Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 15th May 2012 18:04 UTC
Legal "If Judge William Alsup rules that APIs are subject to copyrights, he would overturn common wisdom in programming circles, potentially exposing many companies and developers who have built software platforms that openly mimic existing APIs. But that's not all. Such a ruling could shake things up for many other companies across the programming world and beyond." The fact we even have to worry about this speaks volumes about the state of the industry.
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Comment by marcp
by marcp on Tue 15th May 2012 18:16 UTC
marcp
Member since:
2007-11-23

"API is copyrighted!" - says judge

"Copyright my ass!" - says reason.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by marcp - reason?
by jabbotts on Tue 15th May 2012 18:22 UTC in reply to "Comment by marcp"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

When has such a thing had anything to do with law?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by marcp - reason?
by Spiron on Tue 15th May 2012 20:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by marcp - reason?"
Spiron Member since:
2011-03-08

since somebody can sue for 1 mil+ for somebody else trying to make their software work

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by marcp
by Modafinil on Wed 16th May 2012 00:33 UTC in reply to "Comment by marcp"
Modafinil Member since:
2012-04-28

"So even though we found that C++ was unsuitable, we designed Java as closely to C++ as possible in order to make the system more comprehensible."

http://java.sun.com/docs/overviews/java/java-overview-1.html

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Comment by marcp
by Geekius Maximus on Wed 16th May 2012 00:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by marcp"
Geekius Maximus Member since:
2008-02-28

In that case, since Java ripped off syntax structure of C++, Bjarne Stroustrup can sue Oracle.
And then again, Tom Kenson can sue Bjarne Stroustrup, since C++ is, well, 'a better C'.

Eventually, machine will sue human! Bwahahaha ;)

Reply Score: 4

Greed
by moondevil on Tue 15th May 2012 18:30 UTC
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

If Oracle wins, they will repent to the outcome created by their greed.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Greed
by shmerl on Tue 15th May 2012 18:58 UTC in reply to "Greed"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Do they know about such concept as repentance? So far they didn't indicate it.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Greed
by Soulbender on Wed 16th May 2012 05:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Greed"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Well, considering how much Java was "inspired" by C++ it might not be the best of outcomes for them.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Greed
by zima on Thu 17th May 2012 16:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Greed"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

And one has to wonder what impact such ruling could have on SQL (yes, an ISO standard ...but then, so is C++ ;p ) - I hear Oracle depends on it quite a bit.

Reply Score: 2

Didn't they just lose?
by Carewolf on Tue 15th May 2012 18:48 UTC
Carewolf
Member since:
2005-09-08

Seriously wasn't that case already ruled upon? APIs are not copyrightable, but a trivial 9 line function was?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Didn't they just lose?
by phoenix on Thu 17th May 2012 16:03 UTC in reply to "Didn't they just lose?"
phoenix Member since:
2005-07-11

The judge hasn't ruled yet on the copyrightability of APIs.

Reply Score: 2

java's future
by fran on Tue 15th May 2012 18:51 UTC
fran
Member since:
2010-08-06

Sorry, I know this is not stack overflow, but with such action will Oracle loose the good will of the programming community? i.e. will some programmers stop using it?
How does the competition compare, i.e. what could Google have used instead of Java?

One good thing I can see coming out of this case is that this will at least give some Java users a level certainty. And if Oracle looses it could actually be a good thing for Java?

Edited 2012-05-15 18:53 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: java's future
by shmerl on Tue 15th May 2012 23:04 UTC in reply to "java's future"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

I general it's a bad thing for Java, since it's not a free language if its own API isn't free to use. Google could have used C++, JavaScript or whatever language free of corporate clutches. Java developers always knew there is a potential minefield of patents from Sun, but copyrightable API is just ridiculous.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: java's future
by jgagnon on Wed 16th May 2012 12:32 UTC in reply to "RE: java's future"
jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

Personally, I would have hoped for them using Python.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: java's future
by zima on Tue 22nd May 2012 23:37 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: java's future"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Lua could be nice, too. Alas, we're probably stuck with Java for foreseeable future.

Reply Score: 2

RE: java's future
by Soulbender on Wed 16th May 2012 05:10 UTC in reply to "java's future"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

i.e. will some programmers stop using it?


We can only hope.

Reply Score: 2

Pretty irrelevant
by TBPrince on Tue 15th May 2012 19:06 UTC
TBPrince
Member since:
2005-07-06

That decision would matter in US only.

EU has already stated that APIs are not copyrightable so end of the story.

Should Oracle win, many companies (expecially startups) would migrate to European Union and that would really hurt US economy (as if more hurting was needed…).

It's no coincidence if EU ruled out that APIs could be copyrighted a few days before that decision : that builds a landscape and sends a message.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Pretty irrelevant
by jgagnon on Wed 16th May 2012 12:33 UTC in reply to "Pretty irrelevant"
jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

I don't think the majority of software start-ups would suddenly leave the country. Instead, I think we'd see a new era of software incompatibility.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Pretty irrelevant
by zima on Tue 22nd May 2012 23:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Pretty irrelevant"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

It probably wouldn't be so outside of "the country" in question here, though... and I imagine that most of the world would kinda like (and benefit from) such situation (and how long it would take for "the country" to conclude it was an error?)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by TomF
by TomF on Tue 15th May 2012 21:07 UTC
TomF
Member since:
2010-01-22

next up to be copyrighted... the alphabet... the order of characters to be used to form words.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by TomF
by quackalist on Tue 15th May 2012 21:25 UTC in reply to "Comment by TomF"
quackalist Member since:
2007-08-27

The alphabet as an ordering system is relatively recent but it does pre-date Mickey Mouse so probably, for now, not copyrightable...itself, if memory serves, a British invention...more, as useful tool for controlling the spread of 'undesirable' religious tracts than anything to do with business.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by TomF
by Fergy on Wed 16th May 2012 05:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by TomF"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

The alphabet as an ordering system is relatively recent but it does pre-date Mickey Mouse so probably, for now, not copyrightable...itself, if memory serves, a British invention...more, as useful tool for controlling the spread of 'undesirable' religious tracts than anything to do with business.

So the King James Bible was written without an alphabet?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by TomF
by zima on Thu 17th May 2012 16:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by TomF"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Copyright.

Reply Score: 2

Disingenous crap
by vaette on Wed 16th May 2012 06:59 UTC
vaette
Member since:
2008-08-09

The article makes the same mistake that people love to make in this debate. Whether or not you agree with API copyrightability it does obviously not work like the article says, you cannot, as it suggests, copyright "public int fetchNumberOfOverdueAccounts(int groupID);", the totality of the work has to be large and unique enough to be considered creative.

To illustrate the point, if I were to write a book of poetry, all in the syntax of Java interfaces, then certainly I would have copyright on this book. The use of a programming language has no special exceptions in the law, nor does using a declarative subset of the programming language. The article makes a mistake analoguos to assuming that since it is possible to copyright a book of poems, and poems are made out of letters, it must be possible to copyright the alphabet, and that is madness!

It is unclear to me whether the Java APIs that Google picked up for Android (which are a rather big chunk of work, but is in many parts somewhat simplistic utility classes) should be copyrightable, but it is pretty clear that APIs can be copyrightable as things stand. It is easy enough to imagine cases where they are sufficiently creative to be distinctive works, especially in languages with rich data modelling. APIs need a legal exception for it to be otherwise, copyright law does not exhaustively enumerate what the medium for copyrightable works may be.

Reply Score: 3