The Supreme Court on Monday rejected Google’s appeal of the Google-Oracle API copyright dispute. The high court’s move lets stand an appellate court’s decision that application programming interfaces (APIs) are subject to copyright protections.
Here is how we described the issue in our earlier coverage:
The dispute centers on Google copying names, declarations, and header lines of the Java APIs in Android. Oracle filed suit, and in 2012, a San Francisco federal judge sided with Google. The judge ruled that the code in question could not be copyrighted. Oracle prevailed on appeal, however. A federal appeals court ruled that the “declaring code and the structure, sequence, and organization of the API packages are entitled to copyright protection.”
Google maintained that the code at issue is not entitled to copyright protection because it constitutes a “method of operation” or “system” that allows programs to communicate with one another.
The high court did not comment Monday about the case when announcing that it had decided against reviewing it. However, the court’s announcement comes a month after the Justice Department sided with Oracle and told the justices that APIs are copyrightable (PDF).
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