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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vaette
Member since:
2008-08-09

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.

Reply Parent Score: -2

renox Member since:
2005-07-06

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.
You're kidding? His report on Oracle loss is merely FUD stressing that it can be overturned on appeal.
That's *always* the case, so he is just restating the obvious to hide that the judgement is a loss for Oracle, even if the issue isn't settled yet.

[cut]of course a sufficiently large, complex and creative API would be copyrightable
Of course?? In Europe, they explicit banned copyrighting APIs.
IMHO the judge is just making sure that his judgment won't be overturned in appeal by stressing that his judgement only apply to this case..

Reply Parent Score: 7

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"[cut]of course a sufficiently large, complex and creative API would be copyrightable
Of course?? In Europe, they explicit banned copyrighting APIs.
IMHO the judge is just making sure that his judgment won't be overturned in appeal by stressing that his judgement only apply to this case..
"

True. Remember also that, regardless of the judge stressing that his judgement only applies to this case, the way that the legal system works is that this decision will set a precedent for all future alleged copyright cases involving use of APIs.

Reply Parent Score: 3

vaette Member since:
2008-08-09

Yes, of course. If I write poetry in the form of Java interfaces it remains perfectly copyrightable. There is no magic about programming languages that make creative works impossible to copyright. It just happens to be hard to meet the requirements of copyrightability when it comes to common APIs, but it is perfectly certain that there are copyrightable material that can be expressed as APIs.

Reply Parent Score: 0