There are many problems caused by the enforcement of patents in the software industry, but it is important to first understand how user and developer freedoms are affected. If you don’t know what End Software Patents (ESP) is about, please read the recent article we posted on the issue of software patents. To support the continued fight against software patents, we are happy to announce that the ESP campaign pages have been completely revamped! In this brief post, we will go over the main changes that you should know about.
ESP has been active for many years, campaigning and influencing public policies around the world. The campaign has been extremely influential, and has become known as one of the most popular global campaigns against software patents, especially after publishing Patent Absurdity, a documentary that demonstrated the severity of the issue. So far, it has been able to influence important court rulings and policy decisions on software patents in a positive direction. However, a major challenge that ESP had to face was to attract people who were not familiar with the legal aspects of software. The main target audience consisted mainly of developers, lawyers, and people related to the software industry. But this wasn’t optimal, because software patents ultimately affect every single software user.
Recognizing that software patents are a complex subject, we acknowledged that communicating our message to the general public is of great importance in order to spread our message effectively. Therefore, we decided to restructure the campaign, with a focus on presenting our main objectives in an easy-to-understand way. We redesigned the ESP Web sites with the idea of providing progressive levels of information, so that everyone can easily understand why we need to abolish software patents, and at the same time also find out information about the aspects of the problems that interest them.
ESP’s internet presence includes two Web sites: the main ESP Web site, which hosts core information and articles on software patents, and the ESP wiki, which provides a vast database of detailed information on software patents, editable by anyone without permission. We made the following big changes to these two Web sites:
- Complete redesign with new logo and theme, new domain names, and modernized Web experience;
- Frontpages now present basic information with intuitive icons that can be clicked and lead to more detailed pages;
- New pages help understand the issue and make it easier to contribute (including a brand new FAQ);
- Many changes under the hood that allow for easy navigation of categories and older posts.
So what’s next?
The above changes are primarily aimed at drawing newcomers to the End Software Patents campaign. We want to strengthen the community around the campaign, and create a sustainable way to fight software patents worldwide for years to come.
This means that the next step is for you to join us in this campaign!
You can especially help us with our next focus, which is the ESP wiki. Our goals are to update, reorganize, and expand it. This effort needs to be supported by as many people as possible in order to create a fully up-to-date resource for the global campaign against software patents. We invite anyone who is interested in (or wants to learn more about) software patents to start contributing to our wiki (no permission required!). Because of the complex nature of the wiki’s content, you can review our current plans and discuss its overall direction.
We are also looking for moderators and active contributors to coordinate with us on a regular basis. If you are interested, please join our IRC channel at #endsoftwarepatents on Libera.Chat and subscribe to our “esp” discussion list.
But there are more ways you can help. If you are a software developer, please consider using one of our ESP buttons to promote our campaign by stating that you don’t use patents for your project (or that you license them freely along with your project). You can also help by donating to End Software Patents.
This overhaul was the main project of campaigns and licensing intern Panos Alevropoulos, who worked closely with the campaigns, licensing, and tech teams. Panos intends to continue contributing to ESP, primarily as an admin of the ESP wiki.