Re: This article conflates two important issues
Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. You've been lost in Google's cuttlefish ink cloud.
"1. Is and API itself copyrightable"
That has already been decided by the courts, and the answer is a confirmed, settled and now indisputable "Yes". Not even Google are endeavouring to get that court judgement changed.
"2. Direct copying of code sections:"
Google have already been found guilty of doing this, and Google have lost all avenues of appeal on this question. You don't need to browse the code yourself, the document that matters is the court judgement stating that this has happened.
I think that Andrew Orlowski raises a very serious point here, and if Google win then it harms software copyright irrevocably. We may all grow to regret such an outcome. If Google wins I can pinch 11,000 lines of someone else's copyrighted OSS code and disregard the license terms entirely. And if 11,000, why not 12,000. And if it's widely distributed already, why not the whole lot?
For the moment though Google have a lot of fanbois on their side, and that is clouding the public debate on the matter. Remember that Google is a company that started off doing no evil, but now conducts business in ways raising concerns all over the world on matters of privacy, fair business competition. tax evasion, money laundering (France), etc. This is not a company that we should definitely be cheering on, yet there's plenty of people doing exactly that.