Posted on 06-02-2013
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently filed a a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, urging the court to block copyright claims in the Oracle v. Google legal battle. The EFF approached me several months ago to provide feedback for the brief. I sent over my research and published some of my thoughts to Help EFF Make Case For No Copryight on APIs and why API Copyright Would Restrict API Interoperability and also lent my support as one of the Signatories to the Computer Scientists’ Amicus Brief.
Here is a summarized version of the arguement:
As computer scientists, amici have relied on the open nature of APIs and the programs built on them to create and operate new software. Amici depend on APIs remaining open to sustain wide spreads compatibility standards used by startups and incumbents alike. Reversing the District Court would dangerously undermine the settled expectations of computer scientists who rely on the open nature of APis.
- Uncopyrightable interfaces were essential to the development of modern computers and the Internet
- The BIOS of the Original IBM-Compatible PC
- Major modern operating system reimplement the ground break UNIX API
- The C programming language became universal because of its uncopyrightable interface
- Computers rely on the uncopyrightable nature of APIs and network protocols to communicate over the Internet
- The uncopyrightable nature of APIs for the industry standards for cloud computing
- Uncopyrightable interfaces spur the creation of software that otherwise would not be written
- Uncopyrightable interfaces allow software that makes different systems compatible
- Uncopyrightable interfaces help programmers develop completely new capabilities for software
- Copyright in interfaces would creat an "orphan software" problem
- Uncopyrightable interfaces protect both developers and users
- The orphan software problem disproportionately affects the public sector
The freedom to reimplement and extend existing aPIs has undoubtedly led to robust software and hardware industries, but also to an explosion of technological advances that do more than merely increase companies' bottom line. They open the world for the sharing of information, increased communication, and technological advances that could never have been contemplated.
You can read the full brief that was filed over at EFF. Keeping APIs open, and free from copyright is something I am passionate about and feel very strongly that it is critical to a healthy, vibrant online economy.
I'm confident that the Judge will throw out Oracle's case, but I do no think this is the last time we'll see a company step up and try to apply copyright to APIs.
I'm very thankful for the EFF and the other computer scientists who researched and supported the brief.
comments powered by Disqus
Winning in the API Economy
|Download as PDF|
Latest Blog Posts
- My Discussion Today With 6 Hypermedia Leaders At API-Craft in Detroit
- Getting To Know Jørn Wildt For The API Craft 2014 Detroit Hypermedia Panel
- Hypermedia Feels Like We Are Still Learning To Communicate With APIs
- Getting To Know Markus Lanthaler For The API Craft 2014 Detroit Hypermedia Panel
- Getting To Know Kevin Swiber For The API Craft 2014 Detroit Hypermedia Panel
- Getting To Know Steve Klabnik For The API Craft 2014 Detroit Hypermedia Panel
- New Indix API KickStart Program Reduces Costs For Developers
- Getting To Know Mike Kelly For The API Craft 2014 Detroit Hypermedia Panel
- A Shared, Distributed Experience(Metrics) Layer For The API Driven Application Stack
- Showcasing Your API Integrations With Other Platforms
- Increasing The Focus On APIs In Higher Education Is Important
- Getting To Know Mike Amundsen For The API Craft 2014 Detroit Hypermedia Panel
- The New StrongLoop API Server Provides A Look At Future Of API Deployment
- Models For API Driven Startups Built Around Public Data
- Will You Add Me To API Evangelist And How To Spot The Cool Kids
- When I Remix APIs Using Swagger How Do I Deal With Authentication Across Multiple APIs
- It Takes A Team Of Evangelists To Raise An API
- Support For Only Two Creative Commons Licenses In The API Commons
- Machine Readable Terms of Service Didn't Read Applied To APIs Via APIs.json
- API Deployment For Non-Developers Using Zapier, Google Docs, and APISpark
- State of Hypermedia Today @ API Craft In Detroit
- Need A Formal API Standard For Your Government Agency? Fork 18F's, And Make It Your Own!
- CORS Makes Your API Portable And Remix-able
- Chief Data Officer Needs To Make The Department Of Commerce Developer Portal The Center Of API Economy
- An API Definition As The Truth In The API Contract