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in reply to Re^2: Copyright on languages
in thread Copyright on languages

Ok, so Oracle owns the copyright on the code, but not on the name of the language, and that's why the judge says it's questionable whether "languages" can be copyrighted? That seems like hair-splitting to me, but I guess that's what courts are for.

I didn't mean that Perl is unique in separating (or not separating) grammar from functionality. I just meant that if you take away the support libraries -- the modules, which I'm thinking of as the API, analogous to Java's class libraries -- you still have something that's identifiably Perl. This doesn't look like anything but Perl, as far as I know:

next unless $s =~ m|/foo/|i;

With Java, on the other hand, if you remove the classes, what you have left doesn't look much different from several other C-style languages. (To my knowledge; admittedly I haven't used Java in a few years, and was never an expert.) Since software copyright infringement often comes down to how much you copied the "look and feel," it seems like Google might have an easier time making their case with Java than if they were using Perl. But I'm just spitballing; I don't know anything about the legalities or details here.

Aaron B.
My Woefully Neglected Blog, where I occasionally mention Perl.

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Re^4: Copyright on languages
by ikegami (Pope) on May 02, 2012 at 22:27 UTC

    Ok, so Oracle owns the copyright on the code, but not on the name of the language

    Names aren't covered by Copyright law, but by trademark/servicemark law. The latter is consumer protection law. Oracle does own the trademark on Java and the coffee cup logo.

    and that's why the judge says it's questionable whether "languages" can be copyrighted?

    The judge has said nothing of the kind, much less for the reasons you gave.

    The judge simply said there's no precedent either way. "No decision on point that says that computer languages have not been copyrightable."

    I didn't mean that Perl is unique in separating (or not separating) grammar from functionality.

    I know. I understood your point and I agree with it. Your comment simply raised a interesting question.