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 Oracle v. Google 
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Joined: 2012-01-09 20:25:31
Posts: 25
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
I'm curious what people think about the Oracle/Google case that was decided earlier in the week.

From an interview with one of the jurors, the jury believed that the judge had instructed them that the API was covered by copyright, period, and that they could only determine whether reauthoring the library, using the same API, was somehow covered under fair use. I've couched that rather carefully (or tried to) -- it may have been a misunderstanding on the part of the jury, or that might have been what actually happened.

As a former software engineer, I can see the arguments on either side of that issue. If APIs are copyrightable, however, it opens up a real mess -- everyone creates libraries for other systems. Microsoft has done it for POSIX compliance, the Linux crowd did it with WINE, there are hundreds of emulators out there. . . .

What's the state of copyright when it comes to APIs? Is it in fact already settled law that they are copyrightable? Did the judge overreach? Did the jury misunderstand? Anyone know? Anyone have other thoughts on the case?


2012-05-26 01:55:18
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Joined: 2012-01-09 20:25:31
Posts: 25
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Well, I guess this answers it, more or less:
http://news.yahoo.com/oracle-gets-anoth ... nance.html

Quote:
NEW YORK (AP) — Oracle Corp. received another setback Thursday as a federal judge in San Francisco undermined a central part of the company's multimillion dollar case against Google Inc. over its Android software for mobile devices.

Oracle had accused Google of copyright infringement in using "application programming interfaces," or APIs, that help Oracle's Java software work effectively. A jury found Google infringed on those APIs on May 7, but it couldn't agree on whether Google was covered under "fair use" protections in U.S. law. Without a fair-use determination, Oracle wasn't able to extract huge sums from Google.

Now, U.S. District Judge William Alsup said Google's use of the APIs wasn't covered by copyright law in the first place.


The judge had decided that the issue of whether APIs are or are not copyrightable was a matter of law that he would decide, and got the jury's opinion on whether, if he did decide the APIs were copyrightable, Google had actually infringed or not.


2012-06-01 16:26:34
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