THE ON-RUNNING saga of Oracle and Google has taken its latest, inevitable twist.
Google has written to the Supreme Court (great bunch of guys, no sex offenders) asking it to rule under what circumstances that code can be copyrighted. It first mooted such a move last summer.
The two companies have been locked in a bitter war of nerves over the issue, after Oracle sued Google for using the APIs of its open source Java code as part of the Android operating system.
Oracle argues that the APIs are copyright, rather than open source, and that Google broke the law. In the last appeal, judges ruled in favour of the mercenary database company, but after a short ceasefire, Google is playing its next card.
In a blog post yesterday, Google's Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker said:
"Standardized software interfaces have driven innovation in software development. They let computer programs interact with each other and let developers easily build technologies for different platforms. Unless the Supreme Court steps in here, the industry will be hamstrung by court decisions finding that the use of software interfaces in creating new programs is not allowed under copyright law."
That's been our worry too. Open source software as we know it, simply can't exist without the APIs that make systems talk to each other. Everything from your Linux operating system to your smart home devices would cease to work if companies insisted on payment for API use.
Hell, it could actually set back the course of progress. It's that big a deal (we think, anyway). After all, if you're a dev, do you really want to go back to writing every format from scratch? Didn't think so.
Oracle has issued a response. Probably from a yacht (no, we admit, we've never been strictly non-partisan on this particular subject - it really p*sses us off, it's megalomania after the fact):
"Google's petition for certiorari presents a rehash of arguments that have already been thoughtfully and thoroughly discredited. The fabricated concern about innovation hides Google's true concern: that it be allowed the unfettered ability to copy the original and valuable work of others for substantial financial gain. In major victories for software innovation, the Court of Appeals has twice sided with Oracle against Google. The Supreme Court should once again deny Google's request to take the case."
The case continues ad nauseum. μ
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