The battle between Oracle and Google seems to be over–after more than a decade. The lawsuit has long been a favorite subject when it comes to the topic of copyright infringement. This started in 2010 when Oracle filed a lawsuit against Google. The latter was said to have copied the Java API owned by Sun Microsystems that was then purchased by Oracle. The APIs had something to do with the creation of Android. The tech giant did not deny the accusations and explained it was fair use so there was no infringement of any copyright.
Over the decade, Google maintained that there was no need to for copyright penalty. A lot has changed with the Android system but the Google-Oracle lawsuit has been seen as one of the biggest cases in the tech industry to look at. Mainly, it’s an example of how APIs must be controlled (or not). Such cases certainly have implications on the development of hardware and software.
The $9 billion case is ending as Oracle has lost. Google won’t be held liable for the “copyright infringement“. The Supreme Court is ending the legal case in favor of Google. The decision was 6-2 to overturn the ruling of a lower court.
Here’s what Justice Stephen Breyer wrote: “In reviewing that decision, we assume, for argument’s sake, that the material was copyrightable. But we hold that the copying here at issue nonetheless constituted a fair use. Hence, Google’s copying did not violate the copyright law.
Computer programs differ to some extent from many other copyrightable works because computer programs always serve a functional purpose. Because of these differences, fair use has an important role to play for computer programs by providing a context- based check that keeps the copyright monopoly afforded to computer programs within its lawful bounds.”
Note that only eight judges joined in the ruling. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed away. Justice Amy Coney Barrett wasn’t part of the group who gave the verdict. The two judges who opposed the ruling were Justice Samuel Alito and Justice Clarence Thomas.
This development, or should we say, the end of the battle will be likely seen as useful especially in the tech industry. In this business, there has been discussion about control of the APIs when it comes to software development. Fair use is a topic of ongoing debate. We believe related talks won’t be over. But for Oracle and Google, it’s done.