Tag: Decadelong

07
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

What Is Fair Use? Google vs. Oracle Brings Decade-Long Copyright Battle To Supreme Court

KEY POINTS

  • 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

05
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Decade-long Oracle-Google copyright case heads to top US court

A decade-old legal battle between Silicon Valley giants Oracle and Google over software rights moves to the Supreme Court Wednesday, in a case with enormous implications for copyright in the digital era.

The top court scheduled oral arguments in the case which dates back to a lawsuit filed in 2010 by Oracle seeking billions from Google over its use of Java programming language in its Android mobile operating system.

Two separate jury trials ended with a determination that Google’s “software interface” did not unfairly use Java code, saving the internet giant from a possible multibillion-dollar verdict.

But an appeals court in 2018 disagreed, saying the software interface is entitled to copyright protection, prompting Google to take the case to the highest US court.

Oracle, which in 2010 obtained the rights to Java when it acquired Sun Microsystems — which had supported Google’s use of Java for Android — sought $9 billion in damages in its original complaint.

Google and many Silicon Valley allies have argued that extending copyright protection to bits of code, called application programming interfaces, or APIs, would threaten innovation in the fast-evolving digital world.

According to Google, a win for Oracle would “upend the longstanding expectation of software developers that they are free to use existing computer software interfaces to build new programs.” 

The Developers Alliance, a nonprofit group which includes app makers and other tech firms, filed a supporting brief making a similar argument, arguing that “without shared APIs, every device and program is an island, and modern software development simply cannot happen.” 

– The monopoly question –

The American Antitrust Institute argued in an amicus brief that allowing Oracle to maintain copyright protection “may slow innovation and competition in software-dependent markets,” and “may cement software-based monopolies.”

The hearing comes amid heightened scrutiny of large technology