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Re: PostgreSQL and Patents: no position against

From: Chris Travers <chris(at)travelamericas(dot)com>
To: Christopher Browne <cbbrowne(at)acm(dot)org>,PostgreSQL advocacy <pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: PostgreSQL and Patents: no position against
Date: 2005-03-11 21:35:41
Message-ID: 42320F2D.1010809@travelamericas.com (view raw or flat)
Thread:
Lists: pgsql-advocacy
Christopher Browne wrote:

>jean-paul(at)argudo(dot)org (Jean-Paul Argudo) wrote:
>  
>
>>I know PG is not a political movement, it hasn't to be one. But will
>>we stay and wait the "final headshot", or just stand up and say "we
>>are against patents"?
>>    
>>
>
>There _is_ a problem with doing so, organisationally, as that does
>make the organisation more or less political in nature.  And that
>can disqualify it from being treated as a charitable organisation.
>
>Nothing here prevents individuals from participating in political
>endeavours, so those that are so interested are free to do so.
>  
>
In general I agree.  However, I want to point out that the organization 
exists to promote a project.  I think that it is perfectly reasonable to 
express concern over certain public policy issues if they affect our 
project.  I do agree that we should be careful about it and might want 
to get some professional guidance before going forward but at least here 
in the US, it is not uncommon for non-profits (even charitable 
institutions) to provide information on public policy issues.

For example, I would be very surprised if the ICRC were considered 
anything other than charitable.  However, in rare cases, they have 
expressed concern over public policy issues (for example, when the IDF 
used ICRC employees as human shields during raids on homes of suspected 
millitants a couple of years ago).  Regardless of what one thinks of the 
statements, they are worth considering in the context of the current 
discussion of political v. charitable organizations.  Speaking out about 
the impact of these policies on the operations of the ICRC doesn't 
undermine their status as far as I can tell.  So again, it might be good 
to get a professional opinion on where the guidelines are.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers
Metatron Technology Consulting

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