[FoRK] Don't go to the Oracle for truth

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Fri Jun 1 01:06:42 PDT 2012

Or scalable databases for that matter.

Oracle has been flattened by Google and the judge.  This all seems so obvious, but now it is official, and seems to be the 
opinion of a very savvy judge.  Finally.

>   Judge hands another win to Google; rules 37 APIs not copyrightable
> By Rachel King <http://www.zdnet.com/search?q=rachel+king> | May 31, 2012, 2:00pm PDT
> Summary: In a ruling in the Oracle vs. Google case, a district court judge says 37 of Oracle’s APIs are not copyrightable.
> The structure, sequence and organization of the 37 Java APIs at question in *Oracle v. Google* are not copyrightable, 
> according to Judge William Alsup in his ruling on Thursday afternoon.
> However, it’s a narrow ruling that only covers the APIs at question in the copyright phase of this case.
> Oracle had sued Google over copyright infringement related to the use of 37 Java APIs used on the Android mobile operating 
> system. Google argued they were free to use because the Java programming language is free to use, and the APIs are required to 
> use the language. Oracle tried to make the case that Google had knowingly used the APIs without a license from Sun 
> Microsystems, which was bought by Oracle in 2010.
> In what was once touted as a $6 billion case 
> <http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/us-judge-scolds-oracle-and-google-at-android-ip-hearing/52975>, it now looks like Oracle is 
> going to end up with not much more than a hefty legal bill. Last week, the jury ruled that Google was not guilty of patent 
> infringement <http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/jury-clears-google-of-infringing-on-oracle-patents/77897> on both counts related 
> to U.S. Patent Nos. RE38,104 
> <http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=RE38,104.PN.&OS=PN/RE38,104&RS=PN/RE38,104> 
> and 6,061,520 
> <http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect2=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/search-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&d=PALL&RefSrch=yes&Query=PN/6061520>. 
> Yesterday, Alsup rejected Oracle’s motion to overturn 
> <http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/judge-denies-oracles-motion-to-overturn-patent-ruling/78675> the jury’s verdict.
> That’s after the jury came back with a partial verdict in the copyrights phase 
> <http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/oracle-wins-on-infringement-jury-stuck-on-googles-fair-use-argument/75810> of the trial a few 
> weeks ago in which the then-12 jurors said that Google had infringed upon Oracle’s copyrights — but they could not come up 
> with a unanimous answer <http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/oracle-google-jury-close-to-verdict-impasse-on-one-question/76257> on 
> the question of fair use.
> However, now Alsup has handed another win to Google by ruling that the 37 APIs weren’t copyrightable in the first place. Here 
> is the heart of the ruling:
>     So long as the specific code used to implement a method is different, anyone is free under the Copyright Act to write his
>     or her own code to carry out exactly the same function or  specification of any methods used in the Java API. It does not
>     matter that the declaration or method header lines are identical.
>     Under the rules of Java, they must be identical to declare a method specifying the same functionality — even when the
>     implementation is different. When there is only one way to express an idea or function, then everyone is free to do so and
>     no one can monopolize that  expression. And, while the Android method and class names could have been different from the
>     names of their counterparts in Java and still have worked, copyright protection never extends to names or short phrases as
>     a matter of law.
>             Reading the Opinion <http://www.zdnet.com/tb/1-121185-2421784>
> DannyO_0x98 Updated - 8 hrs ago
> I thought the opinion was very well argued. Of course, this means I agree with the ruling.
> If it was TLDR, here's a summary. No case law was exactly on point. The cases Oracle cited were old and case law had moved 
> away those interpretations. By law, names are not copyrighted. The Packages, Classes, Methods and signatures represent an 
> unprotected by law control structure and not a protectable taxonomy. Indeed, something like "public static int max(int i1, int 
> i2)" may be thought of a a header, which cannot be protected. Sony v. Connectix, though "not on all fours" provides the useful 
> test whether implementing source was copied? Connectix did not, so it prevailed, and Google, here, is seen as similarly 
> non-infringing.
> The opinion does not decide general questions, but finds that Google argument that its actions were non-infringing prevails 
> with regards to the facts of this case and the case law of the 9th Circuit.
> An observation I'd like to make is that it is accepted law that header files are not copyrightable. Java does not have header 
> files, preferring for efficiency that there be a single file to define an interface and implementation, unlike, say, C++. 
> Oracle's post-decision comment seems to suggest that they hold onto that loophole as their last hope, when in fact, I think 
> the Judge is spot on by describing what Google copied as exactly the information found in a header file. It also rates 
> interoperable as a more important factor than what I think the opinion does.
>   * Reply <http://www.zdnet.com/tb/1-121185-2421784/reply>
>   * Flag <http://www.zdnet.com/tb/1-121185-2421784/report>
> 2
> + <http://www.zdnet.com/util/tb/vote> - <http://www.zdnet.com/util/tb/vote>
>             Judge Alsup is an oracle <http://www.zdnet.com/tb/1-121185-2421818>
> BorgX 6 hrs ago
> I find it quite interesting that Oracle's response is contained within the ruling. That Oracle's cry of fragmentation and 
> partial interoperability give weight to Google's argument and the now established fact of the case that the Java API is 
> functional and a command structure which by 102b is uncopyrightable. I'm nicely surprised at how broad of a ruling this is. It 
> basically states that any API used by more than one developer (or company) is uncopyrightable. (Of course it can only rule on 
> facts presented, but such sweeping declarations as all the world is free to call on or implement the Java APIs and the solid 
> foundation of the order will make it easy to make legal arguments about any other API.)

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