Epic Games is trying to stop Google from taking Bandcamp off the Play Store

Daniel Sims

Posts: 453   +18
Staff
Why it matters: Less than two months after acquiring the music service Bandcamp, Epic Games seems to be coming to its defense. However, this case perfectly aligns with Epic's battles with mobile platform holders. Is it simply using Bandcamp in its crusade, or did their interests just happen to coincide?

This week, Epic Games and its recent acquisition Bandcamp have come out against Google's upcoming policy changes, which will force the music app to process digital payments exclusively through Google's payment system. Bandcamp co-founder and CEO Ethan Diamond said this is incompatible with the original purpose of the music service. Epic, which struck a deal to purchase Bandcamp in early March, filed a motion in a California court with the same sentiment.

Currently, Bandcamp processes digital music purchases on its Android app through its existing payment system, which lets it pass 82 percent of sales revenue to artists. During some promotions, it gives all sales proceeds to artists, which is why the service is popular with indie musicians.

Apple users can only listen to music, buy it on physical media, or buy merchandise. Bandcamp's iOS app doesn't process digital purchases at all because Apple's required revenue cut makes it impossible for the company to be so generous. The Android app could end up this way unless Epic or the court system can broker a compromise.

Until now, Google's payment system hasn't been mandatory for digital music purchases on Play Store apps, but that exception ends on June 1. Afterward, Google will take 10 percent of the Bandcamp app's digital purchase revenue. Epic and Bandcamp said this would either force the latter to pass the extra cost to consumers (taking the cut from artists is a nonstarter for them), delist the Bandcamp app, or operate it without digital purchases like the iOS app.

Epic's court filing describes Google's policies as monopolistic and even illegal. It echoes the language Epic used in its legal battle against Apple over the right to operate the mobile version of Fortnite without using Apple's payment system.

Despite Epic mostly losing that fight, governments worldwide are starting to legislate against forcing apps to use platform holders' payment systems. Late last month, Dutch regulators mandated that Apple allow local dating apps to use third-party payment processors. Last August, South Korea passed a law forbidding Google and Apple from forcing their payment systems onto apps. Such regulations could clash with Google's upcoming policy change.

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Dd663

Ew, Epic Games acquired Bandcamp? (Doesn't Tencent own a not insignificant portion of Epic Games?)

Ew, Google's enforcing their payment method more?
 

tellmewhy

Posts: 183   +86
If it is a game they can’t offer it via the web because it should run locally but if it is music stream service they can offer it via the web. So why they distribute an app via the store and they don’t distribute just a web shortcut for the desktop.

Anyway I think there is a supreme court decision which says that the apis cannot be copyrighted because their design is in public domain and they can be accessed freely without a fee.

So the os api (which the compiled programs access) is a resource which is public and because of that it’s illegal for someone to restrict the access to them.

The hardware as physical medium is property of the end user and the os doesn’t have rights on that too.

So in short that supreme court decision means when someone makes software which is very close to the hardware and because of that reason that software implements an api as an interface for other software to access the hardware (or even other sofware), then it’s illegal to restrict it (direct or indirect) via a fee.

The apis are public resource and the access to the apis is free.
 
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D

Dd663

If it is a game they can’t offer it via the web because it should run locally but if it is music stream service they can offer it via the web. So why they distribute an app via the store and they don’t distribute just a web shortcut for the desktop.

Anyway I think there is a supreme court decision which says that the apis cannot be copyrighted because their design is in public domain and they can be accessed freely without a fee.

So the os api (which the compiled programs access) is a resource which is public and because of that it’s illegal for someone to restrict the access to them.

The hardware as physical medium is property of the end user and the os doesn’t have rights on that too.

So in short that supreme court decision means when someone makes software which is very close to the hardware and because of that reason that software implements an api as an interface for other software to access the hardware (or even other sofware), then it’s illegal to restrict it (direct or indirect) via a fee.

The apis are public resource and the access to the apis is free.
Though I haven't done research on the subject, from my limited understanding, the uncopyrightability of APIs means that anyone is free to make their own software that clones the API, like how MonoGame copies the API of XNA exactly (with some additions) while not stealing the source code of XNA. I don't think it means anyone is free to use any software with an API as they wish.
 

tellmewhy

Posts: 183   +86
Though I haven't done research on the subject, from my limited understanding, the uncopyrightability of APIs means that anyone is free to make their own software that clones the API, like how MonoGame copies the API of XNA exactly (with some additions) while not stealing the source code of XNA. I don't think it means anyone is free to use any software with an API as they wish.
Though I haven't done research on the subject, from my limited understanding, the uncopyrightability of APIs means that anyone is free to make their own software that clones the API, like how MonoGame copies the API of XNA exactly (with some additions) while not stealing the source code of XNA. I don't think it means anyone is free to use any software with an API as they wish.
An API is an API (Application Programming Interface) when is attached to a backend codebase of an application, if it’s not attached it’s not an API it’s an abstract idea which is uncopyrightable by default anyway.

So if someone has choose to use as an interface for the access of his (copyrightable) software code a public entity(api) in which he has no rights then if he try to restrict the access to his code he is restricting and the access to that public entity (api) too and that last part is illegal.

The copyright protects expression, not functionality. The expression needs a human to perceived the api layer provides functionality to an other program. So the developer de facto with his decision to use an api layer he made the functionality of his code public accessible.

Let’s say someone owns a land which has water in it, if the law says that the water must be public accessible then the owner can’t restrict the access to his land because in that way he restrict and the access to the water and that’s illegal in a more general and strong way because when the law maker said that about the water he thought about the fact that the water can exist inside properties and weighted the priorities in the benefit of public interest.

It’s the same when an obvious crime against life happen inside a private property, the restriction of access to the private property can’t be applied to someone who want prevent the crime because the one legal good (health) has higher priority than he other (property).

The supreme court decision ( https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/18-956_d18f.pdf ) says that the apis are free because the access to the hardware must be free “for the programmers to bring their skills” not because they are free to recreate the apis on other environments.
 
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Dsirius

Posts: 74   +119
If it is a game they can’t offer it via the web because it should run locally but if it is music stream service they can offer it via the web. So why they distribute an app via the store and they don’t distribute just a web shortcut for the desktop.

Anyway I think there is a supreme court decision which says that the apis cannot be copyrighted because their design is in public domain and they can be accessed freely without a fee.

So the os api (which the compiled programs access) is a resource which is public and because of that it’s illegal for someone to restrict the access to them.

The hardware as physical medium is property of the end user and the os doesn’t have rights on that too.

So in short that supreme court decision means when someone makes software which is very close to the hardware and because of that reason that software implements an api as an interface for other software to access the hardware (or even other sofware), then it’s illegal to restrict it (direct or indirect) via a fee.

The apis are public resource and the access to the apis is free.
Thx for info and insights dude, this really help readers to understand what is really about and why is monopolistic to restrict the access.