[License-discuss] [License-review] Copyright on APIs

Pamela Chestek pamela at chesteklegal.com
Sat Jun 29 13:07:14 UTC 2019

On 6/28/19 11:40 PM, Bruce Perens via License-discuss wrote:
>     /Until now, the principle of copyleft has only been applied to
>     literal code, not APIs. The license submitter’s proposal is for a
>     copyleft effect that would apply to new implementations of the API
>     even when the underlying has been written from
>     scratch. http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2019-April/004056.html
>     <http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-review_lists.opensource.org/2019-April/004056.html>.
>     The license also makes this extension even if the legal system
>     would not extend copyright (and therefore copyleft) so far. During
>     the license-review process some commentators objected to this
>     extension of the copyleft principle this far. However,
>     the license review committee does not believe that there was
>     sufficient discussion representing all points of view on
>     the license-review list and so does not reject the license for
>     this reason. The license submitter should also be aware that the
>     OSI was a signatory on a brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court
>     advocating against the copyrightability of APIs. APIs are also
>     known to be outside the scope of copyright under European law. We
>     are consequently uncomfortable endorsing an application of
>     copyright law to APIs in any form without further discussion./
> The successful application of copyright to APIs would be a disaster
> for Open Source software, in that we would no longer be able to create
> Open versions of existing APIs or languages. Consider that the GNU C
> compiler is the bootstrap tool of Open Source. Now, consider what
> would have happened if copyright protection had prevented independent
> implementations of the C language.
> So, it's a bad idea for us to in any way accept the application of API
> copyright today.
> If we actually /get /API copyrights enforced against us broadly, we
> would obviously have to change our strategy. But until then, we
> shouldn't go there.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.opensource.org/pipermail/license-discuss_lists.opensource.org/attachments/20190629/658a97e5/attachment.html>

More information about the License-discuss mailing list