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Is Android a byproduct of copyright infringement? It's a heck of a question, one that has no easy answer.

Google used bits of Oracle's Java APIs when it built Android. APIs (application programming interfaces) are the tools used to carry out functions on a computer. No one disputes this. But Oracle claims that it had a copyright on its APIs, while Google argues that APIs aren't copyrightable at all.

So far, the lower courts have split. A district court agreed with Google that a "utilitarian and functional set of symbols" is the only "way to declare a given method functionality" and therefore cannot be copyrighted. The Federal Circuit, on the other hand, held that the APIs were copyrightable, but that a fair use defense might apply.

Google doesn't want to rely upon a possible fair use defense, so it has asked the Supreme Court to take the case, Reuters reports.

Grooveshark is an online music service that allows users to upload their own music and stream it. But it also allows users to add to their streaming library any song that someone else has already uploaded.

As you might expect, the music companies weren't too keen on this, and though Grooveshark obtained licenses for some of the music in its collection, it didn't obtain licenses for all of the music.

Enter this lawsuit against Grooveshark's owner, Escape Media Group Inc., where the music companies moved for summary judgment on direct and secondary infringement.

Apparently looking to make a quick buck (which is the best kind of buck), David Elliot and Chris Gillespie registered domain names using formulations of "Google" along with another well-known words or brand names, like googledisney.com and googlebarackobama.net. So, you know, legitimate business and not SEO tricks.

Google filed a complaint with the domain registrar. Then Elliot and Gillespie sued Google in federal court to have the company's trademarks to "Google" canceled on the ground that it's become a generic term.

There's an old, apocryphal story about a guy who was bitten by bedbugs in a train sleeper car. He wrote a letter to the railroad president. The railroad president wrote back, saying it was the first time he had ever heard of such a thing happening, he had ordered all the rail cars fumigated, and promised it would never happen again. The president also accidentally included a copy of the sender's original letter, on which was written, in the railroad president's hand, "Send this SOB the bedbug letter."

Earlier this week, Google launched the "bedbug letter" into the 21st century when it returned documents containing trade secrets to the original owner -- along with several incriminating Post-It notes revealing its plans for the newly acquired secrets.

The world got a crash course in copyright law earlier this week when David Slater, a British photographer, requested that the Wikimedia foundation take down a photograph snapped by a macaque.

The "monkey selfie" was born when Slater set up his camera in an Indonesian forest and came back later to find that monkeys had snatched it and were snapping pictures, The Washington Post reports.

While Slater claims that he owns the rights to the photograph, Wikimedia insists that the work isn't owned by anyone -- because it was taken by a monkey.

In the 1990s, Jim Logan started a company called Personal Audio, and this was his idea: Pick your favorite newspaper or magazine articles, and he'll send you audio versions of those articles -- through the mail -- on cassette tapes. NPR's Planet Money first reported on Logan's failed business venture last year because Logan claimed his patent over this article-to-audio format covered podcasts too.

Personal Audio sued some famous podcasts, including Adam Carolla's and HowStuffWorks. To other podcasters, Personal Audio sent letters demanding license fees.

Carolla has raised more than $400,000 for what he calls the "Save Our Podcasts Legal Defense Fund," which he intended to use to litigate Personal Audio's claims. Coincidentally (read: not that coincidentally), Personal Audio asked to dismiss its case against Carolla, but Carolla refused.

A device installed in many GM and Ford vehicles has driven a music-industry group to seek a court's intervention.

The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies, an organization that collects fees levied on the sale of home recording devices, has filed a class action complaint accusing Ford and General Motors of placing certain types of hard drives in its cars without paying the requisite fees. The drives in question are "capable of making a digital audio copied recording for private use," the lawsuit asserts.

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Today marks the anniversary of the first U.S. patent. On July 31, 1790, Samuel Hopkins was issued the first patent, for a procedure for making potash.

Two hundred twenty-four years and over 8 million patents later, here are five patently fun facts you might not know about patents and patent history:

Does your online advertising strategy keep up with the latest tech and SEO trends? Let our experts take a second look.

We called a similar case against Google "obvious from the outset" when the district court ruled book scanning "fair use." Thankfully, the Second Circuit didn't make us look like fools when the issue reappeared this year.

(Don't worry ... there's still time.)

Yesterday, on our Greedy Associates blog, we sang the praises of hypothetical open source casebooks as an alternative to publishers' ridiculous $200 tomes, especially when publishers are considering adopting a leasing model to kill the used book market.

Well, it turns out that open source casebooks aren't so hypothetical after all. We stumbled on one, then another, then another yesterday afternoon. Here they are, from most feature-packed and promising to "good efforts."