Google Copied Java, Jury Says; Fair Use Question Open - InformationWeek
Government // Enterprise Architecture
03:33 PM
Connect Directly
Moving UEBA Beyond the Ground Floor
Sep 20, 2017
This webinar will provide the details you need about UEBA so you can make the decisions on how bes ...Read More>>

Google Copied Java, Jury Says; Fair Use Question Open

Judge Alsup rejects Oracle counsel David Boies' claim for "infringer's profits" from nine copied lines of Java code as "bordering on the ridiculous."

Google infringed Oracle's copyrighted Java APIs when it created its Android operating system, a jury in San Francisco decided on Monday. But Google did not violate Oracle's Java documentation copyrights, the jury found.

Delivering a partial verdict after more than four days of deliberation, the jury could not agree on whether Google's use of Oracle's APIs was defensible as fair use.

Here's how Oracle's legal team graphically depicted the issue to the jury:

Android is not a clean room implementation

The test for whether infringement is allowable as fair use depends on the purpose of the copying, the creativity of the copied work, the quality and quantity of copying, and the effect the copy has on the market for the original.

In response to the incompleteness of the jury's ruling, Google moved for a mistrial. The judge hearing the case, William Alsup, will consider Google's argument in support of its motion later this week.

The trial, pending since last August when Oracle filed its lawsuit against Google, began in mid-April and is expected to continue through May: Oracle's two patent claims have yet to be considered. Oracle initially sought $1 billion in damages. Presently, it appears Oracle is unlikely to win any more than $100 million, even if it prevails in its patent claims.

Google's copyright infringement--nine lines of code in the rangeCheck method in and ComparableTimSort.Java, code since excised from Android--may not by itself be enough for Oracle to win significant damages. After the jury delivered its verdict and left the room temporarily, Judge Alsup rejected Oracle counsel David Boies's claim for "infringer's profits" from the nine copied lines as "bordering on the ridiculous." The amount of any penalty imposed on Google won't be known until the conclusion of the patent phase of the trial, which began on Monday immediately following the partial verdict.

[ What is the possible fallout for developers from this case? Read Oracle And The End Of Programming As We Know It . ]

Judge Alsup has also indicated that he will rule on whether APIs can be copyrighted if infringement has been found. Google insists APIs cannot be copyrighted and a recent EU court decision supports that view. Last week, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in SAS Institute Inc. v World Programming Ltd. that neither the functionality of computer program nor the format of its data files are expressive enough to merit copyright protection.

"We appreciate the jury's efforts, and know that fair use and infringement are two sides of the same coin," Google said in an emailed statement. "The core issue is whether the APIs here are copyrightable, and that's for the court to decide. We expect to prevail on this issue and Oracle's other claims."

Oracle also thanked the jury for its service in a statement that cast Google as a license scofflaw. "The overwhelming evidence demonstrated that Google knew it needed a license and that its unauthorized fork of Java in Android shattered Java's central write once run anywhere principle," the company said. "Every major commercial enterprise--except Google--has a license for Java and maintains compatibility to run across all computing platforms."

The infringement ruling comes at a time when Google faces the imminent possibility of formal antitrust investigations of its search business in the U.S, Europe, Asia, and South America.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2012 | 9:39:07 PM
re: Google Copied Java, Jury Says; Fair Use Question Open
Wow. Oracle's "API infringement" submission was very small and tenuous at best, but I suppose kudos must go to their team for managing to smear FUD all over it and sell it to the jury as they did.

If API's are indeed ruled as copyright-protected then dark days are coming to the USA.

In retrospect maybe Google should have bought Sun before Oracle was able to get its slimy tentacles on it.
User Rank: Apprentice
5/7/2012 | 9:31:59 PM
re: Google Copied Java, Jury Says; Fair Use Question Open
At least the indentation is better. Kidding aside, this method is invalid and fails to protect against out of range access: element n of an n sized zero-based array is unprotected.
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Strategies to Conquer the Cloud
Chances are your organization is adopting cloud computing in one way or another -- or in multiple ways. Understanding the skills you need and how cloud affects IT operations and networking will help you adapt.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll