Originally Posted by ItsTheInternet
Can you name a method of operation without an original expression? Perhaps you could list something which is both and already decidedly under copyright so we can look at an independent example?
A short and unoriginal method of operation with little room for expressive choice would, in all likelihood not qualify as being copyrightable. A method of operation is much like any other noncopyrightable element in a piece of software. The software may be copyrighted, but the method in it is not.
Much like the letter "e" or the word "the" are elements of a novel, using them in a novel does not in any way grant you copyright over those elements. A method is also like information. In my novel I can mention that "Boston is the capital of Massachusetts," but I can't copyright that information. I could conceivably come up with a whole new way of expressing that Boston is the capital of Massachusetts, and that expression might conceivably be copyrightable, but that still doesn't ever grant me copyright over the information itself, though I may be able to prevent you from expressing the information the same way I did if it were original enough.
The statement "Boston is the capital of Massachusetts" is not a particularly original way of expressing that Boston is the capital of Massachusetts, and so would generally not be copyrightable, in fact most names and short phrases are not copyrightable themselves (there are exceptions to that general rule). If a piece of software can calculate a percentage, one cannot copyright the method used to calculate it, and one typically could not copyright the expression in the code as there's little room for expressive choice in how one goes about simple mathematical operations. But combined with other code, forms of logic, more complex algorithms, naming schemes, organizations of logic, timing, etc., then the range of individual choices the programmer is drawing upon becomes more complex and creative and at some point meets the Supreme Court's minimum degree of original expression to warrant protection.
Just like a lot of instances of the word "the" and other non-copywritable elements can be structured into highly original expression. You assume that just because some APIs can be written with a mere 10 lines of code and likely have no originality that the 37Java APIs Google hijacked fall into the same class. Well they don't. There's case law on this stuff already.
Once again I point out that I do this for a living. Should this case be decided then business in the US will become a lot more hostile as there is literally no way to research this sort of copyright claim. It would be even worse than patents as there could be no literature search beforehand. It's basically an invitation to begin copyright trolling en-masse.
Here in the US we call this FUD. You hear it all the time. It's spread by intellectually dishonest misrepresentations of what's really going on. It's also spread by ideological parrots who really don't understand the issues they have strong feelings about, but that's what their tribe believes.
A chestnut example among anti-copyrighters with regard to Oracle v Google is the near nonstop misrepresentation that copyringhting APIs means the copyrighting of methods and functionality. It's pre-chewed baloney, on the same level as creationists and birthers. Most people don't understand the details of copyright law, so outright baloney like that often goes unchallenged in threads like these.