CCIA Asks Supreme Court To Preserve Copyright Framework That Allows Interoperability

BY Heather Greenfield
January 13, 2020

Washington — The Computer & Communications Industry Association has filed an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case that has major implications for the entire tech industry. The issue in Google v. Oracle is whether the reuse of certain program elements necessary for interoperability is an infringement of copyright law. The case has been under litigation for nearly a decade.

The case centers around the permissibility of Google copying less than 0.5% of the Java application programming interface (API) into Android to make it easier for Java programmers to write apps for Android smartphones. Oracle acquired the copyright in the Java API after acquiring Sun Microsystems.

The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:

“U.S. law has allowed companies to offer competing, interoperable products. This principle of interoperability has been key to our innovation and economic success — and ironically to Oracle’s success decades ago. It would be unfortunate for the U.S. to erode this framework for permissionless innovation, and give an advantage to companies in countries with more enabling legal frameworks.

“We look forward to the Court reaffirming that copyright law does not prohibit interoperability. This long-standing proposition has been vital to the development of the tech industry.”

For more background on this issue, and CCIA’s briefs over more than 20 years on the issue of the protectability of APIs, fair use, and reverse engineering so that computer software is interoperable, please see CCIA’s information page here.

For media inquiries, please contact Heather Greenfield hgreenfield@ccianet.org

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