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(Wired)   Appeals court reverses Oracle's copyright suit against Google, citing how when they were coming up they didn't just Google on everything and parade around with no onion and is Welk on tonight and why is it so cold in here?   (wired.com) divider line 61
    More: Fail, Oracle, Google, appeals courts, Hacker News, Larry Ellison, CTO, cold, programming interface  
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2531 clicks; posted to Geek » on 10 May 2014 at 4:25 PM (20 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-05-10 10:22:18 AM
Eh, Linux was only a fad anyway. So was literature, music, TV, recipes, ....
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-05-10 10:59:20 AM
Skimming the decision, I think Google would have had a better time if they had tracked down the antecedents of some common method names. Like "everybody uses the name max for the maximum function, not maximum or greatest, see this stack of standard textbooks." Also, the court was not impressed that Google made its product incompatible with Java and yet claimed the need to copy Java to be compatible with Java.
But they could still win on fair use; reverse engineering falls under fair use rather than copyrightability.
 
2014-05-10 12:09:00 PM

ZAZ: But they could still win on fair use; reverse engineering falls under fair use rather than copyrightability.


And that's what they did. We've already established there's no Oracle (or really, let's be honest, Sun) code in Dalvik or ART. The Java APIs were reverse engineered for the JVM used in Android. This fundamentally ignorant ruling basically destroys reverse engineering APIs, which means Compaq should have been sued over creating the first non IBM BIOS, Samaba is illegal, not to mention a host of other open source projects.

These judges got the facts horribly wrong.
 
2014-05-10 04:41:25 PM
Somewhere, a former SCO lawyer came in his pants.

Get ready.
 
2014-05-10 04:45:44 PM
If you asked a software developer about this, he will probably tell you the cloning is fine as long as you don't just cut and paste the source code.

If I copy someone's ideas, and pass them off as my own, it's not plagiarism as long as I don't copy their exact words?

After all, many important pieces of open source software are clones of something else, including the Linux operating system

Free software is socialism.

Also, computer programmers are smelly weirdos.
 
2014-05-10 04:47:02 PM
They don't stand a Welk's chance in a champagne supernova in the skype.

/wait, what?
 
2014-05-10 04:51:08 PM
Wow, this is one of the worst decisions I've seen in a long time.  It's almost Citizens United levels of awful.  If this is allowed to stand then you can kiss any sort of unapproved software interoperability goodbye.  It'll essentially be illegal without the express approval of the software creator.

OpenOffice: illegal
XviD: illegal
Lame MP3: illegal
Any non-Adobe PDF viewer/editor: illegal
etc. etc. etc.
 
2014-05-10 04:51:22 PM
Sorry, but Android is not an iOS clone. Nope.

No cloning to see here.

/Nope
 
2014-05-10 04:52:28 PM

sendtodave: If I copy someone's ideas, and pass them off as my own, it's not plagiarism as long as I don't copy their exact words?


in a free market, yes, apparently.

Pepsi?
 
2014-05-10 04:55:19 PM

sendtodave: Also, computer programmers are smelly weirdos.


that, however, is sexist. I know tons (ok, some) chick programmers that smell just fine.
 
2014-05-10 04:55:24 PM

sendtodave: If you asked a software developer about this, he will probably tell you the cloning is fine as long as you don't just cut and paste the source code.

If I copy someone's ideas, and pass them off as my own, it's not plagiarism as long as I don't copy their exact words?


Bolded the part that didn't actually happen here.

This isn't like copying something without credit.  This is more like covering a song.  Nobody accused Johnny Cash of "stealing" from Trent Reznor when he covered Hurt, and you don't have lawyers trying to sue Richard Cheese into oblivion every time he puts out a new album.
 
2014-05-10 04:57:37 PM

Irving Maimway: The Java APIs were reverse engineered for the JVM used in Android.


Let's say that you are Nike, and I'm a Chinese factory owner.   If I reverse engineer one of your shoes, and make a nearly identical copy in form and function, one that could be substituted for your shoes without people knowing, would you have a problem with that?

I mean, you said it right there!  It's a Java VM.
 
2014-05-10 05:01:53 PM

yukichigai: This is more like covering a song.


Which, afaik, requires permission for commercial use.  Pretty sure a cover is illegal if the song is song commercially, and/or negatively impacts the owner of the original.
 
