Just realized that's actually true; I really don't know much about it. Probably should have taken the 5 minutes or whatever to google (pun intended) it and see what I could find.
I just am not a huge fan of Big Tech and the like– Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Huawei– and particularly Chinese Big Tech, although I know I shouldn't get too political here. But point taken, I will look into stuff like this in the future before spouting-off.
I would like to mention that IMO it wouldn't be a huge loss for Google if they had lost the suit; they still have YouTube, GoogleChrome, ChromeBooks, Google (the search engine), a ton of advertising through the Google, etc.
If Google had lost it would have set a dangerous precedent.
For example, the entire reason that IBM-compatible clones were possible is because one team could reverse-engineer the BIOS and document their findings (the API and its behavior) and hand those over to a separate team who could forward-engineer a compatible solution that would not be a derivative work of IBM's BIOS. Doing clean-room engineering on the BIOS (the only pure-IBM part of the IBM PC; the rest of the computer was off-the-shelf parts) enabled other companies to compete with IBM and drove the prices of computer hardware to the ground.
Want another example? All Linux is, is just an implementation of documented UNIX IOCTLs. Had the decision gone differently we might have had a repeat of the SCO debacle, and who knows how it might have turned out this time.
(I'm not as confident about this example. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.)
Intellectual property laws are already plenty powerful; far too powerful if you ask me. It's not in your or most people's best interest to root for the guy asking for them to be even more powerful.
But I think I see what you mean, even though the details are a bit over my head.
So if Google had lost, then that means Oracle (and like companies) could basically charge whatever they want for software. And (I did take micro economics in college, so I know what I'm talking about here), that naturally means they would jack the price up a lot.
It doesn't even have to be an issue of money. If nobody other than the original developer can provide alternative implementations without violating that developer's copyright nobody can make any improvements or modifications they might want, even in principle.
Imagine you use a library and you think "gee, this library sure is useful and all, but I really wish it had this feature I really need". If you really wanted, should you be prevented from completely reimplementing that library yourself while maintaining the API (otherwise you'd have to rewrite your program) and adding in the functionality you want? Is just the API sufficient to say that your library is a derivative work of the original?
Ohh wow, ok, that is a really, really good point. As in, so good that it just changed my entire view on this subject!! Because...lol...I have actually done that. Many times. Well, wished anyway. As for actually creating a custom library, I haven't done that much.
If nobody other than the original developer can provide alternative implementations without violating that developer's copyright nobody can make any improvements or modifications they might want, even in principle.
Depends on the word 'without'.
The whole issue as reported is whether Oracle's copyright was violated, not whether it should be violated, which it obviously shouldn't.
Fair use is allowed under the relevant copyright law.
Fair use of the copyrighted material was established by Google. Oracle lost because there was no copyright violation, not because it would be 'nice' to violate someones copyright.
That's why the comment about patent protection being a possible better way to protect IP was made in the article. Maybe Oracle will take out a patent in future.