White House sides with Oracle, tells Supreme Court APIs are copyrightable

This is, to put it mildly, a disaster for anyone who does programming

The Justice Department is weighing in on the hot-button intellectual property dispute between Google and Oracle, telling the Supreme Court that APIs are protected by copyright.

The Obama administration’s position means it is siding with Oracle and a federal appeals court that said application programming interfaces are subject to copyright protections. The high court in January asked for the government’s views on the closely watched case.

The dispute centers on Google copying names, declarations, and header lines of the Java APIs in Android. Oracle filed suit, and in 2012, a San Francisco federal judge sided with Google. The judge ruled that the code in question could not be copyrighted. Oracle prevailed on appeal, however. A federal appeals court ruled that the “declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the API packages are entitled to copyright protection.”

Google maintained that the code at issue is not entitled to copyright protection because it constitutes a “method of operation” or “system” that allows programs to communicate with one another.

Link (Ars Technica)

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