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Old 05-26-2016, 04:56 PM   #1
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Google wins Oracle copyright fight over Android code

Today, a jury in California's Northern District federal court declared that Google's use of copyright-protected code in Android was fair use, freeing it of any liability. Oracle, which controls the copyright on the code, had been seeking $9 billion for the use of the code.

The case centers around an API developed by Java and owned by Oracle, which allows outside programs to easily interact with Java programs. Android uses the same API, and in 2014 a federal appeals court ruled that Oracle has a valid copyright claim on the API code, potentially putting Google on the hook for billions of dollars in damages. (The Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal.) In the latest round, Google argued that Android's reimplementation of the API constituted fair use, which would allow use of the code without invalidating Oracle's copyright. Ultimately, the jury found that case convincing.

The court fight hinged in large part on archived emails sent by Android founder Andy Rubin, who continued to develop the operating system after it was acquired by Google in 2005. In one email, unearthed through the legal discovery process, Rubin seems to criticize another company's decision to build on top of Java's API, which was owned by Sun Microsystems at the time. "Wish them luck," Rubin wrote in the email. "Java.lang.apis are copyrighted. and Sun gets to say who they license the tck to."
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Old 07-17-2016, 10:18 PM   #2
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To me, this appears to be yet another attempted re-hash of what has by now become established law: that "an API" is a specification, which therefore cannot be copyrighted. If it is "clean-room reverse engineered," as was done with IBM's original BIOS, the owner of the original code continues to own "his" code but cannot object to an altogether-separate program which just happens to do exactly the same thing.

SCO tried for years to twist its copyright ownership of the AT&T Unix® code to "claim ownership of Linux®," and was resoundingly defeated in a long case which also made "" a household name for a while, and which transformed a paralegal into a very important journalist.

If Android indeed built new code which exactly follows the specification published by Oracle, but does not contain any source-code from it, i.e. it truly was an independent effort, then Oracle indeed has no claim against Google.

... and, by now, they should have known that. Guess their lawyers didn't want to tell 'em that.


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