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[5]: NOT APIs
by galvanash on Thu 3rd May 2012 04:38 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: NOT APIs"
galvanash
Member since:
2006-01-25

I think your off on a wild tangent. No offense meant, I just don't see any correlation between this ruling and the GPL/LGPL at all. Its simple:

1. The GPL/LGPL are licenses based purely in copyright law.
2. You cannot copyright an idea, only expressions of idea.
3. An API is an idea.

Thus the GPL/LGPL simply do not apply to APIs... They apply to the code you wrote, not the idea (API) being expressed. The linking clause (the distinction between the two licenses) has nothing to do with APIs or ideas - it is about what constitutes a derived work. The way linking is implemented is a function of the language you choose to use - it has nothing at all to do with your code or what it expresses.

If the API itself isn't copyrightable is the "use" of the API then copyrightable?
GPL says yes it is copyrightable and this affects other works that links to it.


No. You are linking to an implementation, not an API - it is the implementation that affects the other works that link to it. The GPL doesn't cover the arrangement of interfaces in a library (i.e. it's API) - it only covers the underlying source code and its binary representation when run.

If someone writes a 100% compatible independent implementation without using any of the source code from the GPL version they are free to license it however they see fit - they did not violate the copyright of the GPL code and thus are not affected by it.

Edited 2012-05-03 04:47 UTC

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