Is it a program copyright infringement?

Any topic not covered elsewhere.
Post Reply
Halie0201
Experienced Member
Experienced Member
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 6:44 pm

Is it a program copyright infringement?

Post by Halie0201 » Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:56 pm

Hi, I am a Java programming beginner and not familiar with the classes and methods in Java. So I learn how to use them on the website and use the basic sentences. I just learnt the idea. Is it a copyright infringement to use the basic sentences from the website to write my own APP? I will use my own variable and write the code myself.

For example:
InputMethodManager imm = (InputMethodManager) getSystemService(
INPUT_METHOD_SERVICE);
imm.hideSoftInputFromWindow(getCurrentFocus().getWindowToken(), 0);



All the classes are provided by Java SDK itself, and I can use them under the license Apache2.0. Just not sure if the basic ways to use these classes are copyrighted.

Eagerly waiting for your help!!

User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 1942
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Post by AndyJ » Sun Apr 17, 2016 5:36 pm

Hi Halie

Computer programs can be protected by copyright, and they are treated as works of literature. This may seem odd at first glance, but not when you consider the similarities between writing code and ordinary writing. Indeed the fact that you mentioned basic sentences in the context of Java exemplifies the similarity.

And just with language used to write, say, a novel, banal and everyday sentences or phrases alone have no chance of copyright protection because they lack originality. It's only when the work as a whole has sufficient originality that it expresses the spirit or soul of the author that copyright comes into play. So it is with copyright in computer programs. Using library items of code to execute common routines does not infringe copyright because they are not original in the same way that starting a novel with "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" is not original. It is only when a number of library routines are linked together using your own code, in order to achieve a particular, more complex, outcome that copyright protection for your own original work is likely to come about. There have been several cases where the courts have tried to delineate some standards but I would say that there is still no settled law either in the UK or the USA on this. However the US Copyright Office has published a compendium which contains a section on what can and can't be registered for copyright in the USA, so this may help to give you an idea where the boundaries lie:
325.02(a) Copyrightable elements.

The following descriptions of authorship or of material added will ordinarily not be questioned: computer program - entire computer code - entire program - entire program code - entire text - entire work - module, new modules, revised modules - program - program instructions - program listing - program text, programming text - revised program - routine, new routines, revised routines - software, computer software - subroutine, new subroutines, revised subroutines - text - text of computer game - text of. ..(except "text of object code" or "text of algorithm") - text of program - translation from (one programming language) to (another programming language) - wrote program

325.02(b) Unclear elements.

The following terms as commonly used with reference to computer software may or may not represent copyrightable authorship. Therefore, the Copyright Office will generally question an application describing the claim or the authorship in these terms: adaptation or translation (where program appears to have been adapted merely to run on different hardware) - compilation - debugging - enhancements - error corrections - features - patching - translation (listed alone)

325.02(c) Noncopyrightable elements.

Where the Copyright-Office has determined that the claim is based only on the following, registration will be refused: algorithm (or text of algorithm) - analysis - cassette - chip - disk - encrypting - EPROM - firmware - formatting - functions - language (alone) - logic - mnemonics - printout - PROM - ROM - software methodology - system - system design(er)
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 1942
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Post by AndyJ » Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:52 pm

Monday 18th April
Just a quick note following my previous posting, of an update today on a major ongoing case in the USA between Oracle and several big tech companies including Google, concerning copyright in Java which is used in the Android operating system.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

Halie0201
Experienced Member
Experienced Member
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Dec 26, 2015 6:44 pm

Post by Halie0201 » Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:24 am

Thank you!

About the case between google and oracle, does it mean I have to pay for the Java SDK in the future?

User avatar
AndyJ
Oracle
Oracle
Posts: 1942
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:43 am

Post by AndyJ » Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:56 am

Hi Halle,

No I don't think so. Based on the current licence for the various SDKs, it would only be necessary to pay a fee for the licence if you wanted to use the Commercial Features contained within the SDK. Having glanced at them briefly, they appear to be fairly specialised applications (eg Java Advanced Management Console). I think it is quite reasonable to assume that these Commercial Features would constitute copyright works and so Oracle are justified in charging for them.

But the remainder of the Java language is still free to use subject to the original GNU General Public License under which it was issued by Sun MIcrosystems before Oracle acquired it.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

Post Reply