Reply to post: Brushing up

IBM, Microsoft, a medley of others sing support for Google against Oracle in Supremes' Java API copyright case

sbt Silver badge

Brushing up

The precedent you cite concern a case where people held a yoga session following the steps in a published book. The plantiff sued not on the basis that the book was copied (the expression) but the steps (the idea(s)). The plaintiff appealed that the sequence was worthy of copyright. But as the instructors were not copying it, but using the sequence, the appeal failed. This is good law, but not at all applicable to Google's having *copied* the Java API. It's more akin to trying to assert copyright on an algorithm like quicksort.

It was conceded at trial that java.lang, java.io, and java.util were essential to the JAVA language. The example chosen is poor in that respect, but it only favours Google's use of those three "core" packages, assuming a "fair use" defence can then be made out, noting again that interoperability is not a "fair use" defence. An illustrative sample making the same point could easily have been drawn from any of the other 34 copied. In any event, Google did not attempt to shift focus to the three.

I think O'Malley was pretty careful to frame their appellate rulings according to the 9th's precedents. I doubt things will get overturned on the basis of some incompetence on the judge's part.

Congress could make compatibility/interoperability a fair use defence. It might clear things up a bit more than the Supreme Court ruling for either party will in this particular case, except it would be helpful to resolve the inconsistencies between the circuits on copyrightability and fair use defences.

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