Supreme Court Weighs Copyright Fight Between Google and Oracle

The Supreme Court on Wednesday considered a multibillion-dollar copyright battle between

Oracle Corp.

and

Alphabet Inc.’s

Google, with justices appearing to look for a resolution that would retain legal protections for software code without throwing the tech industry into disarray.

During about 90 minutes of oral arguments, the justices considered issues related to how software developers use application-program interfaces, or APIs—prewritten packages of computer code that allow programs, websites or apps to talk to one another.

Oracle has accused Google of illegally copying more than 11,000 lines of Java API code to develop its Android operating system, which runs more than two billion mobile devices world-wide.

Google’s unlicensed use of that code is no better than “if someone wanted to write a book that reproduced the 11,000 best lines of ‘Seinfeld’,” Oracle lawyer Joshua Rosenkranz told the court.

Mr. Rosenkranz said

Microsoft Corp.

and

Apple Inc.

spent billions developing their

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Supreme Court Hears Copyright Battle Between Google and Oracle

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court considered on Wednesday whether Google should have to pay Oracle billions of dollars in a long-running lawsuit over software used on many of the world’s smartphones, wrestling during a lively argument with the potentially enormous implications of what has been called the copyright case of the decade.

Several justices noted how consequential a decision in the case could be. “I’m concerned,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. told a lawyer for Google, “that, under your argument, all computer code is at risk of losing protection.”

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. noted the opposite concern. “We’re told that if we agree with Oracle, we will ruin our tech industry in the United States,” he said.

The justices heard the argument by telephone, and they used a series of low-tech analogies to test the two sides’ arguments. Their questions included ones on safecracking, football playbooks, typewriter keyboards,

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What Is Fair Use? Google vs. Oracle Brings Decade-Long Copyright Battle To Supreme Court

KEY POINTS

  • Oral arguments were held before the Supreme Court over the copyright case between Oracle and Google
  • Google stands to pay Oracle nearly $9 billion for 11,000 lines of code in Android software if the court rules in Oracle’s favor
  • Big tech is throwing in behind Google while media and entertainment companies and the Trump administration is backing Oracle

The Supreme Court faces upending the tech industry by determining whether Google stole code from Oracle in building its Android operating system in a case that could redefine the meaning of the fair use doctrine. All eight justices on Wednesday grilled the tech giants’ legal teams as well the U.S. deputy solicitor general in a potentially far-reaching case.

Google said its incorporation of 11,500 lines of Oracle Java code constitutes fair use, while Oracle argued the action violated its ownership rights. The lawsuit has been working its way through the

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Supreme Court wrestles with Google-Oracle copyright battle that could upend tech industry

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court wrestled at length Wednesday over a $9 billion copyright battle between tech giants Google and Oracle that has gone on for a decade.

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But after an extended, 90-minute oral argument conducted by telephone in deference to the COVID-19 pandemic, several justices indicated their solution might be to send the case back to a lower court for even more review.

A majority of justices appeared to doubt that Google had the right to copy some of Oracle’s Java programming language to create Android, the world’s most popular mobile software. But they worried that a ruling against Google could set back software innovation by requiring costly duplication.



logo: The Supreme Court agreed to hear a multi-billion dollar copyright dispute between Google and Oracle.


© KAREN BLEIER, AFP/Getty Images
The Supreme Court agreed to hear a multi-billion dollar copyright dispute between Google and Oracle.

Start the day smarter. Get all

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Copyright, Computer Code Debated In Google-Oracle Court Clash

US Supreme Court justices peppered lawyers for Google and Oracle with questions on computer code and copyright Wednesday in a court clash which could have major ramifications for the technology sector and digital innovation.

Oral arguments were heard in a decade-old legal battle between the two Silicon Valley giants stemming from Oracle’s claim that Google illegally copied parts of the Java programming language to develop its Android mobile operating system.

The case revolves around whether copyright protection should be extended to application software interfaces (APIs), or the bit of code that allow programs and apps to work together, and if so, whether Google’s implementation was a “fair use” of copyrighted material.

