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Comment Re:I'm on oracle's side on this (Score 0) 436

> The API isn't the text, it's an idea that happens to be represented by text

Well, if this was true, google wouldn't have needed to copy-paste the api definitions. Representing the same idea would be possible many different ways. And no copying would be needed.

> Oracle would have had to hold a patent to the Java API,

According to paperwork, they sued google for patent infringement too, those arguments were just rejected by the legal people.

> Should astronomers re-derive general relativity from first principles every time they calculate the orbit of an asteroid, simply because Einstein wrote some words on a page?

Yes, at least for the first 70 years... both patents and copyrights are for limited amount of time. Of course applying the information in new context is still possible, in case you don't need to copy-paste the text exactly like it was written in the original.

Comment Re:I'm on oracle's side on this (Score 2) 436

> But my understanding is that they are duplicating an implementation via black box reverse engineering.

from the paperwork, it didn't sound like black box reverse engineering... Instead they copy-pasted the api definitions and then implemented the missing functions. This requires no reverse engineering activity. It just requires a text editor + some programmers to write new code based on _existing_ api specification. But they had no reason to assume that they are allowed to use that specification.

but if you're reading some other paperwork, maybe i missed the information ;)

Comment Re:I'm on oracle's side on this (Score 1) 436

> You think the government should protect corps from entering each others' markets?

That's why companies apply for patent protections, so that other companies don't immediately conquer your market with significantly bigger resources than you have. Copyrights have similar purpose, authors don't want publishers conquering the market with _copies_ of his own books. It takes several years to write a book, and if other publishers don't need to spend that time to get the same result, it's unfair to the author who did need to spend that time.

Comment Re:I'm on oracle's side on this (Score 0) 436

> Recipes are not copyrightable.

By default, everything you scrible to a piece of paper, or a text file gets copyright protection. What you're describing is simply limited exception. But relying on limited exceptions is considered dangerous, because it's easy to go outside of the exception's specifications. So you should assume that everything that is text content, gets copyright protection. Only if you have _no other choice_, you should consider those limited exceptions. But it's dangerous operation. Should just assume that everything is covered by copyright by default.

Comment Re:I'm on oracle's side on this (Score 1) 436

> The entire software industry would grind to a halt if a copyright on APIs were enforced.

I think you underestimate the problem. It's much worse than that. Companies would need to build their own markets for their software, instead of always building their wares utilizing someone elses market. The trick is that this would be useful activity for a company to do. Now that they skip the hard work, consumers will suffer because the services are simply not available where they're needed.

Comment Re:I'm on oracle's side on this (Score 1, Troll) 436

> Why do I suspect that you don't really know what an API really is?

I'm a programmer. Even though api has smaller state space than ordinary text content, it still contains enough freedom for authors to choose their unique implementations. Thus it gets copyright protection. Assuming otherwise is dangerous.

Comment Re:I'm on oracle's side on this (Score 1) 436

> 3rd party manufacturer making coffee pods or oil filters.

This analog does not hold, for the reason that it's not covered by copyright. Copyright involves text content, basically sequence of letters. Those sequence of letters get copyright protection, if it's unique. Api definitions are text content like that.

The key in regognizing copyrightable content is that there exists large number of possible arrangements (of letters), but authors choose their unique combination. Simply duplicating it is illegal, because doing so is easier than choosing the combination from scratch.

Comment I'm on oracle's side on this (Score 0, Troll) 436

It seems completely crazy that google thinks that apis are not copyrightable. There's no good basis for that belief that apis cannot be copyrighted. Even if it was significantly more convinient to copy-paste the api definitions, it's just completely crazy assumption that it is allowed. Piracy is also significantly more convinient to the users, and it's still not allowed. Whoever thinks that apis shouldn't be copyrightable, doesn't seem to understand well why copyright exists in the first place.

Otoh, google isn't the only entity that have made this mistake. Linux folks did the same problem when they used unix apis as a basis for their system. So there exists history of people not understanding api definitions to be copyrightable content.

The reasoning google gave for their copying of the api definitions is completely crazy too. Interoperability of software is the worst possible reason for this kind of activity. They couldn't enter the market that oracle/sun built for themselves, without copy-pasting the api definitions. The real problem is that google thinks they are allowed to take free lunch, enter oracle's java market without a license. The api definition copying is clearly trying to make android part of java platform, utilizing java's popularity in order to make android popular among programmers who know java already. This sounds like they're illegally trying to enter someone elses market area.

Common theme among people who illegally use someone elses copyrighted content is that they always choose the most popular content available. They never even think of taking something that isn't yet popular and making it popular. Instead they always freeride on someone elses popularity. Something that is already popular, they want to attach their feeble efforts to that popular thing. This is clear attempt to avoid doing the hard work. Hard work has a problem that success is not guaranteed. But attaching your stuff to already popular stuff is supposedly easier to pull off. But it's illegal for a reason.

Comment Re:This can only end badlly... (Score 1) 145

>That is a laughable argument.
>
>The LHC was built using tax money granted by CERN's >member nations.

You have any idea how many people there are in the world that would like to do cutting edge research with nice toys like LHC? Because of money problems, it is simply not possible to supply enough cool gadgets for wannabe researchers...

Anything that helps solve this problem is clearly useful activity...

Comment Re:This can only end badlly... (Score 1) 145

> very good research is only for those in the privileged high class universities from high class families.

There's also counterargument that the research might cost significant amount of money. Like france built LHC at some high cost of billions. It is very difficult to get the money back, even if all your research goes as planned. While government pays most of the stuff, it wouldn't be a surprise if they try to recoup some of the cost from people who absolutely need that information. Putting your papers under paywall is one way to do that. It's not simply a matter of excluding part of the population from the information, but it's also about how to ensure that the research can continue in the future.

Comment Re:This can only end badlly... (Score 1) 145

> A PhD committee has no way of telling where you got your cited publications from

Yeah, when they try to check your publications, and they end up in a paywall of 2 million bucks, it's dead obvious that you're not that rich to get access to it. Or it might take longer to access the papers than it took for you to create your work? It'll be dead obvious when you refer to bunch of amazing papers that noone else has proper access.

Comment This can only end badlly... (Score 1) 145

Pirated papers can only end badly. It's not possible for academics to refer to a paper obtained from pirate source. Once such activities are revealed, there's significant pressure from universities to cancel the credit people got from using pirate papers. This means some people are going to lose their Phd over issue of using the pirate site.

But it is sad that elsevier has not managed to make their service convinient enough that researchers could access the same data legally. There's high chance that scientific progress is harmed by this problem, and it should be high priority issue to fix immediately. It is strange development that the most bleeding edge technology always need to be at the edge (or over) the legal limits, as it seems those limits are causing real problems in the world.

Comment Informing about problems like this not necessary (Score 1) 286

Phone companies do not need this information. The reason is that whatever software ordinary people can get access to, it is definitely several iterations too old software. Finding problems from stuff that was created 3 years ago is simply not useful activity. The hardening of the software needs to happen with the bleeding edge software that only the companies themselves have access to. Thus end users reporting vulnerabilities to phone companies is completely useless activity. They're way too late in their reporting. Worse, while reporting the problems, they might reveal them to the criminals too, and there might be millions of devices on the open with the existing vulnerabilties in it. Fixing just newest versions of the software simply wouldn't work either, if criminals gets access to the information. Automatic updates are helping a little, and can solve some of the problems, but basically requires that phone companies are actively updating versions of the software that are like 4 years old. This takes significant amount of effort to keep old software versions updated. But the basic problem is that the information is coming in way too late.

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