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  Oracle wins copyright for the Java APIs  (Read 1352 times)
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Offline HeroesGraveDev

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« Posted 2014-05-09 22:17:00 »

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/05/oracles-java-api-code-protected-by-copyright-appeals-court-rules/

(And comments on Reddit here)

Not only does this affect alternative Java implementations (mainly Android), but also sets a dangerous precedent for other companies to do the same with their APIs.

TL;DR: Oracle is full of BS, and the courts aren't much better.

Offline Abuse

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« Reply #1 - Posted 2014-05-09 22:48:44 »

/facepalm.

Their need to use similes to define their case tells you all you need to know about lawyers.... they know nothing about programming.

So, what next? Microsoft to sue the various Linux DirectX emulation layers?


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Offline HeroesGraveDev

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« Reply #2 - Posted 2014-05-09 23:28:44 »

So, what next? Microsoft to sue the various Linux DirectX emulation layers?

Probably.

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Offline princec

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« Reply #3 - Posted 2014-05-10 08:11:02 »

This sort of thing has been going on for over 20 years now and it's a symptom that the law just can't cope with the concept of computer software in its current legislation. Clearly "copyright" doesn't quite work and the "patent" system is a complete joke. What's really needed is some completely new concept in law pertaining specifically to software.

Because, on the one hand, I can see how copyrighting an API could cause all manner of ridiculous and spurious shit in the courts and benefit nobody and be a general disaster for all concerned. But on the other hand it takes just a pinch of common sense to see that Google ripped Oracle right off and stuck two fingers up at them. Someone's clearly been wronged but in a way which cannot be currently defined in law without breaking something else.

Cas Smiley

Offline CommanderKeith
« Reply #4 - Posted 2014-05-10 08:51:44 »

I just don't understand how there is copyright at all when Sun open sourced the java language and API's? Can't everyone use and copy the API as much as they want so long as they abide by the open-source license?

Offline princec

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« Reply #5 - Posted 2014-05-10 09:05:40 »

Well.. quite.

Cas Smiley

Offline Gibbo3771
« Reply #6 - Posted 2014-05-10 11:18:42 »

I just don't understand how there is copyright at all when Sun open sourced the java language and API's? Can't everyone use and copy the API as much as they want so long as they abide by the open-source license?

There is always a loop hole so to answer your question, f**k knows.

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Offline Roquen
« Reply #7 - Posted 2014-05-10 11:31:37 »

Instead of playing "chicken little"..what did the court actually rule.  The internal e-mails of google show intentional stomping on copyrights.
Offline ags1

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« Reply #8 - Posted 2014-05-10 11:35:39 »

I find this decision disappointing but I also disagree with the suggestion that the design of an API is not as creative as the implementation of the API. We have all worked with good and bad APIs, the work put into an API is creative and makes a real difference to developers. Google's assertion that an API is purely functional is BS.

But... Java did not come out of thin air, it is based on prior work too. So whose lawyers are going after Oracle now? :-)

Offline Roquen
« Reply #9 - Posted 2014-05-10 12:37:42 »

All well and good...but what was the ruling?
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Offline delt0r

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« Reply #10 - Posted 2014-05-10 13:33:42 »

I don't really see a big difference with this and well what other vendors have claimed over the years. In particular even some of the  GPL people (in particular  RS) asserts that linking to a library  (via a api) constitutes a derived work.

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Offline Roquen
« Reply #11 - Posted 2014-05-10 13:42:34 »

http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/assets/4431835/13-1021.Opinion.5-7-2014.1.pdf
Offline Roquen
« Reply #12 - Posted 2014-05-10 19:40:23 »

I should have said this when I link to the text of the decision.  If it's too long (I only skimmed)..and 69 pages for a higher court decision is damn short...jump to the end and read the conclusion.
Offline Roquen
« Reply #13 - Posted 2014-05-12 08:07:59 »

So is "the sky falling"? 

I'd suggest if you thought so you at least skim the ruling as a lesson.  If you read a summary of any complex topic that someone with severe A.D.D. can easily read, then by necessity you're getting a very skewed view of the issue.   Information theory tells you so.  The question of "can a public API" be covered by copyright protection is the exact same open question after this decision as it was the day Google and Oracle step into trial.  The only change is the court overruled a district court decision.  From the ruling, page 42:

Quote
In other words, the court concluded that, although the SSO (Roquen: structure, sequence and operation) is expressive, it is not copyrightable because it is also functional. The problem with the district court’s approach is that computer programs are by definition functional—they are all designed to accomplish some task. Indeed, the statutory definition of “computer program” acknowledges that they function “to bring about a certain result.” See 17 U.S.C. § 101 (defining a “computer program” as “a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result”). If we were to accept the district court’s suggestion that a computer program is uncopyrightable simply because it “carr[ies] out pre-assigned functions,” no computer program is protectable. That result contradicts Congress’s express intent to provide copyright protection to computer programs, as well as binding Ninth Circuit case law finding computer programs copyrightable, despite their utilitarian or functional purpose.

Now an A.D.D. person can read my chosen snippet...and what I'm presenting could be skewed.  If you care about something..check for yourself.
Offline pron

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« Reply #14 - Posted 2014-05-16 22:45:21 »

I just don't understand how there is copyright at all when Sun open sourced the java language and API's? Can't everyone use and copy the API as much as they want so long as they abide by the open-source license?

In order for an open source license to exist, you need copyright, otherwise there's nothing to license (you can't license something that isn't your property). In any event, Sun open-sourced the JDK under the GPL, but Google decided not to abide by that license (they didn't want Android to be copyleft). However, they believed that the API aren't copyrightable (and therefor not Sun's to license), so a they took what they believed to be a clean-room implementation (Harmony) of the Java APIs. The question of API copyrightability is an interesting one, but there's little doubt that Google did not have clean hands in this whole affair.
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