2014-05-10 05:02:29 PM
Sold commercially, I mean.
 
2014-05-10 05:05:50 PM

sendtodave: yukichigai: This is more like covering a song.

Which, afaik, requires permission for commercial use.  Pretty sure a cover is illegal if the song is song commercially, and/or negatively impacts the owner of the original.


This decision is the equivalent of a decision saying that you have to get permission to cover a song AT ALL, even if you're just going to play Stairway to Heaven on a beat-up guitar to impress your girlfriend in the privacy of your own home.
 
2014-05-10 05:14:29 PM
I'm not really a fan of Oracle....or SAP for that matter, but this could be a problem for Google. Unless of course they choose a hostile takeover of Oracle.

www.blogcdn.com

/Image was not verified nor were the UFOs
 
2014-05-10 05:16:11 PM

sendtodave: yukichigai: This is more like covering a song.

Which, afaik, requires permission for commercial use.  Pretty sure a cover is illegal if the song is song commercially, and/or negatively impacts the owner of the original.


Covering a song requires paying the song writer. You almost never cover a song without buying the sheet music for that song, especially if you are going to cover it commercially.
 
2014-05-10 05:17:30 PM
This decision is basically saying that you can't produce a musical instrument that uses normal notes because Bach has the copyright to modern tuning. As long as you use a totally different scale though you're fine. Your orchestra will sound a bit funny, mind you.
 
2014-05-10 05:18:41 PM
I like to google on everything.
 
2014-05-10 05:21:59 PM

ChubbyTiger: This decision is basically saying that you can't produce a musical instrument that uses normal notes because Bach has the copyright to modern tuning. As long as you use a totally different scale though you're fine. Your orchestra will sound a bit funny, mind you.


Pentatonic vs. Phrygian?
 
2014-05-10 05:25:24 PM

ChubbyTiger: This decision is basically saying that you can't produce a musical instrument that uses normal notes because Bach has the copyright to modern tuning. As long as you use a totally different scale though you're fine. Your orchestra will sound a bit funny, mind you.


Without the actual decision laid out, I'm hesitant to take the word of the reporter alone on this. This isn't just for tech news, mind you, but for all lay legal reporting. What they THINK happened and what was actually decided might be very different things. I don't know whether or not the court spoke about APIs in the decision or in their dicta, and I'm not sure the article would know the difference anyway.

Good legal reporting is, sadly, something that is almost entirely lacking in the media. It's as bad as science reporting, sometimes worse. Even SCOTUSBlog gets lazy and doesn't say who voted which way and posts cropped synopses of cases.
 
2014-05-10 05:29:13 PM

MindStalker: sendtodave: yukichigai: This is more like covering a song.

Which, afaik, requires permission for commercial use.  Pretty sure a cover is illegal if the song is song commercially, and/or negatively impacts the owner of the original.

Covering a song requires paying the song writer. You almost never cover a song without buying the sheet music for that song, especially if you are going to cover it commercially.


In this case, Oracle was giving out the "sheet music" (the API) for free.  Then they got butthurt when someone used it to make music.
 
2014-05-10 05:48:22 PM

yukichigai: MindStalker: sendtodave: yukichigai: This is more like covering a song.

Which, afaik, requires permission for commercial use.  Pretty sure a cover is illegal if the song is song commercially, and/or negatively impacts the owner of the original.

Covering a song requires paying the song writer. You almost never cover a song without buying the sheet music for that song, especially if you are going to cover it commercially.

In this case, Oracle was giving out the "sheet music" (the API) for free.  Then they got butthurt when someone used it to make music.


While most Android applications are written in Java, there are many differences between the Java API and the Android API, and Android does not use a Java Virtual Machine but another one called Dalvik.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Java_and_Android_API
 
2014-05-10 06:24:50 PM

Researcher: ChubbyTiger: This decision is basically saying that you can't produce a musical instrument that uses normal notes because Bach has the copyright to modern tuning. As long as you use a totally different scale though you're fine. Your orchestra will sound a bit funny, mind you.

Without the actual decision laid out, I'm hesitant to take the word of the reporter alone on this. This isn't just for tech news, mind you, but for all lay legal reporting. What they THINK happened and what was actually decided might be very different things. I don't know whether or not the court spoke about APIs in the decision or in their dicta, and I'm not sure the article would know the difference anyway.

