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[5]: APIs not copyrightable
by kwan_e on Sun 3rd Jun 2012 14:05 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: APIs not copyrightable"
Member since:

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.
No-one may subsequently seek to enforce those rights, to the detriment of others, without bumping into the equitble estoppel brick wall.

What a funny little world you live in. ;)

If you've kept up with the "developments" of the legal system in recent decades, you know that a big company does not ever need to win in order to wield their power. All they need is a large sack of cash and lawyers and either intimidate or appeal endlessly until the other guy runs out of money. The threat of that alone has already forced many small players into undisclosed out of court settlements.

So again, while we all would like to live in a world where the side who is right is the side who wins, the real world favours the side with the money.

The legal system does not work like a computer.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: APIs not copyrightable
by dizwell on Mon 4th Jun 2012 07:02 in reply to "RE[5]: APIs not copyrightable"
dizwell Member since:

Not so funny. Just the way it is. Promissory or equitable estoppel (or 'detrimental reliance') is so well established as a legal doctrine, both in the UK and the USA to name but two, that I don't care how big the company is or how many lawyers they hire: they're not going to win.

There are no legal developments in recent decades that make it a grey area. Quite the opposite: the doctrine is much more firmly developed now than it was, say, 60 years ago.

Whether it takes a 25-pound postal order, self-representation and a district court magistrate or two years and a large team of highly-paid barristers is really irrelevant to the issue at hand: you said "it's Microsoft and can we really trust any of their promises"... and my point simply is, trust doesn't come into it. The matter is justiciable, and that's all that really counts.

You appear to believe that the law is abused by big business merely to intimidate the little guys. I happen to believe, with good reason, that it's actually the law that *stops* big business trampling all over the little guys.

I personally don't think that's particularly naiive, but even if you do, it doesn't alter the fact that promises not to sue can't be withdrawn on a mere whim or without legal consequences.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[7]: APIs not copyrightable
by kwan_e on Tue 5th Jun 2012 01:21 in reply to "RE[6]: APIs not copyrightable"
kwan_e Member since:

it doesn't alter the fact that promises not to sue can't be withdrawn on a mere whim or without legal consequences.

And you quite missed my earlier point that a company like Microsoft can absorb the legal consquences and still leave everyone they "promised" in the gutter.

Have you seriously not understood that a large company can/has intimidate and just appeal until the smaller one gives up?

Reply Parent Score: 2