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Flightprep licensee
Why did FlightPrep NOT chase Jeppesen or AOPA? They have lawyers on retainer and deep pockets. Taking a license instead of disabling disputed functionality cannot be supported. You can download all charts for Free with your tax dollars from the FAA!: You can georef them and even run them in free moving map apps. http://aeronav.faa.gov/index.asp?xml=aeronav/applications/VFR/chartlist_sect
Skyvector - Who needs it?
Thanks for the FAA link. I have sent FlightPrep an email stating that I would not use or subscribe to any service they offer because of their patent lawsuit filed against RunwayFinder. I would also encourage the GA community to extend this prohibition to any web site that uses a FlightPrep licensed product. Great, I just lost my two favorite flight planning web sites - Navmonster and Skyvector. It will be interesting to see how much money, time, and effort Jeppesson and AOPA will use to defend themselves when the blood thirsty blokes at FlightPrep go after them. Let the power of the purse and the outrage from individuals decide the winners and losers in this story. It's up to each pilot to get involved.
Software patents destroy markets
As a software developer, I can attest that nothing stifles individual efforts to bring new and improved software to consumers like software patents. Almost without exception, software patents are despised by software developers, their presumptive beneficiaries. You know you have a lawyer problem when the laws that are supposed to benefit you in fact benefit only lawyers. Software patents don't promote innovation or economic competition. Nor do they provide value to the consumer. They do however, give larger companies the ability to stifle a competitive and functioning marketplace through lawyering. What this means is you get charged more money for less innovative software. A huge chunk of time, energy and money now goes to pay for patents ($40,000.00 to file) and defend against patent infringement claims ($1,000,000.00 -one million- to defend in court, and more). Developers already feel themselves to be sufficiently protected against competition through the device of copyright laws. Copyright laws mean no one can copy my code and sell it, just as no one can copy a book and sell it as their own. Copyright protection has worked fine for software for 40 plus years. The amazing and frenetic burst of innovation in software which gave us personal computers, the internet, browsers, online applications, all of the software you use every day was created by people without patents. While providing no real value, patents are however infinitely burdensome to developers. The horrify details of what actually adhering to what patent law demands- which no developer does- cannot be exaggerated. It's like a joke out of Monty Python. To wit, as a developer, I would have to first break down my idea for software into distinct and clear algorithms and ideas such that a patent attorney could then go do a check for pre-existing patents on each one. Total cost, not less than 10k per idea. Total cost- astronomical, even the most trivial application has not less than a hundred patentable ideas. For any serious application you'd actually want to write, it's probably one patent for every fifty lines of code, or a 2,000-5,000 patent checks, minimum. Supposing all my ideas were cleared, I would then not be free to deviate from my original idea one whit, something every developer does every hour of their working life, since doing so would incur more lawyer fees and waste the money I already spent. Then as I continued my lawyer-developer relationship, I would be forced to file another patent every time I wrote something patentable, which would be multiple times weekly if not daily.... if not hourly. Each filing would cost me another 40k. Finally, I could take my product to market. Of course, the price tag would be astronomical since I have to build in the cost of all that lawyering. I can't tell you what the analogy to your own life would be because our situation is so peculiarly grievous. It would be as if to get up in the morning, you were first compelled to spell out just how you intended to do so and get lawyer approval. You'd have to propose just how you intended to turn on the shower and you were prevented from turning hot water on before cold. You'd have to pay a licensing fee to open the shower curtain. Moving your left foot before your right when you walked to the kitchen. would be verboten, so you'd have to jump on one foot the whole way. You would be forbidden from turning on the radio before the lights and to open the garage would be another licensing fee. All this would cost you a quarter of a million dollars and take you 18 months. Could you live this way? Software patents only destroy value, but the one thing certain that software patents have created is widespread contempt for the rule of law. Solving novel problems in novel ways is what every software developer does every day every hour they work. That's our job description. The only reason that there aren't more patents issued on software is even patenting companies can't afford to patent every new, patentable aggregate of code they come up with. So they file just enough such that they can stop other, smaller companies from market participation while hoping they themselves don't get sued by a yet bigger fish. This is just lawyers injecting themselves into an entire field of endeavor in which they act as a non-productive, non-value producing parasite, siphoning off time, energy and monies they've done nothing to earn. Here's a triplet of quotes on software patents which sums up our situation as software developers trying to get products to you. The first one is from Donald Knuth, widely regarded as the greatest living software developer, prolific technical author, mild mannered, organ playing Lutheran and all around decent guy: "Congress wisely decided long ago that mathematical things cannot be patented. Surely nobody could apply mathematics if it were necessary to pay a license fee whenever the theorem of Pythagoras is employed. The basic algorithmic ideas that people are now rushing to patent are so fundamental, the result threatens to be like what would happen if we allowed authors to have patents on individual words and concepts. Novelists or journalists would be unable to write stories unless their publishers had permission from the owners of the words. Algorithms are exactly as basic to software as words are to writers, because they are the fundamental building blocks needed to make interesting products. What would happen if individual lawyers could patent their methods of defense, or if Supreme Court justices could patent their precedents?" The second quote was made by Bill Gates in 1991 and quoted by Fred Warshofsky in a book titled "The Patent Wars" in 1994. It's from an internal memo written by Bill Gates to his staff: "If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today's ideas were invented and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today. ... The solution is patenting as much as we can. A future startup with no patents of its own will be forced to pay whatever price the giants choose to impose. That price might be high. Established companies have an interest in excluding future competitors." The final quote is from Supreme Court Justice Bradley in 1882: “It was never the object of those laws to grant a monopoly for every trifling device, every shadow of a shade of an idea, which would naturally and spontaneously occur to any skilled mechanic or operator in the ordinary progress of manufacturers. Such an indiscriminate creation of exclusive privileges tends rather to obstruct than to stimulate invention. It creates a class of speculative schemers who make it their business to watch the advancing wave of improvement, and gather its foam in the form of patented monopolies, which enable them to lay a heavy tax upon the industry of the country, without contributing anything to the real advancement of the arts. It embarrasses the honest pursuit of business with fears and apprehensions of concealed liens and unknown liabilities to lawsuits and vexatious accountings for profits made in good faith. The attempts through the years to get a broader, looser conception of patents than the Constitution contemplates have been persistent. The Patent Office, like most administrative agencies, has looked with favor on the opportunity which the exercise of discretion affords to expand its own jurisdiction. And so it has placed a host of gadgets under the armor of patents—gadgets that obviously have had no place in the constitutional scheme of advancing scientific knowledge. A few that have reached this Court show the pressure to extend monopoly to the simplest of devices" (Atlantic Works v. Brady, 107 U.S. 192, 200 (1882)).” at 155. I am sure everyone has their own busy lives to lead, but if even one of you could find the time to write a short note to your Congressional representatives letting them know that you do not approve of software patents, you'd be doing yourself and myself a favor.
I could not have said it
I could not have said it better myself.
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I was able to create an account. However i need to help my husband clear his previously misentered account on his email cubdriver1937@yahoo.com

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