A Sum Greater than its Parts?: Copyright Protection for Application Program Interfaces
Texas Intellectual Property Law Journal, Vol. 14, pp. 59-90, 2005
32 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2009 Last revised: 14 May 2014
Date Written: 2005
The exponential growth exhibited in the technology sector worldwide has provided businesses and consumers with a myriad of computer programs and computer-based devices. Whereas the copyright laws of the United States have attempted to keep pace with these rapid technological advances, in certain instances, such has not been the case. One such area involves the extent of copyright protection for application program interfaces ("APIs"). Whereas APIs have been implicated as important segments of high profile lawsuits involving large multi-national corporations such as Microsoft, few scholars have addressed whether, and to what extent, APIs are protected under the copyright laws. This article discusses the extent of copyright protection that is afforded to APIs and the defense of fair use as it relates to copyright infringement claims regarding APIs.
Keywords: copyright, application program interface, API, fair use, computer software, copyright infringement
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