In the wake of last week's horrible ruling
saying that APIs are covered by copyright, we've pointed out that the negative impact on innovation could be massive
, creating chilling effects concerning all sorts of development. Thankfully, at least some companies are being fairly proactive in distancing themselves from the crazy idea that APIs can be covered by copyright. Automattic, the makers of WordPress, just amended
to make it explicit that they don't believe APIs are copyrightable subject matter, and they will not claim copyright on them:
[Update: 5.12.2014] One more thing – APIs like ours enable the kind of collaboration that makes the Internet great. We don’t think APIs are copyrightable subject matter, and don’t claim copyright in our APIs.
This is good to see, and hopefully we'll see other companies with APIs doing the same thing. It will help separate out companies that want to encourage open innovation -- from those who want to lock things down. In the end, perhaps this whole thing will even backfire on Oracle, as it makes people that much less
interested in working on technologies from a company looking to lock up innovation.