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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RE: Overstating the case
by lemur2 on Fri 1st Jun 2012 07:35 UTC in reply to "Overstating the case"
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Another a bit overblown headline, Oracles case is indeed over, but APIs remain perfectly copyrightable if they are a sufficiently complex and creative work, all Alsup has decided is:

"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."

To link to another comment where I summarized my complaint about this recurring misunderstanding about API copyrightability:

It is like with all copyight: Big, complex and creative works are copyrightable, and that is a high bar to reach for APIs, but it is clearly possible.

Au contraire, this decision is quite important. It means that as long as a project writes its own actual implementation then using someone else's API (for reasons of compatibility and interoperability) is perfectly OK under copyright law.

This means that FOSS projects which re-implement functionality to a common API are perfectly fine. FOSS projects such as Samba, Wine, gnash, VBA for LibreOffice and Linux hardware drivers etc can't be attacked for copyright violations.

Edited 2012-06-01 07:37 UTC

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