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

Bruce Perens bruce at perens.com
Sat Jun 29 22:38:40 UTC 2019

Improved enforcement of Open Source licenses is no benefit if it locks us
out of participation in the rest of the world and makes Open Source an
island. Consider that APIs also include interfaces made available to web
browsers, etc.

> How is it different from the copyleft in the GPL?

GPL does not in any way restrict independent implementation of an API. In
contrast, an enforceable copyright on an API is patent-like in its effect,
without the limited term of patents.



On Sat, Jun 29, 2019 at 3:34 PM Pamela Chestek <pamela at chesteklegal.com>

> On 6/28/19 11:40 PM, Bruce Perens via License-discuss wrote:
> > 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.
> But it also is equally good for open source software because the
> copyleft effect would have greater reach and, in theory, it would result
> in more open source software. That was the design intention of CAL, as I
> read it. How is it different from the copyleft in the GPL? Why is one ok
> but the other not? How do you know where the line is?
> Pam
> Pamela S. Chestek
> Chestek Legal
> PO Box 2492
> Raleigh, NC 27602
> +1 919-800-8033
> pamela at chesteklegal.com
> www.chesteklegal.com
> _______________________________________________
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Bruce Perens - Partner, OSS.Capital.
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