Obama Administration Says APIs Should Be Subject to Copyright

Wednesday May 27th 2015 by Developer.com Staff
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The Supreme Court had asked for the government's views on the Oracle v. Google case.

The Obama administration has sided with Oracle in its ongoing copyright dispute with Google. For several years, the two companies have been battling over Google's use of Java's APIs in Android. At issue is whether or not APIs are subject to copyright law. Google says copyright law doesn't apply to APIs; Oracle says it does.

Back in 2012, a federal district court found in Google's favor, but that ruling was overturned by the appeals court last May. Google appealed to the Supreme Court, which asked the Obama administration for its opinion. Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli filed a brief that says APIs are just like any other kind of code and should be copyrightable. On the opposite side, a group of 77 well-known computer scientists previously filed a brief in which they sided with Google.

The ultimate decision in the case could have major implications for the mobile development industry.

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