I am an vocal opponent of the idea of standardization around AWS API *at this point of time*. I think that it is too early to standardize and too risky especially when Amazon has not released the APIs under one of the open licenses like Creative Commons. Stephen O’Grady from Redmonk highlights the second part very well in his blog post and I thought it is worth sharing in this space.
That said, it’s worth noting that many large entities are already behaving as if APIs are in fact copyrightable. The most obvious indication of this is Amazon. Most large vendors we have spoken with consider Amazon’s APIs a non-starter, given the legal uncertainties regarding the intellectual property involved. Vendors may in certain cases be willing to outsource that risk to a smaller third party – particularly one that’s explicitly licensed like a Eucalyptus [coverage]. But in general the low risk strategy for them has been to assume that Amazon would or could leverage their intellectual property rights – copyright or otherwise – around the APIs in question, and to avoid them as a result. Amazon, while having declined to assert itself directly on this basis, has also done nothing to discourage the perception that it has strict control of usage of its APIs. In doing so, it has effectively turned licensed access to the APIs into a negotiable asset, presumably an outcome that advocates of copyrightable APIs would like to see made common.
I think it is time to not repeat the mistakes of the past and standardize around a proprietary technology. As I told before AWS-Eucalyptus deal happened because AWS is weak on the enterprise market and anything that can bolster their credentials there will be ok for Amazon now. However, AWS may not be so “friendly” on the service provider side because they don’t want federation (a.k.a competition). Any arguments in favor of standardization around AWS APIs at this point of time is short sighted at best. #endsaturdayrant