Is inherited class a derivative work?

Michael Beck mbeck1 at
Wed Oct 24 09:45:38 UTC 2001

> -----Original Message-----
> From: angelo.schneider at
> Sent: Monday, October 22, 2001 02:20

> This is german and in most EU countries law.
> For germany "Urheberrechtsgesetz".
> E.g., follow links to "Urheberrechtsgesetz".

Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything specific. If you could point to
something explicitly stating that, I would appreciate it.

Also, if anybody has links to the same in USA, I would appreciate it as well. So
far, I have found a statement from Softel Inc. v. Dragon Medical and Scientific
Communications Inc where, Referring to Feist, the Second Circuit pointed out
that the U.S. Supreme Court had "made quite clear that a compilation of
non-protectable elements can enjoy copyright protection even though its
constituent elements do not."

In Softel Inc. v. Dragon Medica the Second Circuit ruled that the lower court
erroneously considered only the individual design elements of plaintiff Softel's
software program and neglected to consider whether there was non-literal
copying. In other words, the lower court failed to address whether the
architecture of Softel's program, i.e., the overall combination of and
relationship between those individual elements, was a form of expression
entitled to protection.

This could (I am not saying that it does) indicate that API itself could be
copyrighted. That's why I am interested in concrete rulings/cases or other
materials indicating that API is not "copyrightable, not patentable, not

Of course, by using the "fair use" doctrine, you could use API to create an
independent (cleanroom) implementation. That's what seems to be happening with
OpenSource cleanroom implementations of Java API.

However, as indicated in another thread here, Sun in its license indicates that
it has control over changes to the API  by stating that any changes to the API
have to be published. Since nobody challenged it so far, it seems that there
might be something to Sun's claim.


> > > APIs and even data base schemata (what you get after executing a
> > > sequence of SQL create table statements) are explicitly
> noted as: not
> > > copyright able, not patent able, not trademark able.
> >
> > That's interesting. Can you provide any references to it?
> (in English or
> > German). Is it German law, or EU?
> >
> > Thanks,
> >
> > Michael

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