- Oral arguments were held before the Supreme Court over the copyright case between Oracle and Google
- Google stands to pay Oracle nearly $9 billion for 11,000 lines of code in Android software if the court rules in Oracle’s favor
- Big tech is throwing in behind Google while media and entertainment companies and the Trump administration is backing Oracle
The Supreme Court faces upending the tech industry by determining whether Google stole code from Oracle in building its Android operating system in a case that could redefine the meaning of the fair use doctrine. All eight justices on Wednesday grilled the tech giants’ legal teams as well the U.S. deputy solicitor general in a potentially far-reaching case.
Google said its incorporation of 11,500 lines of Oracle Java code constitutes fair use, while Oracle argued the action violated its ownership rights. The lawsuit has been working its way through the courts for a decade with Oracle claiming it is owed $9 billion for use of its code.
Google attorney Thomas Goldstein said Google used only the parts of the code that could not be changed but had originated the rest. Oracle attorney Joshua Rosenkranz said Google had other options, even if they were more expensive.
“The Copyright Act does not give Google a pass just because it would be expensive to recreate our expression,” Rosenkranz said.
Along with Microsoft, tech companies like Mozilla and IBM threw their support behind Google by arguing tech companies need the freedom to build new programming platforms without worrying about licenses and copyrights.
Several news outlets, entertainment companies and the Trump administration, however, put their weight behind Oracle, arguing these industries rely on the enforcement of strong copyright laws.
“We are told if we agree with Oracle we will ruin the tech industry in the