Legally speaking copyrightability of Java APIs revisited
- Author(s): Samuelson, P
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1145/2723669
A recent case between Oracle v.Google challenges the long-standing view that application program interfaces are not protectable under copyright law. Java has achieved considerable success, which is why Google wanted to use Java APIs in its software platform for mobile devices. Google entered into negotiations with Sun about licensing rights in Java, which shows it knew it needed a license. When these negotiations failed, Google went ahead and copied 37 of the Java APIs anyway in the Android platform for mobile devices. Shortly after acquiring Sun and its assets, Oracle sued Google for copyright infringement. The Court of Appeals of the Federal Circuit (CAFC) opined that Google's arguments about compatibility might be relevant to its fair use defense to Oracle's claim of infringement, but not to whether the Java APIs were protectable by copyright law.