Good legal reporting is, sadly, something that is almost entirely lacking in the media. It's as bad as science reporting, sometimes worse. Even SCOTUSBlog gets lazy and doesn't say who voted which way and posts cropped synopses of cases.


You do have a point. However, the decision was that the APIs were copyrightable, regardless reasoning. If they are, it is my understanding (perhaps a limited one) that it's going to be a serious problem. Perhaps the district court will work around the issue by invoking fair use, but that has its own problems.
 
2014-05-10 06:35:08 PM
It's hard to be invested in these situations when it's Mega-Corporation A against Mega-Corporation B, both with a history of cannibalizing the actual creators of products or services.
 
2014-05-10 07:07:55 PM

sendtodave: If you asked a software developer about this, he will probably tell you the cloning is fine as long as you don't just cut and paste the source code.

If I copy someone's ideas, and pass them off as my own, it's not plagiarism as long as I don't copy their exact words?

After all, many important pieces of open source software are clones of something else, including the Linux operating system

Free software is socialism.

Also, computer programmers are smelly weirdos.


Take that back. I had my monthly bath just last week!
 
2014-05-10 07:25:59 PM
Well, what would Google do if they were forced to remove Java?
 
2014-05-10 07:29:38 PM

Marine1: Well, what would Google do if they were forced to remove Java?


Use Python?
 
2014-05-10 07:37:57 PM

skeevy420: Marine1: Well, what would Google do if they were forced to remove Java?

Use Python?


Isn't that the answer to everything?
 
2014-05-10 07:38:42 PM

sendtodave: skeevy420: Marine1: Well, what would Google do if they were forced to remove Java?

Use Python?

Isn't that the answer to everything?


Not when you want to actually, you know, process data.
 
2014-05-10 07:42:09 PM

Irving Maimway: ZAZ: But they could still win on fair use; reverse engineering falls under fair use rather than copyrightability.

And that's what they did. We've already established there's no Oracle (or really, let's be honest, Sun) code in Dalvik or ART. The Java APIs were reverse engineered for the JVM used in Android. This fundamentally ignorant ruling basically destroys reverse engineering APIs, which means Compaq should have been sued over creating the first non IBM BIOS, Samaba is illegal, not to mention a host of other open source projects.

These judges got the facts horribly wrong.


Yep. It's going to be amazing to watch as lawyers pounce on this decision - the ripple effect alone could be devastating. Never mind the incipient death of the open source movement - if you wrote an OS emulator, you potentially violated the copyrights of the API for the original OS. Even third-party test harnesses, designed to emulate, say, a device with an embedded API for test purposes, could be construed as violating the copyrights of the original API.

There isn't enough popcorn in my state for this one...
 
2014-05-10 07:48:11 PM

uttertosh: sendtodave: Also, computer programmers are smelly weirdos.

that, however, is sexist. I know tons (ok, some) chick programmers that smell just fine.


You say that like "a few programmers" and "tons of programmers" are mutually exclusive concepts.

"I met a ton of girls at Comic-Con" and "I met four girls at Comic-Con" can be simultaneously true.
 
2014-05-10 07:51:31 PM
Every legal judgment that affects the tech world comes with an overdose of hyperbole.

This is exactly how Hitler got started.
 
2014-05-10 08:04:19 PM

sendtodave: If you asked a software developer about this, he will probably tell you the cloning is fine as long as you don't just cut and paste the source code.

If I copy someone's ideas, and pass them off as my own, it's not plagiarism as long as I don't copy their exact words?

After all, many important pieces of open source software are clones of something else, including the Linux operating system

Free software is socialism.

Also, computer programmers are smelly weirdos.


Plagiarism is when you take credit for what someone else did.

clone coding teams generally don't claim to have created the API/ABI specs and the like, they only claim their own implementations which they did do the heavy lifting on. Therefore not plagiarism
 
2014-05-10 08:09:07 PM

Lanadapter: sendtodave: If you asked a software developer about this, he will probably tell you the cloning is fine as long as you don't just cut and paste the source code.

If I copy someone's ideas, and pass them off as my own, it's not plagiarism as long as I don't copy their exact words?

After all, many important pieces of open source software are clones of something else, including the Linux operating system

Free software is socialism.

