Judge rules Oracle’s Java APIs cannot be copyrighted, Android off the hook
The civil situation Oracle brought against Google simply because of the latter’s Java implementation was difficult to say the least. It was divided into 3 parts: copyright, patent, and damages. The damages portion was cancelled simply because things went so badly for Oracle in the very first two phases. Now judge William Alsup has ruled on the 1 concern that was nonetheless up in the air — Java’s APIs are not copyrightable. Score 1 for Google.
Oracle was producing the claim that APIs, which are interface standards that facilitate software communication, can be covered by copyright law, and that Google infringed its copyright by creating the Dalvik Java virtual machine in Android. There were 37 Java APIs at situation right here, and Judge Alsup (who has written a line or two of code) evaluated the nature of the lines Oracle was claiming copyright to.
In those 37 APIs, 97% of the lines of code are totally new from Google’s programmers. The remaining three% are the very same merely by consequence of programming structures. To rule in Oracle’s favor, Alsup explained, would mean that a organization could copyright 1 version of the code, and avert anybody from writing their personal version to execute the exact same function. He decided such a ruling would be far too sweeping. Many programmers worried a diverse choice would have set a troublesome precedent.
This ruling will give Google a severe advantage at the appellate level, which this case is surely headed for. Judge Alsup did not state categorically that APIs cannot be copyrighted, but that these APIs aren’t covered by copyright. An appeals court might disagree, but the tide is certainly turning against Oracle.
For all its trouble, Oracle is left only with damages for nine lines of Java rangeCheck code, and numerous Java test files that were left in Android open supply packages. All told, that is worth about $ 300,000 to Oracle. Google is understandably excited, saying the choice “upholds the principle that open and interoperable personal computer languages form an essential basis for software development.”
by way of The Verge