Originally Posted by ruddy
Many will try to convince you that this is some radical departure from copyright, when the Appeals Court really just reinstated the status quo that all original expression in an authored work is protectable, including software. Judge Alsup's decision was the radical departure, because it said that when noncopyrightable function
coexists with otherwise protectable expression
, the function trumps the expression and makes it noncopyrightable. [/COLOR]
Something obviously being missed by you and others (including me initially) is an incorrect understanding by the Appeals Court. You've mentioned this one yourself: Google admits to copying 7000 lines of declaring code verbatim. The problem? I guess no one thought to go back to the court record to see Google never said they did any such thing. Here's the statement they really
submitted in the original case:
infringing any such copyrighted material ... The copyrighted Java platform has more than 37 API packages and so does the accused Android platform. As for the 37 API packages that overlap, Google agrees that it uses the same names and declarations but contends that its line-by-line implementations are different
… Google agrees that the structure, sequence and organization of the 37 accused API packages in Android is substantially the same as the structure, sequence and organization of the corresponding 37 API packages in Java... "
And here's the most important part: "With respect to the API documentation, Oracle contends Google copied the English-language comments in the registered copyrighted work and moved them over to the documentation for the 37 API packages in Android. Google agrees that there are similarities in the wording but, pointing to differences as well, denies that its documentation is a copy. Google further asserts that the similarities are largely the result of the fact that each API carries out the same functions in both systems."
Page 10 of this doc:
http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/california/candce/3:2010cv03561/231846/1018/0.pdfIf true then couldn't this be a issue of function only rather than expression?
That would move the argument closer if not in line with the three Java API's that the Appeals Court seems to be saying are not
copyright-eligible. The more I read this opinion the more I think it speaks to the specific facts from this case and not all API's. Not really certain but I'm still reading a couple more times.
In any event it appears the Appeals Court relied on an erroneous "fact" stated on page 12 of their ruling, Google admitting to literal copying. That's evident with the court stating " nothing prevented Google from writing its own declaring code, along with its own implementing code, to achieve the same result." Going by the above quotes from the first trial it would seem that's just what Google says they did...
AND IF they did (i'm not saying they factually did) I noted you have already offered your opinion on that: Google was free to write their own APIs to achieve the same functionality as the Java APIs, so long as they didn't copy
It's somewhat unfortunate that in some of these recent cases (Samsung/Apple, Google/Oracle, Apple/Justice Dept) those making the findings have little to no knowledge of or experience with the subject they're tasked with. Taking this to SCOTUS would hardly be giving it to more technology-oriented body either. I think they still rely on passing notes rather than using email or other electronic methods.
By the way for a contrary legal opinion on why the Appeals Court may have it wrong there's this if you're interested:
and from a developer's point-of-view.
and an on-going developer discussion
http://developers.slashdot.org/story/14/05/09/1646238/court-oracle-entitled-to-copyright-protection-over-some-parts-of-javaEdited by Gatorguy - 5/12/14 at 10:47am