Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 13th Apr 2012 09:40 UTC
Legal "Oracle's case against Google has evolved primarily into a copyright infringement suit over the past several months, and with the full trial scheduled to begin this coming Monday, the court is making an effort to get down to the nuts and bolts of copyright law. The judge issued an order last week requiring that both Google and Oracle provide their respective positions on a fundamental issue in the case: 'Each side shall take a firm yes or no position on whether computer programming languages are copyrightable'." Seems like an easy enough answer to me, especially since Oracle's example doesn't hold up at all - Oracle points to Klingon's custom glyphs to illustrate that a language can fall under copyright, but unlike Klingon, a programming language uses standard glyphs we all use every day. Arguing you can copyright that is borderline psychotic, and opens up a whole can of worms.
Permalink for comment 514430
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Member since:

A) First of all, whenever a person says "I really do" that means that they don't.

Actually, I really do. Take it to mean whatever you want.

B) Copyrights aren't granted via standards bodies. Let alone, your should learn what is JCP(Java Community Process). It's not your average standards body.

I never said that copyright was granted via a standards body, simply that some standards bodies have requirements of anything submitted to them for acceptance.

D) If you wrote your language, then you know that you write the compiler that understands the input. Oracle claiming copyright over Java programming language would be the worst kick in the nuts for all software developers. Their Sun's intention was that people would use the language and even the specification from JCP comes with a license to use as you wish by clicking a simple "Yes, I agree". Now if Oracle claims copyright over the compiler, that is a very strange assertion. Google most definitely did not copy Oracle's IP by creating their own compiler that understands Java's grammar.

This is the strongest reason that Oracle has very little case. But only because of Sun's intention for the language and what they told people to do with it. However, the very fact that there is a license, and that you have to accept it, seems to imply that there is copyright.

E) Your argument that it takes a lot of effort to create an API is meaningless. It took a lot of time to discover all of the laws of nature. It takes a lot of time for a builder to build a house. It does not imply copyright protection, per se. Copyrights are also not applicable to insufficiently creative works. For example, I can write an class to contain address information and no logic and looking at it someone could write an exact same copy. That "copy" would not violate copyright, simply because the original was only expressing facts.

Actually, it probably would, but the case is really simple and it would be difficult to prove that the copier had done an exact copy of the original. Independent recreation does not violate copyright, but straight copying does, even for simple things.

APIs are like that. Not that they don't take a lot of time to think about the future, but it's the same level of creativity as a reporter selecting particular words to describe facts(witch will not be copyrightable). Implementing the APIs will be a different story, though.

News articles absolutely have copyright. I cannot remember the case name off the top of my head, but that was established a long, long time ago.

H) A programming language is a medium, not an expression in itself. In fact, syntax in itself is not even an expression. The compiler is. Word and Photoshop is the tool for expressing yourself, just like Java is, If Java language is copyrighted then your document is copyrighted by Microsoft not you.

The language is both a medium and an expression. The compiler and runtime engine are also expressions. Are you saying that Microsoft has no copyright in Word and Adobe has no copyright in Photoshop.

Wasn't there a case recently where Microsoft argued that the XML language for the new Word/Excel/etc. programs has copyright? Didn't they win/settle favorably?

I am not arguing that they own the copyright of things you write in their languages. They just own the copyright for the language itself. In the case of both Word and Photoshop you are licensed to use the product to create works under your own copyright.

If you copy either of those two programs without the author's permission, you are breaking copyright.

Reply Parent Score: 1