Copiare le API e’ fair use.

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Source : The Verge

Supreme Court sides with Google in Oracle’s API copyright case

The ruling overturns a federal circuit decision favoring Oracle

In a ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court found that Google could legally use elements of Oracle’s Java application programming interface (API) code when building Android.

“Google’s copying of the API to reimplement a user interface, taking only what was needed to allow users to put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program, constituted a fair use of that material,” the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-2 opinion, with one justice (Amy Coney Barrett) not taking part in the ruling. It overturned an earlier federal decision, which found that Google’s use of the API had constituted infringement.
"“Google’s copying of the API…constituted a fair use of that material”"

The court’s opinion concludes that APIs — which let programmers access other code — are significantly different from other kinds of computer programs. “As part of an interface, the copied lines are inherently bound together with uncopyrightable ideas … and the creation of new creative expression,” Justice Stephen Breyer writes in his opinion. Unlike many other computer programs, Breyer wrote, much of the copied lines’ value came from developers being invested in the ecosystem, rather than the actual operations of the program. Google used the API to let Java programmers build Android apps, which the court declared is a fundamentally transformative use.

“Google copied only what was needed to allow programmers to work in a different computing environment without discarding a portion of a familiar programming language. Google’s purpose was to create a different task-related system for a different computing environment (smartphones) and to create a platform — the Android platform — that would help achieve and popularize that objective.”

The decision is meant to be specifically focused on APIs as a category. “We do not overturn or modify our earlier cases involving fair use — cases, for example, that involve “knockoff” products, journalistic writings, and parodies,” writes Breyer. The ruling hinges largely on the ways that API code enables new creative expression, something fair use doctrine is supposed to promote. “The upshot, in our view, is that fair use can play an important role in determining the lawful scope of a computer program copyright.”

In the dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas argued the court was creating an untenable distinction between implementing code (which was established as subject to copyright in a previous ruling) and declaring it.

“Congress rejected categorical distinctions between declaring and implementing code,” Thomas wrote. “But the majority creates just such a distinction. The result of this distorting analysis is an opinion that makes it difficult to imagine any circumstance in which declaring code will remain protected by copyright.”

Continua qui Supreme Court sides with Google in Oracle’s API copyright case – The Verge.