Google v. Oracle: reimplementing application program interfaces does not infringe copyright

7 June 2022
IGIR in Law

The drafters of EU Computer programmes Directive were aware of the competition law implications of extending protection to the interfaces necessary to enable interoperability of programs and devices. Neither the U.S. Congress nor the CONTU seemed to think of interoperability. So the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 as amended says nothing  about program interfaces or interoperability. In light of this, in their latest article, Samuelson and Lemley talk about interfaces and interoperability after Google v. Oracle arguing that notwithstanding the Court’s assumption that APIs are copyright-protectable, the numerous appellate court rulings that interfaces are not within the scope of protection afforded to computer programs remain good law. The article explains why uncopyrightability defenses are better than fair use defenses to fend off over-expansive software copyright claims. This blog summarizes some of the key thoughts therein.