When push comes to shove, Oracle isn’t going to collect $1 billion, much less $6 billion from Google’s use of Java in Android, concludes IT law blog Groklaw.
“Don’t let anyone fool you. Today was a major victory for Google. That’s why after the jury left, our reporter says that Google’s table was laughing, and Oracle’s mighty glum,” Groklaw wrote. “Remember the headlines about this being a $6 billion dollar case? It never was and now it never will be.”
The jury found Google partially guilty. But it’s not going to matter much because, after all was said and done, the only copyright violation found was 9 lines of code — out of millions. Google admitted to copying them and had already, long ago, removed them. Oracle was forced to admit that these nine lines of code didn’t have any monetary value. So the damages Oracle could collect is zero.
Although the jury did find that APIs could be copyrighted, it didn’t decide the bigger issue. That is what constitutes fair use and did Google violate that? Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without acquiring permission from the rights holders.
And, despite what the jury found, the judge could still rule that application programming interface can’t be copyrighted at all — which would be far healthier for the software industry, since the software industry has been operating on this assumption forever. That is, it’s ok to use another’s APIs (APIs let one software program talk to another) so long as you don’t go ahead and copy and paste the other software program, too.
Next up will be the patent infringement portion of this battle.
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