Oracle v. Google: Are APIs Copyrightable?

55(11) Communications of the ACM, 2012

UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 2171447

3 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2012  

Pamela Samuelson

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Date Written: November 2012

Abstract

Are application program interfaces (APIs) of computer programs protectable by copyrights in software that embodies them? Oracle v. Google is the most definitive ruling yet that addresses this question. The judge rejected Oracle's claim of copyright and his ruling suggests that APIs are uncopyrightable more generally. Oracle will appeal, but Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court of Northern California did a very careful job in analyzing the issues. I predict affirmance.

Keywords: Oracle, Google, API, Copyright

Suggested Citation

Samuelson, Pamela, Oracle v. Google: Are APIs Copyrightable? (November 2012). 55(11) Communications of the ACM, 2012; UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 2171447. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2171447

Pamela Samuelson (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

Boalt Hall
341 North Addition
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
(510) 642-6775 (Phone)
(510) 643-2673 (Fax)

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