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.
Thread beginning with comment 516844
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Member since:

I forgot to add (something more pertinent to the story): I don't know that the inability to copyright APIs makes Europe more friendly for tech companies. I think the opposite claim could be as easily argued.

From personal experience, I worked as a programmer for 20 years (blissfully retired to hobbyist programmer status some years ago), and during all that time, neither I nor any of my coworkers ever had any desire whatsoever to clone anyone's API. But we did want to protect APIs that we ourselves created.

So I dont' know that many companies are interested in cloning others' APIs to begin with, so I don't know that they'd care much that Europe would allow such cloning. But I do know that many companies do want to protect the APIs that they themselves create. The inability to protect APIs that one creates might make Europe actually seem less friendly to tech companies (well, less friendly to creators; more friendly to freeloaders and those that lack the ability to create invent anything).

I realize that the EU laws and court rulings are meant to foster healthy marketplace, but I can't help but notice that so much of the legal wrangling that goes on there (and elsewhere) involves American companies (and to a lesser extent, Asian ones). It's rare that a European company is involved. And that would seem to be because there are so few leading European software companies (depsite there being top-notch European programmers and top-notch European universities with great software degree programs (I worked with many great European programmers that had come to the US to find work)). Maybe that's because Europe's laws and rulings are not conducive to fostering world-leading software companies. Which would indicate that Europe is not "friendly" to such companies. And maybe allowing companies to freely rip off others work would only further such un-"friendly"-ness.

On the other hand (and somewhat contradictory to what I just wrote), Europe is the continent that bans products from the marketplace so as to cave to demands that parties pay 4 billion dollars per year for patents license fees, covering technology for which the typical patent fee is roughly 1.2 million times less than such demands. Seems Europe would allow folks to clone APIs, yet would defend 4 billion dollar patent license fees. Seems they want to be on both extremes. Which might be argued to result an un-"friendly" (as in "legally unpredictable") environment for tech companies.

Edited 2012-05-03 03:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

dylansmrjones Member since:


Reply Parent Score: 3