This is the difference lies. What people are confusing with APIs is the structured reference the compiler uses to structure machine code, this the procedure Add is part of that translation code.
It is NOT an API. An API, as the name states, is an Application Programming Interface, with emphasis on the second word.
What makes this problematic is the API general definition. However, what's important to realize is APIs are NOT transferable between systems.
One cannot use Windows APIs in a Java world, without additional software. In the previous example of using WINE, Windows APIs are translated to work within a Linux environment, but the actual code of the API is not altered.
Again, most companies who wrote the APIs aren't going to stop programmers from using them, but I certainly don't believe anyone believes a company will allow another business to take those APIs, verbatim, and create a new operating system.
I feel far too many people are confusing API with ABI, and ABIs are what cannot be covered by copyright. ABIs are what makes APIs work.
For those unaware, an ABI is an Application Binary Interface, which is the compiler code needed to ensure the API of "Add(x,y)" translates correctly, regardless what API is written to use the procedure."
I'm sure some will argue this is all "one in the same", but it's not. APIs are written code. Thus, under current copyright law, they are covered by that law.
So yes, my 30 years of experience in programming still has me confident APIs are written software.
If there's still confusion, keep this in mind: if you can't write it, it's an ABI. If you can, it's an API.
I don't believe I'm incorrect in this, but I'm also not sticking my fingers in my ears screaming everyone is wrong.
I really do want to know why people believe APIs aren't covered under copyright, and so far, all I've seen is the confusion between API and ABI.
The whole point of an API is to define what it means "to perform identically". The whole point of an API is to make code shareable between applications rather than developers having to rewrite the wheel every time they create a new program.
APIs are bound by the OS and the software/hardware they're written for. I've been programming for 30 years, so I'm confident what an API is used for. Hell, I've written my own, as well as encapsulated some by Microsoft.
In this world, Microsoft knows it's beneficial to share these APIs. Hell, they don't even charge to use them even if one wants to profit on their own software. It's a mutually exclusive relationship.
However, I absolutely cannot fathom for one second Microsoft wouldn't send the hounds after me if I took all their APIs, wrote my own OS, used those APIs, and competed with Windows.
WINE translates Windows APIs to use in Linux. Microsoft isn't going to raise a fuss here because WINE isn't an OS. It would be no different than someone writing software for Windows to run Linux programs using Linux APIs (though, that would be funny considering most Linux APIs are open source).
@The other AC: No, Java is not open source. At least, not as of today. Rumor has it Oracle is leaning towards making it open source, but time will tell.
There needs to be some clarification here, because the point of the lawsuit seems to be overshadowed by "copyright of APIs".
What Google did was nefarious. It took Java, decided what to keep and not use, then ditched the rest and rebrand the the programming language as "Android". In other words: It's not Java anymore.
While it's true one can use the Java SDK to write Android apps, not all the libraries and functions are supported in Android.
I think this is where Oracle sat up and said, "What the fuck?"
I highly doubt Apple or Microsoft would allow any company to sell an OS using its APIs either, and it makes perfect sense.
Now, I certainly don't agree APIs should be covered by copyright, and Apple and Microsoft make no qualms about any software developers using their APIs within their OS software, but there's a distinction between Fair Use within the bounds of software and outright copyright infringement of those APIs.
Java is a sandboxed language, and it uses its own virtual compiler. This is why it's the most widely used language on the planet. Because of this, Java has no ties to any OS. Without additional software, Java cannot access APIs on other systems, either. That's the whole point of "sandbox".
Google nefariously sidestepped this approach to claim Fair Use with the development of Android. I don't think Oracle would have a problem if Google used Java (and its APIs), but it sure didn't like the fact Java isn't even mentioned within Android at all.
In fact, head over to Android's official website and you'll see Java isn't mentioned at all. Not only that, it requests a download of the Android SDK, not the Java SDK.
That's pretty damn low, in my opinion, especially from a multi-billion dollar company who wrote its own database language for its search algorithms.
That, I believe, is the issue here, not that APIs should be copyright (and they shouldn't be, within the bounds of the OS the APIs are tied to).
Oracle is just using its legal firepower in the only manner it has with this action, relatively new (the Psystar case is completely different, by the way).
I'm not surprised SCOTUS balked, because this really is an issue to be settled by the two companies.
The only thing I feel guilty about is handing over $8.00 per ticket only to be greeted with Pepsi ads and this wonderful message, appearing moments before the movie (finally) starts:
"IT IS UNLAWFUL TO RECORD THIS MOTION PICTURE. VIDEO DEVICES CONTAINING RECORDING IS PROHIBITED DURING FILMING. THIS INCLUDES CELL PHONES. IF YOU ARE CAUGHT USING A DEVICE WITH RECORDING, YOU MAY BE ASKED TO LEAVE THE THEATER AND ARE SUBJECT TO PROSECUTION UNDER FULL EXTENT OF THE LAW."
