Update #5: To Copyright APIs, or Not to Copyright, That is the Question

Don Miller

In a previous post about the long running Oracle vs. Google case, we noted that “Oracle has a federal appeals court precedent on its side, which it can use as a sword against all other Java API users who Oracle believes may be violating its copyrights.  So, unless and until another court decides otherwise, the IT community should be aware that Oracle may be on the hunt for violators.”

This development creates a dilemma for software developers and users alike.  They all have to decide whether to avoid any APIs not specifically licensed as “open,” get a license or permission to use them, or use them without license/permission and risk ending up in court.

I want to let MFT Nation readers know that a resource exists which may help if anyone is faced with making such a difficult decision.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”), a nonprofit advocacy group, made a blog-based request to be notified if anyone is sued over an API copyright violation, or are “pressured to take a license to use an API because of Oracle v. Google.”  Armed with such information, EFF hopes to find ways to “push back.”

It will be interesting to see how many new cases we get involving APIs.  Stay tuned to MFT Nation to get updates on developments with respect to this and other related issues.  Or you can subscribe to bTrade’s MFT Nation blog to get an automatic feed of the latest updates.