Keep APIs Open


Last week, Engine joined software innovators, startups, and investors as a signatory on an amicus brief in Oracle v. Google -- a case centered on how far copyright should be extended with regards to Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). We are in favor of limiting copyright on APIs in order to protect innovation and investment.

In 2012, district courts ruled in favor of Google, concluding that Java APIs used by Android are not subject to copyright. The Federal Circuit is now reviewing the case on appeal.

We are proud to put our name on the brief because we recognize the need for software startups to innovate and the drive economy forward. Startup innovation requires interoperability (ie. open exchange of information) between systems and programs, and this is fostered by APIs.

Our interest is in “preserving the deliberate balance Congress and the courts have established for software copyright.” This balance is integral to maintaining a competitive marketplace and investment landscape. Should copyright restrictions on API’s be tightened, the real-world implications could be significant -- could decrease competition in software innovation and chill investment.

We’d like to recognize Engine member startups who also signed this brief, including: Bright Funds, Hattery, Hipiti, and Vessel. We are also thankful that prominent investors and technology industry veterans lent their voices, including Engine Advisory Board Member Brad Feld, and his partner at Foundry Group, Jason Mendelson. You can find a full list of signatories here.

We encourage you to check out the abstract and full brief.

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