Monday, June 3, 2013

Computer Scientists Oppose Oracle's Bid to Copyright Java APIs

IDG News Service (05/30/13) James Niccolai

In a court brief, nearly three dozen computer scientists voiced concerns over Oracle's plan to copyright its Java application programming interface (API), which they believe would hinder the computer industry and limit end users' access to affordable technology. The group, which includes MS-DOS author Tim Paterson and ARPANET developer Larry Roberts, signed the amicus brief in support of Google in its copyright lawsuit with Oracle. Oracle accuses Google of infringing the copyright on its Java APIs in the development of Google's Android operating system, and is seeking billions of dollars in damages. Google argues that software APIs are not eligible for copyright protection under U.S. law. Last year, a district court in California mostly agreed with Google and ruled against Oracle in the case, but Oracle appealed the decision. "The freedom to reimplement and extend existing APIs has been the key to competition and progress in the computer field--both hardware and software," the brief states. "It made possible the emergence and success of many robust industries we now take for granted--such as industries for mainframes, PCs, peripherals, workstations/servers, and so on--by ensuring that competitors could challenge established players and advance the state of the art."

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