Yes, in caps. It stayed on screen for no less than 3 minutes.
While I did know Taylor had the power to control her own distribution, I didn't know she owned her own label.
Knowing this, her complaints make the situation even worse.
Let me ask you: how many artists that will be featured in the streaming service has their own label? Very few, I'm sure.
This means Taylor's arguments weren't about the other artists, but making sure labels get paid royalties.
Hopefully, you can see the issue more clearly now.
But that's not even the true problem. As much as I hate Apple, I'm actually going to defend their original action because the service has absolutely nothing to do with royalty payments.
It's widely believed Apple paid as much, if not more, for the licensing of the music being streamed that other services has paid. We're talking millions, and this means one thing: Taylor Swift was already paid for the music her label agreed to in the contract.
To then boldly claim more money should be spent, coming from Apple's pockets during this free trial, is downright insane, if not purely based on greed.
Just as she attacked Spotify for her misunderstanding of how monies are paid to artists, she's doing the same thing with Apple, a multi-billion dollar company which everyone has been throwing into discussions regarding royalties.
Her claims are unjust, foolish, and clearly out to benefit only herself.
I don't dislike Taylor, but this ridiculous assertation is, in my opinion, no different than what Lars Ulrich did when complaining about MP3 sharing without understanding how business works.
All Apple did was prove that, when trying to innovate with content owned by someone else, they'll have to take the financial risks, burdens, and losses despite having already paid up front for it.
Techdirt talks about abuse every day. This is another example of abuse.
The only losers here are going to be the smaller artists who are going to be overshadowed by acts like Taylor, while hoping to hell their label pays them.
Apple's finances shouldn't have even been in the discussion, other than what they've already paid to get the service started.
I think this article points out what so damn wrong with "journalism" today.
The fact Swift doesn't realize she's one of the reasons people would be drawn to a service her music is on is a bit nefarious. There's no damn way the little artists are going to benefit from any streaming service.
If the little fish didn't have to rely on the bigger fish, perhaps there would be plenty to celebrate, but reality sucks.
Secondly, Swift receives zero royalties from any streaming service. This should be obvious, but it's not. Her label will get the royalties, and the label is who will cut her a check.
Note the situation change now. Twice now, Taylor has attacked the wrong source of revenue. If anything, she should be calling out her label for allowing this, not Apple. Apple has nothing to do with this other than having to pay up front costs to license the music.
But the real kicker is how she's bitching about Apple when her own damn contracts do the same to everyone else who deals with her as an artist.
Photographers must give up all copyright control if Taylor is in the picture. Refuse? She has the right to destroy expensive equipment.
The sheer audacity she has to claim unfair treatment by Apple is just another example of entitlement by artists who are popular enough to make demands, forcing everyone to cower because their revenue will be affected.
Taylor Swift is the female version of Lars Ulrich.
Since the FCC also recently ruled states can't bar local municipal broadband builds, this ruling seems to coincide with the possible increase in competition from a city perspective, will change can occur.
As it stands now, PK is correct, but throw in municipal broadband, and the landscape changes significantly.
The reasoning behind the argument has nothing to do with the ruling, which is purposely designed to enforce the notion drivers are employees, which puts Uber/Lyft under federal guidelines to force them into spending more of their money for things such as health insurance (which I'm sure Uber/Lyft exceeds the 50 employee minimum).
With this expenditure, it's just a matter of time before the service goes belly up, especially if other states take the same actions.
That is the entire purpose of the ruling - to stop innovation.
Years ago, I was taught there were members of a society who despised how their government was working. When journalists tried to give the people of that society the corruption and violation of freedoms the government was imposing, they, too, were called out (if not executed).
Many started to realize these journalists were telling the truth. Fearing their lives and liberties, they huddled up and decided to bail on this utopia and settle a new one.
Soon, this utopia formed a new name, calling itself the United States of America.
Those who fail to learn from history are surely doomed to repeat it.
Anyone ever notice, regardless where in the world a person is, the more freedoms a person has to speak their minds, the more governments control that speech?
Democratic countries seem to be the worst, all the while pointing fingers how Communism is the worst. One of these days, someone will sit down and realize, "Hey, we're acting just like they are! Maybe we should scale back our own personal fears."
On second though, in looking at past history, this is obviously a task far too complicated for an intelligent species.
Oh dear! This post would likely put Techdirt in the line of fire... if it weren't in the US.