More than 30 computer scientists signed off on a court brief opposing Oracle's effort to copyright its Java APIs, a move they say would hold back the computer industry and make technology more expensive.
The amicus brief was filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in support of Google in its copyright lawsuit with Oracle. A total of 32 tech luminaries signed the document, including MS-DOS author Tim Paterson and Arpanet developer Larry Roberts.
Oracle filed suit against Google in 2010, claiming that Google infringed on Oracle's copyright for Java APIs when it developed the Android operating system. Google denies any wrongdoing, arguing in part that application programming interfaces aren't eligible for copyright protection.
Last year, a California district court largely agreed with Google and ruled against Oracle in the case.
Oracle appealed, and the EFF filed its brief in an effort to encourage the court to side with Google.
"The freedom to reimplement and extend existing APIs has been the key to competition and progress in the computer field," the brief states.
Oracle has argued that the complex structure and syntax of the Java APIs make them a creative work worthy of protection.
This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.