Beefy Boxes and Bandwidth Generously Provided by pair Networks
laziness, impatience, and hubris
 
PerlMonks  

Re^2: Copyright on languages

by BrowserUk (Pope)
on May 02, 2012 at 19:28 UTC ( #968519=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


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

I also don't think the fact that APIs aren't copyrightable is a clear cut case.

Can you imagine if int add( int, int ) were (or suddenly became) copyrightable?

Perhaps that can be seen as too trivial; but consider something like:

void qsort ( void * base, size_t num, size_t size, int ( * comparator +) ( const void *, const void * ) );

If, every time a programmer sat down to write a function; he had to perform a copyright search to check that he wasn't duplicating a function signature that someone else had used somewhere at some time in the past, this industry would grind to a complete halt.

That is proof by reductio ad absurdum, but the principle holds. And with the advent of IP Trolls, and the general rise and rise of companies like Apple and Oracle using litigation as the first resort rather than the last; it is not so absurd.

Api definitions involve little more than the serial juxtaposition of a half a dozen or so keywords, chosen from a very limited subset. The permutations are finite.

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.

buk_The buk_only buk_solution buk_would buk_be buk_for buk_each buk_individual buk_or buk_company buk_to buk_'register' buk_their buk_own buk_unique buk_prefix; buk_and buk_then buk_you buk_end buk_up buk_with buk_communications buk_of buk_this buk_sort buk_and buk_life buk_just buk_gets buk_king buk_ridiculous.


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?


Comment on Re^2: Copyright on languages
Select or Download Code
Re^3: Copyright on languages
by JavaFan (Canon) on May 02, 2012 at 19:53 UTC
    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.

      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".

      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.

Log In?
Username:
Password:

What's my password?
Create A New User
Node Status?
node history
Node Type: note [id://968519]
help
Chatterbox?
and the web crawler heard nothing...

How do I use this? | Other CB clients
Other Users?
Others examining the Monastery: (12)
As of 2014-09-19 08:42 GMT
Sections?
Information?
Find Nodes?
Leftovers?
    Voting Booth?

    How do you remember the number of days in each month?











    Results (133 votes), past polls