Why Oracle vs. Google Matters to You
The reason: Oracle is claiming Google should pay it billions of dollars based on the idea that application programming interfaces, the instruction sets for using its Java programming language, are covered by copyright. The judge is inclined to agree, and the question before the jury is what that would be worth.
|There's a lot at stake in Google vs. Oracle, in which Oracle says Google should pay it billions based on the idea its APIs are covered by copyright.|
To Florian Mueller of Fosspatents, who acknowledged during the trial a consulting agreement with Oracle, this is settled law. Attorney Edward Noughton of Brown Rudnick agrees that the judge has assumed the 37 APIs at issue are subject to Oracle's copyright -- the only issue being whether Google copied them and what that should cost it.
But to open source advocates such as Pamela Jones, founder of Groklaw, all this is nonsense. As she explained to Brian Proffitt of ITWorld recently, APIs are more like the list of objections one might make during a trial.
There is a list of possible objections, which all lawyers know, she wrote Proffitt. "If a lawyer stands up and says, 'Objection, hearsay' everyone in the room knows what it means. It's referring to the list." If someone could copyright the list, the very idea of hearsay, courts would not be able to function.