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Can You Copyright a Programming Language?

  • April 16, 2012
  • By Developer.com Staff

The judge presiding over the Oracle-vs.-Google lawsuit regarding Android's use of Java has boiled the case down to one question: Can you copyright a programming language? Before the start of the trial on Monday, he ordered both companies to "take a firm yes or no position on whether computer programming languages are copyrightable."

Google responded, "No, computer programming languages are not copyrightable. Google has never taken any other position."

Oracle disagreed, writing, "a computer language may qualify for copyright protection if it is sufficiently original."

The eventual outcome of the case could have big implications for developers, particularly those who write Android applications.

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