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Computer scientists say copyright on APIs will stifle innovation

John Ribeiro | Nov. 11, 2014
Computer scientists have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse an appeals court decision that Java APIs, the specifications that let programs communicate with each other, are copyrightable.

The computer scientists agree with Judge Alsup's order that an API is a 'system or method of operation,' which cannot be copyrighted under Section 102(b) of the Copyright Act. "In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work," according to section 102 (b).

Oracle could not be immediately reached for comment.


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