In the court session held remotely, Google attorney Thomas Goldstein argued that the practice of reusing software interfaces “is critical to modern interoperable computer software” and allows developers “to write millions of creative applications that are used by more

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Google and Oracle clash in software copyright case before Supreme Court

Google and Oracle faced off Wednesday before the US Supreme Court in a multibillion dollar battle that could have a major effect on how companies develop software in the future. 



a tall glass building: The Supreme Court building in Washington, DC. Getty Images


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The Supreme Court building in Washington, DC. Getty Images

The two tech giants are clashing over the architecture of Google’s Android operating system, the dominant mobile software on the planet. At the center of the fight is a question of copyright protections for application programming interfaces, or APIs, which govern how code communicates with other bits of code. 

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Android was built in part by using APIs from Java, which was developed by Sun Microsystems. Oracle bought Sun in 2010 and later sued Google for allegedly illegal use of the software. Oracle has said it’s owed almost $9 billion in damages. 

For Google, the investment in Android paid off. The software powers almost nine of

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Supreme Court hears Oracle’s claims that Google violated copyright law in using Java to create Android

The case, which has broad ramifications for the software industry, has bounced around various courts over the years. In 2016, jurors ruled Google’s use of the Java code was permitted as “fair use” under federal copyright law. Two years later, a federal appeals court overturned that, ruling that there is “nothing fair about taking a copyrighted work verbatim and using it for the same purpose and function as the original in a competing platform.”

The dispute centers on the technical way software developers use application programming interfaces, or APIs. That’s the computer code that enables websites and applications to work together. APIs also reduce the amount of basic computer coding developers need to write with each program.

Google contends that it only used the pieces of Java code that it could not re-create when developing Android.

“Software programs have always worked with each other, that’s why you can take a

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Supreme Court to mull Google bid to end Oracle copyright suit

By Jan Wolfe



a close up of a toy: A 3D printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration


© Reuters/DADO RUVIC
A 3D printed Android mascot Bugdroid is seen in front of a Google logo in this illustration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday is set to consider whether to protect Alphabet Inc’s Google from a long-running lawsuit by Oracle Corp accusing it of infringing Oracle copyrights to build the Android operating system that runs most of the world’s smartphones.

The shorthanded court, down one justice following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month, is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Google’s appeal of a lower court ruling reviving the lawsuit in which Oracle has sought at least $8 billion in damages. The arguments will be held by teleconference because of the coronavirus pandemic.



a large tall tower with a clock at the top of a building: FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court is seen through the U.S. Capitol columns in Washington


© Reuters/ERIN SCOTT
FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court is seen through the U.S. Capitol columns in Washington

A jury cleared Google in 2016, but the U.S.

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Google, Oracle meet in copyright clash at Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tech giants Google and Oracle are clashing at the Supreme Court in a copyright dispute that’s worth billions and important to the future of software development.

The case before the justices Wednesday has to do with Google’s creation of the Android operating system now used on the vast majority of smartphones worldwide. Google says that to create Android, which was released in 2007, it wrote millions of lines of new computer code. But it also used 11,330 lines of code and an organization that’s part of Oracle’s Java platform.

Google has defended its actions, saying what it did is long-settled, common practice in the industry, a practice that has been good for technical progress. But Oracle says Google “committed an egregious act of plagiarism” and sued, seeking more than $8 billion.

The case has been going on for a decade. Google won the first round when a

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Decade-long Oracle-Google Copyright Case Heads To Top US Court

A decade-old legal battle between Silicon Valley giants Oracle and Google over software rights moves to the Supreme Court Wednesday, in a case with enormous implications for copyright in the digital era.

The top court scheduled oral arguments in the case which dates back to a lawsuit filed in 2010 by Oracle seeking billions from Google over its use of Java programming language in its Android mobile operating system.

Two separate jury trials ended with a determination that Google’s “software interface” did not unfairly use Java code, saving the internet giant from a possible multibillion-dollar verdict.

But an appeals court in 2018 disagreed, saying the software interface is entitled to copyright protection, prompting Google to take the case to the highest US court.

Oracle, which in 2010 obtained the rights to Java when it acquired Sun Microsystems — which had supported Google’s use of Java for Android — sought $9

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