Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 31st May 2012 21:41 UTC
Legal And thus, it ends. Despite a never-ending stream of doom and gloom from Oracle/Microsoft-funded 'pundits' regarding Google and Android (six hundred billion trillion gazillion eurodollars in damages!!1!), judge Alsup has just squashed all of Oracle's chances with a ruling that is good news for those of us who truly care about this wonderful industry: APIs are not copyrightable. Alsup: "To accept Oracle's claim would be to allow anyone to copyright one version of code to carry out a system of commands and thereby bar all others from writing their own different versions to carry out all or part of the same commands. No holding has ever endorsed such a sweeping proposition." Supreme Court, Ellison?
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Nothing in this decision contradicts anything Mueller has said. You can dislike the guys overall opinions and direction, but he does do an excellent job at separating what is facts and what is opinion, and does present all the facts.

I also think it is important to note, as Mueller does, that while this is the end of the line for Oracle (pending appeal), that Alsup very clearly did not rule APIs uncopyrightable in general:
"This order does not hold that Java API packages are free for all to use without license. It does not hold that the structure, sequence and organization of all computer programs may be stolen. Rather, it holds on the specific facts of this case, the particular elements replicated by Google were free for all to use under the Copyright Act."

Which makes sense; of course a sufficiently large, complex and creative API would be copyrightable, but it has to make that bar just like all other works under copyright. For most APIs this would be difficult, but in rich data modelling languages for example it would most likely be a fairly common occurence.

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