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Oracle Files Opening Brief at U.S. Supreme Court in Copyright Fight with Google

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Oracle Files Opening Brief at U.S. Supreme Court in Copyright Fight with Google

Postby MrFredPFL » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:50 pm

Story :

In the latest stage of the Supreme Court battle between Oracle America, Inc. (Oracle) and Google, Oracle filed its opening brief with the Court on February 12. Google’s petition for a writ of certiorari was granted in November 2019 and asks the Court to consider: “1. Whether copyright protection extends to a software interface” and “2. Whether, as the jury found, petitioner’s use of a software interface in the context of creating a new computer program constitutes fair use.”

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) previously unanimously reversed a district court decision that held Oracle’s code as uncopyrightable, finding it well established that copyright protection for software programs can extend to both code and their structure or organization. Oracle is suing Google for $8.8 billion in lost revenue.

Java SE, originally authored by the company Sun, has an audience of developers who use the platform to assist them in writing programs (apps). Those who purchase Java SE are manufacturers that license and install it on devices to run those apps. Oracle continued work on Java SE after it acquired Sun. Oracle explains that before Java SE, apps would not typically run across devices with different operating systems (say, Windows and Mac), and therefore the app developers had to rewrite each app for each individual operating system. Java SE solved this problem with its “write once, run anywhere” module. In order to create Java SE, Sun created modules that developers could incorporate into their own apps known as “ready-to-use programs.” Each program (method) performs a discrete function and is organized into an intricate collection of classes that group similar methods and define the individual data types on which the methods operate. Similar classes are then grouped together as “packages.” Interfaces were also created to connect related methods across packages and classes. Overall, Sun offered 30,000 methods organized into 3,000 classes and 166 packages in order to save developers time, but developers also had the option to write their own Java code to perform similar functions. Even Google’s Java expert declared writing and organizing the programs as a creative process, argues Oracle.

Oracle believes that the quality of this code and its broad licensing program spurred “boundless innovation” by attracting 6 million developers and becoming the leading platform for developing and running apps on personal devices. Oracle even offered free open source licenses to app developers to create apps for Java SE in exchange for the licensee giving back their improvements to the public, and therefore relied on its licenses to device manufacturers and large competing platform developers to make a profit.

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