Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 2nd May 2012 22:32 UTC, submitted by PLan
Legal "The European Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday that application programming interfaces and other functional characteristics of computer software are not eligible for copyright protection. Users have the right to examine computer software in order to clone its functionality - and vendors cannot override these user rights with a license agreement, the court said." Bravo. A landmark ruling, for sure. If the US courts decide in favour of Oracle in the Google-Oracle case, Europe would instantly become an even friendlier place for technology companies.
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RE[3]: NOT APIs
by galvanash on Thu 3rd May 2012 03:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: NOT APIs"
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

That's an incredibly insightful observation. If an API isn't copyrightable, and gets included into a project, then the project should not be considered derived from a copyrighted work.


And how would you include an API in a project? I don't understand the angle your looking at this from. Writing down the specifics of an API (whether in documentation or in source code) doesn't include the API, it merely expresses it. An API is an idea - it is the expression of the idea that is copyrighted, not the idea itself.

To put it another way, you can copyright a program that expresses a totally original idea, but your copyright does not cover the idea, it only covers your implementation. Anyone is free to look at what your program does and create an independent implementation that does exactly the same thing. Remember, we are not taking about patents...

Also, I don't understand this GPL vs LGPL thing that was brought up. The difference between those two licenses rest solely on an explicit exception in the LGPL to allow linking without the license affecting the linked work. How does this decision apply to this? Neither the GPL or the LGPL have any clauses in them concerning reverse engineering or barring the other party from creating an independent implementation. Hell, reverse engineering is practically encouraged in the OSS world...

As an aside... This ruling, if made in US courts, could possibly cast doubt on parts of the DMCA anti-circumvention law. I don't think it would invalidate it, but it does seemingly conflict with it - at least in spirit.

Edited 2012-05-03 03:30 UTC

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