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Until a few years ago, programmers in the United States could write any program they wished. This freedom has now been taken away by two developments: software patents, which grant the patent holder an absolute monopoly on some programming technique, and user interface copyright, which forbid compatible implementations of an existing user interface.
In Europe, especially through the GATT treaty, things are rapidly approaching the same pass.
B.1 Software patents Algorithm monopolies. B.2 User interface copyright Forbidding upward-compatibility. B.3 What to do?