The battle between Oracle and Google seems to be over, after more than a decade. Lawsuit has long been a hot topic 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 which was later purchased by Oracle. APIs had something to do with the creation of Android. The tech giant did not deny the allegations, explaining that it was a fair use, so no copyright was infringed.
During the decade, Google maintained that there was no need to penalize copyrights. Much has changed with the Android system, but the lawsuit between Google and Oracle has been considered one of the most important cases in the technology industry. Mainly, it is an example of how APIs should (or should not) be controlled. These cases certainly have implications for hardware and software development.
The $ 9 billion case is ending because Oracle has lost. Google is not responsible for “copyright infringement”. The Supreme Court is ending the legal case in favor of Google. The decision was 6-2 to overturn a lower court ruling.
This is what Judge Stephen Breyer wrote: “In reviewing that decision, we assumed, for the sake of argument, that the material was copyrighted. But we contend that the copy in question here is nonetheless fair use. Therefore, the Google copy did not violate copyright law.
Computer programs differ somewhat from many other copyrighted 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 context-based verification that maintains the monopoly on copyright granted to computer programs within its legal limits. “
Note that only eight judges joined the ruling. Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed away. Judge Amy Coney Barrett was not part of the group that rendered the verdict. The two judges who opposed the ruling were Judge Samuel Alito and Judge Clarence Thomas.
This development, or should we say the end of the battle, will likely be seen as useful, especially in the tech industry. In this business, there has been a debate about controlling APIs when it comes to software development. Fair use is a subject of ongoing debate. We believe the related conversations will not end. But for Oracle and Google, it’s done.