Plumbers doing eye surgery ?

Story: Appeals Court Doesn't Understand The Difference Between Software And An API; Declares APIs CopyrightableTotal Replies: 8
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May 10, 2014
5:26 PM EDT
I should have thought it was time that someone in the USA with a bit of sense insisted that ONLY judges "with knowledge of the areas they are examining in a trial" should be able to sit in judgement on such a trial. This makes an utterly disgraceful mockery of the care and concern that Judge Alsup took in producing his decision - a "supposedly superior court" has ignored the fact that the lower court judge actually knew the subject area on which he produced his judgment.

Too often, those who make the laws on technology (and especially IT) as well as those who administer it in the courts, have little or no experience in its complexities and hidden traps.....and this is the highly destructive result......the legal equivalent of a plumber doing eye surgery.

Sure, I'm looking in at this situation from the outside, but even "Blind Freddy" can see that this is an appallingly bad judgement and it requires to be rejected immediately. Good luck, seriously, on this one USA - and may this disgusting judgement be overturned soon.

May 10, 2014
6:09 PM EDT

It has been said, and history has proven it, "what goes up, must come down".

A Lebanese poet once said, "Great nations are built on ethics & morals, if they are gone, they too will be gone".


May 10, 2014
7:37 PM EDT
Or, as John Adams said: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

May 10, 2014
8:15 PM EDT
I think what angers me even more, on reflection, is that those judges actually had the gall to believe that without any training in IT (as far as I am aware), they could produce an effective and accurate judgement over an extremely complex area - an area so complex that Alsup actually learned Java programming in order to make an accurate decision. For that appeal bench to ignore Alsup's decision and simply overturn it is nauseating and thoroughly insulting to Alsup.

As far as I am concerned, this is arrogance, ignorance (or plain stupidity) and a refusal by those judges to accept there may be areas in which they are not qualified to pass a judgement. And yet, those same judges I am sure, would be the first to squeal if you suggested that a seamstress would be an ideal person to carry out a hip replacement operation that any or each of them needed. Expertise in the required area would be their immediate demands, and frankly, the IT community should be making the same demand of those judges. If a judge does not have the expertise to make a good decision, then he or she should refuse to sit on the bench of such an appeal and should pass it on to judges that do have that qualification - or is honesty and integrity now lacking in the legal profession ? I am very angry and disgusted at what I see as a travesty of justice.

May 10, 2014
9:47 PM EDT
The CAFC (Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit) is rather infamous for consistently taking an "IP maximalist" stance, for not actually understanding the technology, and for pursuing its pro "Intellectual Property" agenda to the point of repeatedly ignoring clearly expressed legal corrections from the Supreme Court.

Techdirt has a tag/category just for stories about the CAFC:


May 11, 2014
12:22 AM EDT

My sentiments exactly ... But we should all be wary. The "IP" maximalists routinely try to site that the US Supreme Court renders bad decisions because they fail to adequately grasp the body of law (for say, on patents). So, just be sure that your arguments do not stray too much towards "experts should make the decision," or you'll get a huge I-told-you-so from the maximalist camp...

May 11, 2014
12:24 AM EDT
I wonder if we should be following the "money trail" ? This court and its decisions now have an odour that is offensive to me personally and my musings were brought to a head by the above comments from BernardSwiss.

JaseP, I tend to agree with you in some measure......Experts, no, just as bad as the CAFC, but at the very minimum I believe that they should have some basic understanding of the problems upon which they are expected to produce cogent legal decisions.

May 11, 2014
12:36 AM EDT
It's totally "follow the money." Justice Thomas freaking worked for Monsanto, for God's sake... He'll recuse himself on a case directly involving them, but anything involving something touching on the issues that concern them?!?! ... I'm sure it's no different for the CAFC.

May 13, 2014
12:19 AM EDT
I somehow missed this other article on the story (on my favourite Science & Technology" site, yet!)

Oracle’s Java API code protected by copyright, appeals court rules


(Maybe I could still submit it separately -- or is it too late?)

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