Supreme Court sides with Google in Oracle’s code copyright case

Supreme Court sides with Google in Oracle’s code copyright case
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Daily US Times: A decade-long battle between two US tech giants Google and Oracle over copied code in Google’s Android operating system has ended in the US Supreme Court.

Oracle, another US tech giant, had sued Google in 2010 for copyright infringement over what it said was copied computer code.

Android operating systems is now used in an estimated 70 percent of global smartphones, and damages could have run into the billions of dollars.

But the US Supreme Court let Google off the blame, overturning lower court’s decision that Google had infringed copyright.

The Supreme Court ruled six to two in favour of Google.

At issue was whether Google’s use of Oracle’s Java API – a widely-used “building block” for programmers – cinsidered by the judges as “fair use” under US copyright law.

If it was, the fact that Google was accused of copying more than eleven thousand lines of code from Oracle’s Java API would not matter.

In his written opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer said that “to allow enforcement of Oracle’s copyright here would risk harm to the public”.

So many programmers had deep knowledge about Oracle’s building blocks and used it and that such a move would turn computer code into “a lock limiting the future creativity of new programs”.

He warned: “Oracle alone would hold the key.”

After the ruling, Oracle made clear that it firmly disagreed with the judgement, saying that the ruling had increased Google’s power further and damaged other companies’ ability to compete.

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