Last updated: May 4, 2012 - 7:57am
The tech industry is on tenterhooks awaiting the result of the Oracle vs. Google trial. The reason: Oracle is claiming Google should pay it billions of dollars based on the idea that application programming interfaces, the instruction sets for using its Java programming language, are covered by copyright.
The judge is inclined to agree, and the question before the jury is what that would be worth. But to open source advocates such as Pamela Jones, founder of Groklaw, all this is nonsense. As she explained, APIs are more like the list of objections one might make during a trial. There is a list of possible objections, which all lawyers know, she wrote Proffitt. "If a lawyer stands up and says, 'Objection, hearsay' everyone in the room knows what it means. It's referring to the list." If someone could copyright the list, the very idea of hearsay, courts would not be able to function. That's how the European Court of Justice sees it as well.
Why does this matter? Open source, in short, seemed perfectly legal when the issue was the enforceability of a license. But copyright lives forever -- Mickey Mouse is still subject to copyright -- and if anyone who writes a program or programming tool can assert property claims on it for 100 years, programming as we know it is indeed threatened.
- Google tries to destroy Oracle's case, asks for judgment on Java copyrights
- Larry Page evasive with Oracle's lawyer, but admits Google never obtained Java license
- Oracle v. Google judge asks for comment on EU court ruling
- Oracle v. Google patent phase wraps up
- Google, Oracle attorneys wrap up first part of trial
- Oracle seeks billions in Google lawsuit
- Google infringed on Oracle copyrights, jury finds, but leaves key question unanswered
- Google proposes Android revenue for Oracle
- Google wins crucial API ruling, Oracle's case decimated
- Google's Ex-CEO Defends Its Use of Java
- Oracle loses bid for ruling Google use of IP wasn't fair use
- Oracle Vs. Google, Week One
- Google engineer Lindholm: 'I had little involvement in Android'
- Google and Oracle battle over the future of Android
- Could an Oracle Win Against Google Blow Up the Cloud?