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Supreme Court rules in Google’s favor in copyright dispute with Oracle

Accepted submission by DannyB at 2021-04-05 16:56:42 from the please-stop-google-using-our-gpl-licensed-code dept.
Digital Liberty

Supreme Court rules in Google’s favor in copyright dispute with Oracle over Android software [cnbc.com]

The Supreme Court on Monday sided with Google [cnbc.com] against Oracle [cnbc.com] in a long-running copyright dispute over the software used in Android, the mobile operating system.

The court’s decision [supremecourt.gov] was 6-2. Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who was not yet confirmed by the Senate when the case was argued in October, [cnbc.com] did not participate in the case.

The case concerned about 12,000 lines of code that Google used to build Android that were copied from the Java application programming interface developed by Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired in 2010. It was seen as a landmark dispute over what types of computer code are protected under American copyright law.

Oracle had claimed at points to be owed as much as $9 billion, while Google claimed that its use of the code was covered under the doctrine of fair use and therefore not subject to copyright liability. Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world.

See also:
Supreme Court hands Google a victory in a multibillion-dollar case against Oracle [cnn.com]

In addition to resolving a multibillion-dollar dispute between the tech titans, the ruling helps affirm a longstanding practice in software development. But the Court declined to weigh in on the broader question of whether APIs are copyrightable.

Justices wary of upending tech industry in Google v. Oracle Supreme Court fight [cnbc.com]

Several of the other justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, suggested they were sympathetic to Oracle’s copyright claims.

Still, they appeared reluctant to rule in Oracle’s favor because of arguments made by leading computer scientists and Microsoft, [cnbc.com] in friend-of-the-court briefs, that doing so could upend the industry.


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