copyrightable APIs? (was RE: namespace protection compatiblewit

Angelo Schneider angelo.schneider at
Sun Apr 22 17:09:27 UTC 2001

phil hunt wrote:
> On Fri, 20 Apr 2001, Angelo Schneider wrote:
> > Hi!
> >
> > In Europe APIs are not "copyright able".
> > No idea about the US.
> >
> > However if you publich them in a book, the book of course is
> > copyrighted.
> > However you can not prevent anyone to write a software against a given
> > API.
> > Same is true for data formats. (In Europe dataformats e.g. a flat file
> > format for a word processor are not copyright able)
> This will change under the new EU copyright law, where it will be illegal
> to decrypt any encrypted file format (e.g. DVD) without the copyright
> holder's permission.

Thats a misunderstanding.

Just for simplicity lets talk about MS Word.
The file format is proprietary.

I do not know it. However I'm free to analyze Word files and discover
I'm free to write Word files after I have discovered how they look like.

Now you have two possibilities:
Encrypt the whole word file -> decryption is illegal if the decrypter
has to asume the file contains private data(right of private speech is

Encrypt the content of the file BEFORE you write it in Word format (e.g.
by keeping the paragraph structure and encrypting each paragraph) ->
decryption is covered by the new law and considered illegal (the law has
not passed the houses so far).

Both points don't touch the fact that the API or the format it self is
not copyrightable, how should one be able to WRITE a DVD then?


Angelo Schneider         OOAD/UML         Angelo.Schneider at
Putlitzstr. 24       Patterns/FrameWorks          Fon: +49 721 9812465
76137 Karlsruhe           C++/JAVA                Fax: +49 721 9812467

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