Where is the outcry?

15 May

How is it that librarians have been silent about this?  Is it because there’s a lot of technology involved?  Or because we don’t think it’s a copyright issue that pertains to us?

I found it by happenstance, and let me tell you, my mind immediately went in 10 different directions thinking about implications for ILS, LMS, outreach, and life in general as open source is everywhere.  Imagine a day without your Android phone, or without Google to call on for search.  If it’s still there, it would likely run much slower because the code has become cumbersome as programmers avoid using names for functions and have no common libraries with which to work.

Let me give you a run-down from a friend of mine who programs for a living:

Here’s sort of the gist of it, Oracle wants to own the API header, something that is publicly made available for people to be able to use their stuff.
If I have a function named add() and it returns the results of 2+2 they want to be able to own the name of the function (add()) even if the code that does it differs greatly, like instead of 2+2, its 1+1+1+1.
APIs are made public for a reason, and that’s so people can use those libraries to work with it.
Google took the names and expected results of the functions for java, and then rewrote everything underneath to be optimized for their platform, but left the names and expected results the same so people can work with it just as they have in the past.

Maybe the issue has been over-complicated in the press, but that seems a decent layperson’s explanation.  So I challenge you to think about the implications of copyrighting an API, and wonder why librarians were silent about this issue.


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