By way of a short primer for those who have not followed the matter closely, the case dealt with 37 API packages released by Oracle (at the time Sun Microsystems) which pertained to its Java platform. Google sought to implement Java into its budding mobile operating system, Android, but both parties could not agree on a proper licencing arrangement. Nevertheless, Google implemented the APIs into its own platform, Dalvik, which consisted of 160 different APIs (of which 37 were Java APIs). Due their verbatim copying into the Dalvik platform, Oracle took Google to court, asserting copyright infringement.
After the earlier decision in various stages in the US judicial system, Google consistently lost and was deemed to have infringed the copyright in the APIs. The jury in this instance sought to look at whether Google's use amounted to fair use, and thus not infringing the rights in the works. This decision was hugely important, as Google faced damages totalling nearly $10 billion.
|Blake couldn't contain himself at the thought of |
unlimited, free APIs
Although there is not much to discuss on the substantive side of the case, as is usual in this blog, the decision still is an important development in the world of technology and computer programming. As Google's statement on the win expresses: "Today's verdict that Android makes fair use of Java APIs represents a win for the Android ecosystem, for the Java programming community, and for software developers who rely on open and free programming languages to build innovative consumer products". Arguably, Google does have a point. Java has become night ubiquitous in the computing sphere (although the emergence of HTML5 could, arguably, make it obsolete), and a lack of an ability to use the technology would severely hinder any attempts of building a popular, fleshed-out operating system. On the other side of the coin, this is a blow for reaping from what you've sown, and Oracle has a right to be upset with their loss (and incredibly monetary loss through unacquired licencing fees for the hugely popular Android platform).
Many in the software industry seem to welcome the decision, such as Al Hilwa, who saw that "... most developers would likely prefer not to be burdened by copyrights around APIs". This writer is puzzled with this response, since many programmers might not be so keen to share the fruits of their labor for free. Oracle have indicated that they will appeal the decision, and this writer keenly awaits any new developments in the never-ending story that is Oracle v Google.
Source: BBC News