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Google’s API Victory over Oracle In Danger

A federal appeals court looks as though it may overturn last year’s ruling allowing Google to copy the structure of Oracle’s API, while writing different underlying code to solve the problems.

Circuit Judge Kathleen O’Malley said the fact that Java is freely available and widely used by programmers doesn’t mean the code can’t get copyright protection. She asked Google’s lawyer, Robert Van Nest, if the company could go ahead and use APIs from Apple or Microsoft. “This would apply to every possible computer program out there,” she said.

“Yes, but only the command structure,” Van Nest responded. “They would have to rewrite millions of lines of code. That’s what Android did. Fifteen million lines of Android code are all original.”

I honestly don’t know which outcome is better for innovation, although it’s clear that developers seems to support Google.  There really has to be a middle ground on this stuff that doesn’t cripple innovation, but also doesn’t let latecomers rob the original developers of the fruits of their labor.

Posted in SciTech.