regular - 3
  $250	        mem + donation - 1
  $ 10.50	mem student - 1
  $ 10.00	donation - 1
  $  3.00	info requests - 3 at $1 each

  $ 70          net gain plus eleven members <>

    <><><> LPF Boutique Materials Available from the League <><><>

     We have reprinted the famous ``fanged apple'' buttons.  These
buttons show the symbol of Apple computer with an alien snake's body
and face.
     You can buy buttons by mail from the League, for $2 each, in
quantities of at least three.  We give out buttons at events, but ask
for a donation.
     We also have stickers showing Liberty Empowering the Programmer,
with the League's name and address.
     You can order stickers by mail from the League at the price of $5
for 10 stickers; for larger orders, phone us to discuss a price.  We
hand them out free when it is convenient, such as at our events, but
since mailing packages to individuals costs money, we want to make it
an opportunity to raise funds.
     Post stickers at eye level and separated from other posted
articles, to make them easy to see.  The stickers are not made to
survive rain.
			  Liberty Postcards
     We also have postcards showing Liberty Empowering the Programmer,
with the League's name and address.  Same terms as the stickers.

			Large Liberty Posters
     We have a few posters with the same image that is on the
stickers, approximately 2.5 ft by 1.5 ft.  We used such posters to
make signs for the protest rally.  If you need some, talk with the
League and we'll work out a deal.

			     Coffee Mugs
     Our coffee mugs have the Fanged Apple design in full color on one
side and ``League for Programming Freedom'' on the other.  They hold
twelve ounces and are microwave safe.  Not available until Feb. 92.
     You can order a mug for $10, nonmembers $12..  They will not be
ready until Feb 1992 [and have just arrived].

     Michael Ernst has produced t-shirts with Liberty and ``League for
Programming Freedom'' on the front and ``Innovate, Don't Litigate'' on
the back.  (The back slogan will change from time to time.)  You can
order shirts by mail from the League for $12 (which includes $2 for
mailing).  Available colors are yellow, blue and peach; if you specify
a color, we will assume you would rather have the other color than no
shirt.  If you want a chosen color or nothing, say so explicitly.
Please specify the shirt size!  (M, L or XL.)

		   Position Papers and Memberships
     We will send anyone a copy of the League position papers.  If you
want other copies to hand out at an event, we'll send you as many as
you need.  Please discuss your plans with us.  One-year memberships
are $42 for professionals, $10.50 for students, and $21 for others.
The dues are $100 for an institution with up to three employees, $250
for an institution with four to nine employees, and $500 for an
institution with ten or more employees. For $5000, an institution can
be a sponsor rather than a member.  We have 10 inst. members, now.

			 League Papers Online
You can retrieve LPF written materials by anonymous ftp from
prep.ai.mit.edu in the directory /pub/lpf.  These include the position
papers, membership form, handouts, friends of the court briefs, and
articles about the LPF's issues of concern.

			League Video Cassettes
We have video tapes of some of Richard Stallman's speeches for the
LPF.  If you'd like to give LPF speeches, we can send you copies of
these tapes to give you an example to learn from.  If you'd like
copies for another purpose, we can send them for $20 each. <><><>

	  <><><> End of Jan 1992 Programming Freedom <><><>

We are sending this only to members who don't have a valid or updated
email address.  If you have an eddress and want us to send this by
email, please send us an update at league@prep.ai.mit.edu .

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

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