Also, computer programmers are smelly weirdos.

Plagiarism is when you take credit for what someone else did.

clone coding teams generally don't claim to have created the API/ABI specs and the like, they only claim their own implementations which they did do the heavy lifting on. Therefore not plagiarism


Fair enough.  What's it called when you make money by copying something that someone else did, and they don't want you to?
 
2014-05-10 08:36:10 PM
OK, I'm not a legal eagle, but if we take the reporter's word on the import of this ruling, there are some things that are worth commenting on.

1) As I understand it, copyrights are meant to protect creative expression.

2) Some well-written APIs are obviously creative works that would be deserving of copyright. On a fundamental level, creating a good API requires identifying really crucial and potentially non-obvious abstractions that encompass a wide range of behaviors. Think of something like distributed computing- there are some very obvious abstractions that you're going to need, like opening a network connection to another computer, but there are some pretty clever non-obvious abstractions, like MapReduce.

3) Some APIs are pretty obviously not creative works. When most people think of an API, they think of things like OS APIs for file manipulation. Too obvious to be copyrighted.

4) Regardless of copyrightability, APIs are a fundamental computer-science concept that allow usability and interoperability. Copyrighting of APIs would no doubt have a chilling effect on the tech industry.
 
2014-05-10 08:44:36 PM

Fubini: Copyrighting of APIs would no doubt have a chilling effect on the tech industry.


That's OK.   We don't really need any more innovation for another decade or so.   We're good.

See, innovation is only good when everyone doesn't already have all their money in the big guys.

What's more important here is which big guy to pick?
 
2014-05-10 08:54:49 PM

flucto: Eh, Linux was only a fad anyway. So was literature, music, TV, recipes, ....


Sarcasm detected & I agree.
But I wouldn't place Linux in those categories. More in the category of electricity and plumbing and infrastructure. Things that people rely on daily which most of them don't think about.

/not a linux zealot, barely know how to use it
 
2014-05-10 09:02:18 PM
Okay, if I write a book in a strange language that happens to be elvish or Klingon or some other established fictional language created within the scope of modern copyright, but I don't say that I've used said language, have I appropriated their content or have I strung together letters in a fashion that may or may not resemble prior books?
 
2014-05-10 09:14:09 PM

wildcardjack: Okay, if I write a book in a strange language that happens to be elvish or Klingon or some other established fictional language created within the scope of modern copyright, but I don't say that I've used said language, have I appropriated their content or have I strung together letters in a fashion that may or may not resemble prior books?


That... is actually a good question.

If I were a modern Tolkien, and created a fictional language to go with my fictional places and people, do I own that?

I don't think you could just use Middle Earth, or the wizard Gandalf, without infringing on my creative property.  Why should you be able to use Elvish?
 
2014-05-10 09:20:46 PM
I don't understand subby's headline. I saw nothing in TFA that seemed to indicate onions strapped to belts, yelling at clouds or getting off their lawn, but that seems to be the vibe of the article.
 
2014-05-10 09:46:36 PM

sendtodave: Lanadapter: sendtodave: If you asked a software developer about this, he will probably tell you the cloning is fine as long as you don't just cut and paste the source code.

If I copy someone's ideas, and pass them off as my own, it's not plagiarism as long as I don't copy their exact words?

After all, many important pieces of open source software are clones of something else, including the Linux operating system

Free software is socialism.

Also, computer programmers are smelly weirdos.

Plagiarism is when you take credit for what someone else did.

clone coding teams generally don't claim to have created the API/ABI specs and the like, they only claim their own implementations which they did do the heavy lifting on. Therefore not plagiarism

Fair enough.  What's it called when you make money by copying something that someone else did, and they don't want you to?


Not understanding how software works.
 
2014-05-10 09:48:14 PM

Fenstery: But in industries the plot (their analogy of the API) seems to be very protected.

Didn't gerrold win some case or settle because the basic idea of terminator was the same as one of his stories? (Although every detail was different?)


Harlan Ellison. Because evidently he owns the idea of a time-traveling robot.
 
2014-05-10 09:58:53 PM

Tyrone Slothrop: sendtodave: Lanadapter: sendtodave: If you asked a software developer about this, he will probably tell you the cloning is fine as long as you don't just cut and paste the source code.

