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Comment Re:the core of the issue (Score 1) 292

Individual function prototypes may not be copyrightable, but whole header files may well be copyrightable. In copyright law one cannot generalize from "this bit is not copyrightable" to "the whole work is just a collection of bits, each of which is not copyrightable, so the whole work is not copyrightable."

It is simply not a settled matter of law whether header files are copyrightable, so Google and Android developers may be in a bit of hot water here.

Comment Re:What the heck? (Score 2) 292

This argument was not held up in court, because it was never made. IBM argued correctly, and the court agreed, that the specfic headers in question were not copyrightable because the were in the public domain. IBM did not argue, nor has any court ruled AFAIK that headers in general are not copyrightable. Hence the potential legal problems for android developers.

Comment Re:What the heck? (Score 4, Insightful) 292

Header files implement an interface. That interface is a fact, not subject to copyright.

The fact "strcpy takes as arguments two character pointers, and returns a character pointer", is not copyrightable. This does not change if I express it in C as "char *strcpy(char *d, const char *s);"

A minimal C or C++ header file is just a collection of such facts.

The point Nimmer, an acknowledged authority on IP law, makes is that when you aggregate such "facts" the resultant text, essentially becomes an expressive description of how a whole system works, and therefore is copyrightable. Otherwise one could argue that each individual word in a book is such a "fact," and that copying a book is just copying a series of facts and therefore not a copyright violation.

Whether a work is copyrightable is a matter of examining the whole work in the context of its use, not just determining that individual lines are not copyrightable and concluding that the whole work is therefore not copyrightable.

So no, it is not yet a settled matter of law that header files are not copyrightable.

Comment Re:Uh. (Score 2) 298

That quote is actually misattributed. It was the person writing to Steve Jobs who wrote that, not Jobs.

Here's what the site in question says: "UPDATE: The last line in the email exchange was actually not said by Mr. Jobs; rather it was by “Tom.” We corrected it as soon as we were made aware."

Jobs closed his half of the email exchange with "You may be working from bad data. Not your fault. Stay tuned. We are working on it."

BTW, I'm not in any way condoning Apple's de facto classification of home screen web apps as second class iOS citizens.

Comment Re:All you need to know, from TFA (Score 1) 815

How much of the science we do today is based on experiments that are so ill specified that no other researcher can even attempt to repeat them, much less actually repeat them?

That's right - none.

These guys aren't just claiming a novel observation - they're claiming a novel observation and they're not telling anyone else what they're doing. This failure to provide a clear, repeatable description of their experimental work makes their "discovery" scientifically meaningless.

Comment Re:All you need to know, from TFA (Score 1) 815

Not so. Unexplained phenomena are the evidentiary basis of science.

What science abhors are unrepeatable phenomena.

It is not required that an experiment have a complete theoretical explanation for it to be worthy of publication. It is required that an experiment be repeatable for it to be worthy of publication.

Comment Re:All you need to know, from TFA (Score 2) 815

False dichotomy. They could publish a paper detailing everything and simultaneously file a patent for it. Other researchers could verify the phenomenon (if there is one) and they would still hold the patent.

Remember, the word "patent" means "public." There is no contradiction between a money making patent and scientific publication.

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