This debate has been on going and if Oracle, the creator of Java, wins it means they may be able to reap the largess of the Android OS ‘created’ by Google for mobile phones.
So here goes, a programming language is not an invention but a style more like a Van Gogh than painting itself. The reason being, computer hardware is hardwired in binary (0s and 1s) that many programming languages have been able to access over the years including Turing, a precursor to C created by Alan Turing a Canadian. There is no great barrier to being able to create a programming language other than hard work and experience; same as ‘discovering’ how to paint like Van Gogh.
Oracle created JAVA, like a bespoked luxury garment (that is copyrightable) with features that are not, such as interoperability. There are aspects of the code, particularly the taxonomy and recognizable nomenclature that points to the author’s style. Perhaps even the use of structure is points to composition.
Judges in the matter have described Java’s vast body of work as analogous to ‘libraries, of books and with chapters’. Making it most like expression. But what are the ideas Java is conveying? Can it be transmitted to the end user like art? The courts have said ‘market survey’ does not alienate copyrightability, which may be the thing doing that here. Is visual art copyrightable in a land of the sightless? Only if there is someone with sight.
Can Java be used in another medium other than binary? Perhaps in analog control systems? If yes, than it is totally separable from the consumer computing hardware. Can Java exist on a painter’s canvas and be recognized as Java? Yes.
Judges have said Java is not copyrightable, even when Google has plagiarized whole ‘paragraphs’ of it because they have interpreted as plain English when it is more like riffs on sheet music, or whole paragraphs of novels.
In another instance, other functioning languages in other facets of creativity, like the Klingon language in Star Trek, is copyrightable. And another author can achieve the same effect in a story with their own language. Using Klingon in a Star Wars movie will infringe copyright.
So what idea, process or system is Java based on, that it can be copyrighted, is any other expression equal and substituable to Java? It’s the noise 0s and 1s make, like over a modem or the patterns of 0s and 1s like encryption keys.
The argument against Google’s amicus community that Java methods aren’t copyrightable is erroneous. These pre-built methods themselves are like the bigger apps they build, provided by Oracle as stated, and not necessarily intrinsic but for the amicus’ inexperience and ultimate plagiarism, which is reliance, on the original author’s prolific ‘freeware’ material.
A verdict in favor of Oracle will be good for society. The free license prohibits commercialization of apps with ads and in app purchases, resulting from Google’s free-rider amicus actions regardless of intentions, other tiers require a fee for commercialized apps.
Google’s amicus community of coders are average coders, lacking originality themselves (a wrongly labelled scenes a faire it doesn’t make, et al plagiarism), who can not afford Java’s licensing structure and prefer Google’s free rider policy. For some reason, Google presupposes that Java is the defacto only way to interface with binary, in other words literally the only non-literal working currency when that is disingenuous and willful ignorance for Google’s sophistication.