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?
Thread beginning with comment 520372
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[2]: APIs not copyrightable
by earksiinni on Fri 1st Jun 2012 19:44 UTC in reply to "RE: APIs not copyrightable"
earksiinni
Member since:
2009-03-27

Isn't there a similar concept in British law, the idea of a "poll" (e.g., "name poll")? I believe it's a form of legal obligation where the obligation is unilateral and self-imposed, or something like that. When the obligation is between two or more people, then it becomes a contract (I think).

I really don't know anything about the whole Mono situation, but perhaps the reason why Microsoft called it a "promise" is because the "poll" concept doesn't exist in U.S. law, AFAIK. Yet there may be some serious legal ramifications, just like how registering your copyright is not necessary to enforce it as long as it meets certain criteria (in theory). I always got the feeling that people were skeptical/prejudiced about/against the promise simply because of its name, as if it would sound naive to accept it because it would be like "believing" in a personal guarantee. But really, I haven't informed myself sufficiently to know the grounds for skepticism.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: APIs not copyrightable
by cdude on Sat 2nd Jun 2012 00:15 in reply to "RE[2]: APIs not copyrightable"
cdude Member since:
2008-09-21

The thing is Microsoft only promised that *Microsoft* does not sue. They did not promise the same applies for patent-"exploiter" or Microsoft-partners who have/got rights to do so using the Microsoft .NET patent-pool.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: APIs not copyrightable
by kwan_e on Sat 2nd Jun 2012 03:54 in reply to "RE[2]: APIs not copyrightable"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Isn't there a similar concept in British law, the idea of a "poll" (e.g., "name poll")? I believe it's a form of legal obligation where the obligation is unilateral and self-imposed, or something like that.
.
.
I always got the feeling that people were skeptical/prejudiced about/against the promise simply because of its name, as if it would sound naive to accept it because it would be like "believing" in a personal guarantee. But really, I haven't informed myself sufficiently to know the grounds for skepticism.


Does any of that really matter? Let's suppose one day, Microsoft decides to unilaterally go back on their legally binding promise. Who has the money to sue them and can they guarantee the court won't just invalidate the promise?

People were/are skeptical/prejudice of the promise, not because of the name, but because of who made it and their history. If Google were to make a promise of any sort, people would tend to believe it. In this case, it's Microsoft and can we really trust any of their promises?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: APIs not copyrightable
by dizwell on Sun 3rd Jun 2012 12:49 in reply to "RE[3]: APIs not copyrightable"
dizwell Member since:
2012-06-03

The legal doctrine is called "equitable estoppel". If you unilaterally promise something, you cannot then unilaterally withdraw that promise if, in doing so, you would cause harm to anyone who had relied upon that promise.

The classic case is this: you own a property in London. It is war-time, and you are finding it difficult to let the building. So you promise a potential lessee that you'll charge much-reduced rent for the duration of the war. The potential lessee agrees, and takes a lease. The war ends; you now say "you owe me the normal rent for the war years, which is much higher than the rent I actually charged you. And the war is over so you can afford to pay".

The English High Court, in 1947, basically said, "Bugger Off: you promise something, you can't go back on that promise if it causes detriment to someone who relied on your promise".

Microsoft promises not to sue in various circumstances; they cannot subsequently unilaterally withdraw that promise and hope to have their "rights" enforced.

And it's irrelevant if it's Microsoft or someone who has subsequently bought their patents or their patent right: Microsoft have renounced their patent rights in these specific circumstances. No-one may subsequently seek to enforce those rights, to the detriment of others, without bumping into the equitble estoppel brick wall.

Reply Parent Score: 1