Side Show In Oracle, Google Patent Fight: Are API's Covered By Copyright?
from the we-may-find-out dept
Oracle has now responded and is arguing that copyright for APIs is perfectly reasonable, claiming that the APIs "contain many original and creative elements." Just as Google quotes a former Sun CTO, Oracle (somewhat snarkily) quotes a current Google employee (and former Sun employee) in noting, "API design is an art, not a science."
As Groklaw notes in the above link, Google probably won't win on the motion for summary judgment on this issue, even if it has a better chance at trial:
Although we don't buy all of Oracle's arguments (most importantly, we don't believe much of what they assert is copyright protected subject matter is, in fact, protected by copyright, such as API's), Oracle has probably done enough in its response to put the issue of copyright infringement before a jury. Of course, the court still needs to rule on Google's summary judgment motion.Indeed. I have trouble seeing how APIs can be covered by copyright. Oracle's key argument beyond that misleading quote is that creating a good API is "difficult." Difficulty alone does not determine if something is copyrightable, of course. Either way, allowing for copyright claims on APIs seems like a good way to create a lot more problems for important (legal!) things like reverse engineering. Once again, it seems like stupid intellectual property laws may get in the way of important methods for innovation.