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Landmark Case in Software Copyright: Judge Rules that Java APIs are Not Copyrightable

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Landmark Case in Software Copyright: Judge Rules that Java APIs are Not Copyrightable

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Google won a battle in the so-called "smartphone wars" when Judge William Alsup ruled yesterday that Java APIs are not copyrightable.  This crucial win will likely end Oracle's case against Google. The case was founded in the claim that 3% of the APIs Google used in creating Android were subject to copyright owned by Oracle.  The following is from the official summary of the ruling:

So long as the specific code used to implement a method is different, anyone is free under the Copyright Act to write his or her own code to carry out exactly the same function or specification of any methods used in the Java API. It does not matter that the declaration or method header lines are identical. Under the rules of Java, they must be identical to declare a method specifying the same functionality — even when the implementation is different.  --Judge William Alsup

James Gosling had one thing to say on his blog today about the quote above: "Sanity Prevails".

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