Friday, May 27, 2016

Copyright questions remain after Google’s fair use victory – TechCrunch

If you didn’t already know the jury’s decision in Oracle’s long-operating lawsuit versus Google, you wouldn’t have actually been able to guess it from looking at either company’s legal group yesterday. Minutes after the verdict was read, both sets of high-powered intellectual property lawyers huddled up and spoke softly, devoid of any outward signs that Oracle had simply lost a essential round in its battle to extract up to $9 billion from Google’s pockets.

The jury found that Google’s implementation of Java APIs in Android was reasonable use, a decision that will certainly not only save Google from writing a huge check yet will certainly additionally provide developers a little breathing room as they build their own Java products. yet it’s a complicated success since a prior court already found that the APIs in question are copyrightable, and even the reasonable use win may not last forever. Oracle has actually already said it will certainly appeal.

“It’s interesting since APIs are still copyrighted,” Duke computer science professor Owen Astrachan says. Astrachan testified in the copyright and reasonable use cases as an expert witness for Google, and said he jumped up and down in his hotel room as soon as he saw news of the verdict on Twitter. “Does every use have actually to be tried as a reasonable use case? It’s interesting. Oracle has actually deep enough pockets where they can easily go after anybody.”

The question of whether they’ll have actually to defend their job in court still lingers for developers. Despite the fact that a developer’s reimplementation of Java could qualify as reasonable use, no one wishes to end up fighting concerning it in court versus a deep-pocketed corporation enjoy Oracle. Advocacy organizations enjoy the EFF have actually argued that it would certainly be much easier and safer for the developer community to not restrict API labels under copyright at all.

Google’s lawyers structured their arguments to the four core tenets of reasonable use, a strategy Astrachan says appears to have actually played well along with the jury. Attorneys and witnesses proposed analogies for implementing code that appears bizarre — the APIs in question were compared to filing cabinets, hamburgers, electrical outlets, steering wheels, and even the Harry Potter series over the road of the two-week trial — yet the strange comparisons ultimately had the desired effect.

“Maybe the hamburger and the outlet and the steering wheel — I believe they must’ve worked,” Astrachan said, adding that after the jury’s decision was announced, “We were joking concerning going to grab hamburgers.”

Instead, Google’s legal group ended up celebrating along with champagne.

The celebratory mood didn’t extend to Oracle’s offices. Intellectual property attorney Annette Hurst, that represented Oracle in the case, published a blog post on LinkedIn today denouncing the verdict. She suggested the Oracle group was blindsided by the decision, writing, “No copyright expert would certainly have actually ever predicted such a use would certainly be considered fair.”

“Not only will certainly creators everywhere suffer from this decision if it remains intact, yet the free software movement itself now faces substantial jeopardy,” Hurst added. “It is hard to see exactly how ownership of a copy of any software protected by copyright can easily survive this result. Software businesses now need to accelerate their move to the cloud where every little thing can easily be controlled as a service quite compared to software.”

Hurst’s argument that Google harmed open source software along with the creation of Android echoed the comments made by Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz throughout her testimony. Catz said that the introduction of Android forked the Java open source community, dividing developers between the two platforms.

Hurst closed her information by chastising the development community and invoking Richard Stallman, an activist and programmer that helped pioneer the free and open software movement. “You must have actually been on Oracle’s edge in this fight. Free stuff from Google does not mean free in the sense Richard Stallman ever intended it,” she wrote.

After 5 years of legal wrangling, it’s not most likely that numerous of Oracle’s outspoken critics will certainly modification their minds. yet there’s constantly the appeal.

Featured Image: corgarashu/Shutterstock

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