copyrightable APIs? (was RE: namespace protection compa
chloehoffman at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 20 19:32:24 UTC 2001
>From: "Forrest J Cavalier III" Reply-To: forrest at mibsoftware.com To:
>license-discuss at opensource.org CC: forrest at mibsoftware.com Subject: Re:
>copyrightable APIs? (was RE: namespace protection compa Date: Fri, 20 Apr
>2001 15:05:12 -0400
>"Chloe Hoffman" wrote
> > pages.
I think the real question is not whether an API is copyrightable
> > but how an API is infringed and what is a derivative work of an > API.
>You admit that some parts of the API would not qualify as original.
I don't believe that's what I said. I believe I said, with respect to U.S.
law, that some parts may not qualify - just like some parts of any other
work may not qualify - for copyright protection according to certain
>Infringement would therefore depend on what portions of the API are
>"original enough" to qualify under copyright law.
Just like any other work.
>These APIs get published so that they can be used.
To me that's not a statement against copyrightability - rather an issue of
>Once the software is written that provides the API, it becomes a physical
>object which can be studied.
Just as once a story is written or a house is built. It does not necessarily
mean the story or design of the house can be infringed.
>It is pretty hard to argue that the facts of that physical object,
>including the exported interface, can never be expressed without infringing
As I suggested, infringement I think is the nub of the question - not
copyrightability. In my view, there is certainly a significant difference
from an infringement perspective, assuming no express or implied license or
other kind of estoppel, between writing a program accessing an interface and
implementing a set of APIs (such as the Java API) - in my mind the former
being much further away from infringement than the latter.
>(P.S. To Chloe Hoffman: If you must use MIME, can you at least post in
I hope that's fixed. Sorry.
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