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API Voice Blog

If We Cannot Keep the Pipes Transparent And Accessible We Are Screwed

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As I look through the 800+ companies that I'm tracking on doing interesting things in the API space, I can't help but think about how important it is that we encourage API providers to inject as much transparency into their operations as possible. Something that includes providing end-users consistent account management, and oAuth controls, as well as developer transparency. It is not enough to just make API resources are publicly available, you have to be transparent in your pricing, roadmap, terms of use, and overall API operations--you have to be honest, open, and communicate with your API consumers, and end-users.......read more.



Taking A Look At The API Licensing Stack

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One of the byproducts of the Oracle vs Google API copyright case, was a realization that many API providers and consumer do not understand the layers of the API stack, let alone the potential licensing considerations for each layer of the API onion. I wouldn't just blame API providers, and consumers, I’m still getting a grasp on all of this, which is why I'm blogging about the subject. Let’s take a quick crack at defining the layers to the potential API licensing onion: Data - What is the licensing for the actual data returned and collected by an API? I’m......read more.



Machine Readable Terms Of Service Didnt Read Applied To Apis Via Apisjson

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I’ve long been fascinated by the Terms of Service Didn’t Read project. i’m on the mailing list, and try to make time to stay in tune, but have yet to ever contribute any bandwidth to the EXTREMELY important project, around making sense of the crazy terms of services (TOS), that we agree to in our daily lives. I finally found myself at a point where I'm forced to start paying more attention to API terms of service, and hopefully will be able to slice off a little bit of dedicated bandwidth to Terms of Service; Didn’t Read. I have two......read more.



Hipster Coffee Shop Interface

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I’m continuing to expand on my restaurant API analogy, to be used when helping people understand the API copyright debate. A restaurant menu works well to get folks on boarded with the separation between an API definition, its server side, and client side code—when compared with the restaurant menu and the behind the scenes kitchen. My expansion this week is from an experience in a hipster coffee shop, while meeting a client in San Francisco. I walked into this small coffee shop, and there was no menu, just a list of beans on a chalkboard, several lines of customers arranged......read more.



Separating The Layers Of The API Operations Onion While Thinking About API Copyright

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I'm continuing my trek through my recent notes, and engaging in more conversations with knowledgeable folks, on the topic of API copyright. One recent conversation was with Mike Linksvayer (@mlinksva), who pointed me to his very informative blog post, where he discusses API copyright. In addition to his thoughts on why you should never have to ask permission to use an API design from its designer, Mike quantified what I'd consider to be the API operations onion, allowing us to think about where not just copyright can apply, but patents, and potentially other licensing approaches: API Specification API Documentation API Implementations,......read more.



Implementation Of An API Design Should Never Require Permission From The API Designer

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I’m working through my recent notes, and engaging in more conversations with knowledgeable folks, on the topic of API copyright. One recent conversation was with Mike Linksvayer (@mlinksva), who pointed me to his very informative blog post, where he discusses API copyright. One thing Mike says, which really summarizes something I feel strongly about, but haven't been able to articulate, was: "In the context of APIs, default policy should be that independent implementation of an API never require permission from the API’s designer, previous implementer, or other rights holder.” The Mike brings it home, with a sobering view on why......read more.



What Would API Copyright Have Done To The Birth Of Cloud Computing

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As I think about the potential impact of the Oracle v Google case on the future of APIs, I can’t help but think about cloud computing, and how API copyright might have affected the development of this critical layer to the Internet--this topic was one of the areas I focused on when sharing information with EFF for the Oracle v Google amicus brief. Amazon S3 and Amazon EC2 both began as API interfaces, with an accompanying command line interface (CLI). When S3 and EC2 came onto the scene, it forever changed how we thought about not just computing, but how......read more.



The Machine Readable Questions We Should Ask Of Terms Of Service

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I’ve been following the work of Terms of Service Didn’t Read for some time now. In my opinion this work is some of the most important legal work out there right now, which is guiding all of our activity not just online, but increasingly in our offline worlds. If you aren't familiar with Terms of Service Didn’t Read, I think their slogan sums it up well: “I have read and agree to the Terms” is the biggest lie on the web. We aim to fix that. More clarity and balance in the terms of service that online services employ is......read more.



Retrieve My Data Like Retrieving Video Surveillance Photos From CCTV

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I’m an advisor to the camera API platform, EverCam. I don’t advise the startup because I’m super excited about the opportunities for APIs for security cameras. I'm involved because I believe in the Evercam team, and I want to be aware of this fast growing aspect of the Internet of things and API economy. Security cameras are not going away, and I want to help lend some critical thought to how we use security cameras, and apply APIs to help introduce transparency and accountability into this easily abused layer of our society. One of the things I learned from Evercam,......read more.



Restaurant Menus As Analogy For API Copyright

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One of the interesting conversations that came out of the APIStrat Un-Workshops at Gluecon this week, was the exploration of the analogy of applying copyright to restaurant menus, and applying copyright to APIs. This type of conversations is why 3Scale and API Evangelist support these types of events. When you Google the topic of restaurant menu API copyright, you get a wealth of contradictory answers that show the difficulty of applying copyright to menus. In practice you can put a copyright on your menu, and you could probably spend a lot of energy enforcing this if someone copies your menu.......read more.