March 2021 - Open Business #2

By anniv, 5 April, 2021

For over 10 years, Oracle has claimed that Google infringed its copyright when it copied the Java API to build Android. After a sequence of decisions along the decade, each time favoring one company over the other, finally the U.S. Supreme Court has concluded that "Google's copying of the API to reimplement a user interface, taking only what was needed to allow users to put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program, constituted a fair use of that material."

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/18-956_d18f.pdf

This decision by the Supreme Court is important because it distinguishes declarative code (APIs) and functional code (the actual implementation). It provides legal certainty around the fair use and reimplementation of APIs, a common practice in the software industry, and key for interoperability, open standards, and open source.

Organizations that filed Amicus Brief in the Supreme Court's Google v. Oracle include Creative Commons, Mozilla Foundation, Open Source Initiative, Software Freedom Conservancy, and Wikimedia Foundation.

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