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PETA Helps Develop New Software License to Fight Cruelty to Animals

'Harm-Less Permissive License' Will Prohibit Software From Being Used to Harm Humans or Animals

For Immediate Release:
May 21, 2010

Contact:
Joel Bartlett 757-622-7382

Norfolk, Va. -- PETA has joined forces with Swedish software developer Anders Sundman to create the first-ever license that will prohibit software from being used in any way that will harm humans or animals. The Harm-Less Permissive License (HPL) is free and open legal text for any software developer to use. In the weeks ahead, PETA will contact other compassionate software developers and encourage them to use HPL to ensure that their products aren't used for harmful purposes.

"I've seen images from inside slaughterhouses and modern fishing vessels, and it's obvious just how dependent these industries are on technology and computer software," says Sundman, a PETA supporter and longtime vegetarian. "My partnership with PETA aims to thwart attempts by anyone intending to use software in a way that would cause humans or animals to suffer when the software was never intended for that purpose."

The HPL states that no one can use the software or any modification of the software in a way that would harm humans or animals without first getting written permission from the software developer. Because Sundman would never grant such permission, people would be prohibited from using the software to cause suffering.

The first software application to use the HPL license is one that helps people estimate the position of an object or a person in motion. Sundman became alarmed after realizing that the application could be used for a missile-guidance system or for a fishing vessel's sonar equipment to track schools of fish. Sundman stated that "the use of technical appliances like these are one of the reasons why modern fishing has become so efficient (and hence devastating to animals and the ecosystems)."