"Nerds getting owned by normals" in Oracle v Google

Sarah Jeong's covering the Oracle v. Google trial, whereby the two companies are fighting over Java, copyright and the difficulty of explaining things like APIs to "normals." Most interesting is how the trial reveals not only how completely alien "nerd subculture" is, but that normal people -- judges! juries! -- are surprisingly good at spotting and exposing Silicon Valley's hypocrisy and narcissism.

The nerds struggle to be understood. It doesn’t help that towards the end of his cross-examination by Oracle, Schwartz became snippier and snippier, answering the Oracle lead attorney’s questions with passive-aggressive hostility.

Schwartz seemed less upset about being called one of the worst CEOs in America, and more put off by the sheer indignity of being cross-examined by a man who didn’t know what a blog is—enough that he broke a 10-month long Twitter silence to snark about it.

In public! With billions on the line! During the trial! Shades of Matthew Keys -- an almost supernatural level of arrogance before the people who, literally, are there to judge you.

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  1. Unfortunately, while watching the nerds not succeed in court is fun and all; it's difficult to overstate Just How Totally Fucked Basically Everything Ever will be if Google gets hammered in this case.

    I don't much care whether they end up on the hook for a few billion to Oracle or not(Not that I like Oracle; but the monetary damages are simply not a problem for the world outside of Google): The trouble is that, if APIs are deemed copyrightable, we get another giant expansion of copyright into a dubiously suitable place, one that effectively means that building interoperable substitutes for more or less anything that has some software in it becomes legally tricky for the more or less arbitrarily long copyright term.

    The idea that you can't copyright APIs may be a nerd delusion that is now being punctured by normal people from outside the bubble; but it's a nerd delusion that has more or less made contemporary computer technology possible; which is being monkeyed with by a bunch of copyright maximalist lawyers attempting to reason-by-analogy from laws crafted to protect assorted flavors of artistic work. Their ideas are...unlikely...to improve the state of the tech industry.

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