If I copy someone's ideas, and pass them off as my own, it's not plagiarism as long as I don't copy their exact words?

After all, many important pieces of open source software are clones of something else, including the Linux operating system

Free software is socialism.

Also, computer programmers are smelly weirdos.

Plagiarism is when you take credit for what someone else did.

clone coding teams generally don't claim to have created the API/ABI specs and the like, they only claim their own implementations which they did do the heavy lifting on. Therefore not plagiarism

Fair enough.  What's it called when you make money by copying something that someone else did, and they don't want you to?

Not understanding how software works.


Software doesn't have to work by copying.  Make a new language, use that.  Oh, that's too difficult?

Pay royalties for using someone else's language, then, if the cost outweighs the cost of building from scratch.  Kinda like how everything other than software works.
 
2014-05-10 10:13:30 PM
Is there an argument that I'm not seeing here that makes programming languages intrinsically different than other IP?

I mean, we can agure about the value of IP, but is there something that makes copying the form and function of a program different than, say, tennis shoes?  Why should the "concept" of a piece of software be treated differently than the concept of a shoe design?

We don't like it when the Chinese knock off our shoes.

Note:  "It's useful!  Innovation!" doesn't count.
 
2014-05-10 10:17:51 PM

sendtodave: Is there an argument that I'm not seeing here that makes programming languages intrinsically different than other IP?

I mean, we can agure about the value of IP, but is there something that makes copying the form and function of a program different than, say, tennis shoes?  Why should the "concept" of a piece of software be treated differently than the concept of a shoe design?

We don't like it when the Chinese knock off our shoes.

Note:  "It's useful!  Innovation!" doesn't count.


The express purpose of a programing language is to create.  The language is the vehicle, not the product.  To patent a language would be equivalent to patenting an element.  I'm by no means an expert, but I'd imagine there's some kind of commonwealth or public domain type barrier to patenting the building blocks of an entire (digital) ecosystem.
 
2014-05-10 10:18:54 PM

Go Fornicate Without a Partner: sendtodave: Is there an argument that I'm not seeing here that makes programming languages intrinsically different than other IP?

I mean, we can agure about the value of IP, but is there something that makes copying the form and function of a program different than, say, tennis shoes?  Why should the "concept" of a piece of software be treated differently than the concept of a shoe design?

We don't like it when the Chinese knock off our shoes.

Note:  "It's useful!  Innovation!" doesn't count.

The express purpose of a programing language is to create.  The language is the vehicle, not the product.  To patent a language would be equivalent to patenting an element.  I'm by no means an expert, but I'd imagine there's some kind of commonwealth or public domain type barrier to patenting the building blocks of an entire (digital) ecosystem.


But then again, Monsanto.
 
2014-05-10 10:21:26 PM

Go Fornicate Without a Partner: sendtodave: Is there an argument that I'm not seeing here that makes programming languages intrinsically different than other IP?

I mean, we can agure about the value of IP, but is there something that makes copying the form and function of a program different than, say, tennis shoes?  Why should the "concept" of a piece of software be treated differently than the concept of a shoe design?

We don't like it when the Chinese knock off our shoes.

Note:  "It's useful!  Innovation!" doesn't count.

The express purpose of a programing language is to create.  The language is the vehicle, not the product.  To patent a language would be equivalent to patenting an element.  I'm by no means an expert, but I'd imagine there's some kind of commonwealth or public domain type barrier to patenting the building blocks of an entire (digital) ecosystem.


Yes, but it's designed to create with the purpose to make money.

If google was using a completely made up open soure language, where all the creators had said "yeah, use it, I don't want money,"  this whole situation wouldn't exist.

But Oracle is saying "We own Java.  We created it, we sell it, it is our product, and you copied it to sell yourself."

...  So, do they not own Java?
 
2014-05-10 10:22:41 PM

Go Fornicate Without a Partner: sendtodave:  Note:  "It's useful!  Innovation!" doesn't count.

The express purpose of a programing language is to create.


Also, that's just another way to say "they can't own it because others use it to innovate and create stuff."
 
2014-05-10 10:44:16 PM

uttertosh: Sorry, but Android is not an iOS clone. Nope.

No cloning to see here.

/Nope


Even if it is, and I'm not saying that it is, look at the advances it has lead to.
 
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