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Re^3: Copyright on languages

by JavaFan (Canon)
on May 02, 2012 at 19:53 UTC ( #968525=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re^2: Copyright on languages
in thread Copyright on languages

Of course, BrowerUK, you are absolutely correct. I just don't understand why the judge did not use that reasoning.

Imagine if writers were able to copyright phrases -- short combinations of common words. It would very soon lead to the situation where it became impossible to communicate in writing at all.
First of all, you don't "copyright things", other than by creating it. And copyright law doesn't say "well, a work has to be at least N words large". Yet, noone has to worry that if they write down a short phrase they are infringing a copyright, even if someone else has written down the same phrase before them. Yet, they aren't free to copy an entire book.

Now, if APIs were copyrightable (and let me make it clear, I do not have the opinion they should), why should they be treated differently? That is, one shouldn't have to worry about int add( int, int ), but from that, it doesn't imply you can copy a large API like Java.

My point is no more than "I don't think it's obvious that APIs aren't copyrightable". And the mere fact there was a court case, and it wasn't thrown out as frivolous makes me think I wasn't the only one thinking it wasn't obvious.


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Re^4: Copyright on languages
by ikegami (Pope) on May 02, 2012 at 20:37 UTC

    First of all, you don't "copyright things", other than by creating it.

    That's not true. You can register a Copyright, and it really limits your legal options if you don't register that Copyright (under US law).

    It's even one of the issues to be resolved in this case: Can Oracle sue for infringement of "37 APIs" given that Copyright it registered is not specifically for those "37 APIs".

Re^4: Copyright on languages
by BrowserUk (Pope) on May 02, 2012 at 20:38 UTC
    Of course, BrowerUK, you are absolutely correct.

    I was simply expressing my opinion -- just as you were expressing yours. I see nothing wrong in that. Unless you consider that your opinion is unassailable?

    That dripping sarcasm might stand up if your follow-on discussion was logical. Or even if you demonstrated a deep(er) understanding of the issues involved.

    And copyright law doesn't say "well, a work has to be at least N words large". Yet, noone has to worry that if they write down a short phrase they are infringing a copyright, even if someone else has written down the same phrase before them. Yet, they aren't free to copy an entire book.

    But would the law be broken if I wrote a book that had the same chapter titles and ordering as a previously published work?

    How about if the book contains similar plot lines and characters; albeit with different names?

    Now, if APIs were copyrightable (...), why should they be treated differently? That is, one shouldn't have to worry about int add( int, int ), but from that, it doesn't imply you can copy a large API like Java.

    Where do you draw that line? What constistutes "the Java API"?

    Besides which, the case does not revolve around "the API", but rather about "bits of the API". Ie. A certain, defined, specific, named, subset of, the entrypoints within "The API".

    Informed opinion has it that specific implementation ("the source code") of a program or other software entity is copyrightable; but the step-wise description ("algorithm"); and the interface specification ("API") are not.

    My opinion is founded upon my understanding of these and other references going back over the long term of my particular interest in this subject.

    Disagree by all means; counter-argue please; but do save up the distraction of 'dismissal through ridicule' for those occasions where you can back it up with some ammunition worthy of the name.


    With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
    Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
    "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
    In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

    The start of some sanity?

      Besides which, the case does not revolve around "the API", but rather about "bits of the API". Ie. A certain, defined, specific, named, subset of, the entrypoints within "The API".

      Yes, it's not about every API in the Java's core libraries, but no, it's not about a subset of entry points either. From what I've read (and I've been reading transcripts from court), it is about the *full* API of the 37 packages shown below. (A Java package is akin to a Perl package/module.) Could you point me to this subset of entry points?

      The 37 packages are listed in Trial Exhibit 1072 (TX1072). I can't find the exhibit except as a part of a slide show that obscures half the list.

      1. java.awt.font
      2. java.beans
      3. java.io
      4. java.lang
      5. java.lang.annotation
      6. java.lang.ref
      7. java.lang.reflect
      8. java.net
      9. java.nio
      10. java.nio.channels
      11. java.nio.channels.spi
      12. java.nio.charset
      13. java.nio.charset.spi
      14. java.security
      15. java.security.acl
      16. java.security.cert
      17. java.security.interafaces
      18. java.security.spec
      19. java.sql
      20. java.text[...obscured...]
      21. java.util
      22. java.util.[...obscured...]
      23. java.util.[...obscured...]
      24. java.util.[...obscured...]
      25. java.util.[...obscured...]
      26. java.util.[...obscured...]
      27. javax.cry[...obscured...]
      28. javax.cry[...obscured...]
      29. javax.cry[...obscured...]
      30. javax.net[...obscured...]
      31. javax.net[...obscured...]
      32. javax.sec[...obscured...]
      33. javax.sec[...obscured...]
      34. javax.sec[...obscured...]
      35. javax.sec[...obscured...]
      36. javax.sec[...obscured...]
      37. javax.sql[...obscured...]

      Update: Added list of packages and the paragraph introducing them.

        Could you point me to this subset of entry points?

        I know no more than you. I've been following along on potted summaries of the case, much less than the transcripts.

        But given the (debatable) nature of what constitutes "the Java API", whether you divide it up according to AWT .v. Swing .v. other; or server-side .v. client-side; or Java v1 .v. v2 (v3,v4,v5); etc., those 37 packages constitute a subset of 166 packages that (currently) make up the 'the full Java API (set)'.

        There are also 3 specific functions that are cited:

        1. The rangeCheck method in TimSort.java and ComparableTimSort.Java
        2. Source code in seven “Impl.java” files and the one “ACL” file
        3. The English-language comments in CodeSourceTest.java and CollectionCertStoreParametersTest.java

        With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
        Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
        "Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
        In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.

        The start of some sanity?

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