Reply to post: Multiple points

Why Oracle will win its Java copyright case – and why you'll be glad when it does

Paul Crawford Silver badge

Multiple points

This article is no better then some other anti-Oracle as it confuses, deliberately or otherwise, multiple facets of the case:

1) Are API's under copyright?

2) Is reimplementing an API "fair use" of copyright?

3) Did Google reimplement the API or simply copy Sun Microsystems Oracle's code?

The first 2 are much the same to the lay-person. In the previous trial the judge had some computer knowledge and ruled, quite reasonably, that blocking API re-use is against the whole of software inter-compatibility and so not the intended outcome. The currently finished trial said no, APIs are under copyright by the legal definition of this, so the trial was on point 2, and it ruled re-implementation is "fair use".

The last point has not adequately been investigated as Oracle went after the API question, and in many cases something like an in-line function has only one sane way to do it so a clean-room implementation will look very much like a copy.

Having said all this, AO's article has a fair point that GPL and free software needs strong IP laws, but they certainly don't need API protection as that would stop interoperability and shore up the entranced position of propitiatory suppliers against ANY competition.

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