Supreme Court sides with Google in Oracle software dispute
A US Supreme Court sided with Google on Monday in a copyright dispute with Oracle over lines of code used in the Android software.
Oracle was seeking up to $9bn in compensation for the use of 12 lines of code that were copied from the Java application programming interface developed by Sun Microsystems that was bought by Oracle in 2010.
Google claimed that the software used by Android that was developed by Sun Microsystems was under doctrine of fair use and not subject to liability.
According to a report by CNBC, the court sided 6-2 in favour of Google.
Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the majority opinion in the case, agreed that Google’s use of the code was protected under fair use, noting that Google took “only what was needed to allow users to put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program.”
“To the extent that Google used parts of the Sun Java API to create a new platform that could be readily used by programmers, its use was consistent with that creative ‘progress’ that is the basic constitutional objective of copyright itself,” Breyer added.
The case, one of the most significant of the term, featured a high-profile battle over competing visions of the future of software development.
The case was originally scheduled to be heard last term before it was delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president for global affairs, said on Twitter after the decision was released that “Today’s Supreme Court decision in Google v. Oracle is a big win for innovation, interoperability & computing.”
“Thanks to the country’s leading innovators, software engineers & copyright scholars for their support,” Walker wrote.
In a statement, Oracle said that “the Google platform just got bigger and market power greater. The barriers to entry higher and the ability to compete lower.”
“They stole Java and spent a decade litigating as only a monopolist can. This behavior is exactly why regulatory authorities around the world and in the United States are examining Google’s business practices,” Oracle said.