Tag: supreme

07
Oct
2020
Posted in software

Today’s Supreme Court Hearing On A $9 Billion Case Involving Oracle And Google Could Reshape The Software Industry

In a landmark moment in the history of the U.S. software industry, the Supreme Court held a hearing today on a long-running legal dispute that pits tech giants Oracle and Google against one another.

The case centers around whether or not a key foundation of today’s increasingly software-driven economy—blocks of code known as “application programming interfaces”, or APIs—is subject to copyright protection. Oracle claims Google infringed copyright when it used elements of the Oracle-owned Java programming language to build its Android operating system, which now powers billions of smartphones and other devices. Google denies the claim, which involves about 11,500 lines of code out of millions of new lines that it wrote to create Android. The two companies have been battling one another in the courts for over a decade, with Oracle demanding $9 billion in compensation.

The outcome of this epic legal fight matters because APIs, which enable different software applications to talk to one another and swap information, are essential for building larger systems. Developers at startups and large companies have been copying them for free for years and using them to knit together complex tapestries of applications that power online commerce platforms, advanced manufacturing facilities and other elements of modern digital economies.

If the Supreme Court ultimately rules Google did infringe Oracle’s copyright when it copied the Java APIs in question, it could trigger a tsunami of litigation as other companies seek payments for their APIs too. Google’s supporters, which include Microsoft and IBM, argue this will prove a costly headache for many companies. Some fear it will also have a chilling effect on startups and further boost the immense power of cash-rich tech platforms—including, ironically, Google itself—that are already under intense political and regulatory scrutiny.

“Huge corporations like

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

07
Oct
2020
Posted in software

Supreme Court weighs the future of software in Google-Oracle case

The Supreme Court justices appeared highly aware Wednesday that their decision in a copyright dispute between Google and Oracle could have far-reaching consequences for Silicon Valley, but after an hour and a half of arguments it was not clear which company’s dire warning they most seemed to believe.

Each of the court’s eight justices grilled attorneys representing Google and Oracle, as well as the U.S. deputy solicitor general, in a case that could upend the tech industry’s understanding of who owns small but essential chunks of code that allow different programs and platforms to connect.

Questions for Google: The justices lobbed some of their toughest questions at Google’s attorney, Tom Goldstein, scrutinizing his argument that Google copied code from Oracle because it had no other option. Google has asserted that the code is necessary for developers to create applications for its Android operating system and that these application programming interfaces, or APIs, are widely used without a license.

“Cracking the safe may be the only way to get the money that you want but that doesn’t mean you can do it,” Chief Justice John Roberts said.

Roberts added that when the code in question was first created by Sun Microsystems and later acquired by Oracle, there was more than one way to write it. He and several other justices surmised Google copied Oracle’s code because it was already popular with developers and more expedient than writings it own.

Justice Neil Gorsuch said, “The argument strikes me very much as, ‘I wish to share the facilities of a more successful rival because they’ve come up with a particularly elegant, or efficient, or successful highly adopted solution in the marketplace,’ and ride on their innovation.”

Questions for Oracle: Oracle’s attorney, Joshua Rosenkranz, pushed the idea that declaring it legal to copy

07
Oct
2020
Posted in software

Supreme Court takes on Google vs. Oracle: The biggest software development case ever

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and other issues, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will finally hold oral arguments in Google v. Oracle on Oct. 7, 2020. This case will decide, without exaggeration, the future of software development and billions of dollars.

Seriously. 

As the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) states, “allowing copyright on APIs is a terrible idea for computer science.” That’s because almost all modern software depends on open APIs. When your web browser works with Amazon, Apple, Microsoft — any complex site really — it communicates through APIs. When your smartphone shows you the weather, directions to your doctor’s office, or a video, it uses APIs to bridge the gap between services and servers and your devices. 

That’s the theory. Developers see the reality of the threat. Hannu Valtonen, chief product officer at Aiven said: 

It’s clear that an Oracle win would not be in the best interest for the software community as a whole. For startups like ours, an Oracle win would change the ability to be compatible with third-party applications and partners, as companies would have to create entirely new, but similar, APIs rather than use what already exists in the market. It would also make the current competition between tech giants much more cutthroat, as companies could potentially block the use of an API without payment and become “gatekeepers,” therefore fracturing the software environment. From an end-user standpoint, many organizations investing in software understand the need for neutral platform partners that promote successful and open innovation. An Oracle win could change this significantly, setting the software industry back a decade.”

And, it goes on and on. 

Oracle argued Google had infringed Oracle’s copyright, by copying the “structure, sequence, and organization” of 37 Java APIs into Android. Google replied that an API is like

07
Oct
2020
Posted in software

The Future of Software Is at Stake in Google’s Latest Trip to the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will finally hear arguments in a case that could rewrite the rules of software development as we know it. On Wednesday, Google will defend its use of Java code in the development of the Android operating system. Oracle claims that code is protected intellectual property, and if the court agrees, there are a lot of developers who should be nervous.





© Photo: Brendan Smialowski (Getty Images)


It’s been a decade since Oracle first sued Google, and it’s been nearly two years since the Supreme Court agreed to review the case. In that time, the Android OS has taken over about 75 percent of the mobile market—becoming one of the most successful pieces of software in history. But like all software, Android is a product of ingenuity and building on the work of others.

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During its initial development, Google wanted Android to understand commands that were used in the Java SE platform. To make this happen, it used a bunch of code to declare methods that are available in Android and Java. This code is known as an API. It’s very common to use APIs in development, and Google wanted Java developers to feel at home on Android. While most of the code in Android was proprietary, it used 11,000 lines of code for the Java API— just 0.5% of the 3 million lines of code that make up Java SE. Plenty of other developers out there threw this code into their projects at the time, but Android was big enough to get Oracle’s attention, and in 2010 it sued for copyright infringement.

So far, a jury agreed with Google in 2016, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned that ruling in 2018. At issue is the complicated application of copyright law