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Oracle vs Google: Copyright Claims Must Remain 166

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the write-once-sue-everyone dept.
swandives writes "More in the Oracle/Google patent infringement saga. Oracle says no court has ever found that APIs for software like Java are ineligible for copyright protection. The claims were made in its objection to Google's request that the court make a summary judgment on Oracle's copyright allegations. In early August, Google asked the judge to rule that Google doesn't infringe Oracle copyright in its implementation of Android. In an objection to that request, Oracle asked the judge to let the charge go to trial. Earlier, Judge Alsup denied Google's attempt to get a potentially damaging e-mail redacted. Looks like this one could take a while."
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Oracle vs Google: Copyright Claims Must Remain

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  • Re:API? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZombieBraintrust (1685608) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @04:43PM (#37183836)
    Java took the C++ api in part. Oracle is arguing that they themselves are commiting copyright infringement.
  • Re:API? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @04:49PM (#37183896) Homepage

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

    You are an idiot that clearly has never done any of these.

    Otherwise you would know how absurd the concept of copyright on an API really is.

  • Wait a minute: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @05:20PM (#37184222)

    Google did to Java on Phones exactly what we criticized Microsoft for through all those years of Slashdot existence.

    Not exactly: -

    First, Google made the code open source.
    Second, Google never proclaimed JavaVM compatibility.

    That's a far cry from Microsoft's behaviors.

    They took the API, they partially implemented them, then made their own incompatibilities, then took over the market with their incompatible implementation.

    While I agree with this, it is not illegal. After all, everything was open source according to SUN.

    Next please.

  • Re:API? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 3vi1 (544505) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @05:23PM (#37184248) Homepage Journal

    You totally missed the point. You're talking about copyright on the code implementing the API - while the real topic here is whether or not the API calls (function names) themselves can be copywritten.

    And of course the answer is 'no', because that prevents any and all compatible implementations. In fact, you'd be in violation simply for writing a program that called the API - since you have to use the function names in the calling program.

    Oracle's lawyers know nothing about programming, apparently. If things worked like they're trying to say they do, Microsoft could sue anyone that made software for Windows because at some point you used a header that included the Windows API function names.

  • by gknoy (899301) <gknoy@nOsPaM.anasazisystems.com> on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @05:26PM (#37184274)

    It's slightly different. Google didn't market it as Google Java, and in fact took pains to say that "the syntax looks like Java but it is compiled to run on the Dalvik VM".

  • by JAlexoi (1085785) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @05:34PM (#37184366) Homepage
    Do even know what the issue with Sun vs Microsoft was? Misrepresentation and inappropriate use of Java trademark. Microsoft called their version of Java - Java. That was the main issue, although their Java continues existence in the form of J++.

    Do No Evil? I don't think so.

    FYI: Google's moto is "Don't be evil" not "Do no evil".

  • Re:API? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @09:44PM (#37186504)

    This is a variation on the whole "a digital file is just a number, and you can't copyright a number" rhetoric.

    No, not at all like that.

    An API is an invention. It's something that did not exist until someone created it, like a song, book, or movie.

    Like a book? So this little list below:

    Foundation
    Foundation and Empire
    Second Foundation
    Foundations Edge
    Foundation and Earth

    Is that an invention? Or simply a description of what exists?

    A software library is a set of callable functions. How is a list of the function signatures (the "API") in that library somehow different?

    Ah, but perhaps you'll tell me I'm putting the cart before the horse, the API was written first, and the library came after?!

    So what? Suppose Asimov, had scribbled the following on a napkin back before he penned Foundation... (And yes set aside for a moment, that Foundation wasn't penned as a novel originally...it's not the point)

    Foundation
    Foundation and Empire
    Second Foundation
    Foundations Edge
    Foundation and Earth

    At that point, yes this list of titles was an invention, a work of fiction on its own, the books did not exist, he had yet to write them. Fast forward a few decades... the books are written. And the list, is now a description of what exists, and it would be absurd to argue that people wishing to enumerate his works should be forbidden from writing:

    Foundation
    Foundation and Empire
    Second Foundation
    Foundations Edge
    Foundation and Earth

    Simply because he had written this list on a napkin before he started.

    How exactly is an API different?

    Further, an API is by definition, the method by which other software interfaces with it.

    Copyright law has specific exceptions that explicitly and specifically allow reverse engineering and decompiling just to figure out what the interface specification actual is -- in the event that its not readily available/documented so that the discovered interface could be used for interoperability.

    It would absolutely absurd if after going through all that trouble to legally protect our ability to discover what the interface is ( (hmm "discover"... as is describe something that exists), to then prohibit us from writing it down or using it, when the express purpose of the section of law was to enable interoperability.

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