This week, a decision came in for the Oracle Vs Google appeal which overturned an earlier ruling and sent shockwaves through the technology industry. This case could set a dangerous precedent as the question at the core of the appeal was if
Two years ago, Judge
In computer programming today, the application programming interface is deemed to be one of the most important tools. Being the tool that specifies how software components should interact with each other, it allows third party services to pull information from social networks and other services alike.
"When programmers can freely re-implement or reverse engineer an API without the need to negotiate a costly license or risk a lawsuit, they can create compatible software that the interface's original creator might never have envisioned or had the resources to create. Moreover, compatible APIs enable people to switch platforms and services freely, and to find software that meets their needs regardless of what browser or operating system they use. The freedom to re-implement APIs also helps rescue "orphan" software or data-systems whose creators have either gone out of business or abandoned their product in the marketplace.
Today's decision puts all that at risk, potentially handing
"The law is already clear that computer languages are mediums of communication and aren't copyrightable. Even though copyright might cover what was creatively written in the language, it doesn't cover functions that must all be written in the same way," said EFF Staff Attorney
"Without the compatibility enabled by APIs that are open, we would not have the vibrant computer and Internet environment we experience today, with new products and services routinely changing the way we see and interact with the world," said EFF Fellow Michael Barclay. "APIs that are open spur the development of software, creating programs that the interface's original creator might never have envisioned."
The case is far from over.
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