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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MollyC
Member since:
2006-07-04

I don't think the court knew what the hell it was doing. There's a whole can of worms opened up, for no good purpose.

For example, take "template libraries", where the "library" isn't a staic or dynamic library file, but rather consists of a bunch of header files specifying (at times, very complex) templates. In such a case, the template library API is the same thing as the template library implementation. If one can't copyright APIs, then one can't copyright template library implementations. So, in effect, all template libraries (that are released to the public for developers to use) are now pulic domain, period. If one creates and releases a template library, the developer cannot specify any terms of use (GPL, LGPL, or otherwise) and must release it as public domain. Which makes no sense and serves no purpose.

Now, the only template libraries that I've ever used are the Microsoft ones (like ATL), which while having Microsoft copyright boilerplate statments, Microsoft likely wouldn't care if they were public domain. But I can't imagine that RMS or FSF would be pleased to see that it's now impossible to write a GPL template library and that all existing GPL template libraries are now public domain by court order.

And template libraries is just one example. I can think of other examples where "You can't copyright API" makes no sense and serves no purpose.

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