- The US Supreme Court has sided with Google in its 10-year legal dispute with Oracle.
- The battle ensued over Google’s use of Java code, which Oracle developed.
- The court ruled 6-2 that Google “did not violate the copyright law.”
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The US Supreme Court has overturned Oracle’s high-profile copyright win over Google, delivering a landmark ruling for the software industry.
The ruling is a sizable win for Google following a lengthy 10-year legal battle. The court on Monday ruled 6-2 that Google’s use of Java code, developed by Oracle, “did not violate the copyright law” and was done under fair-use provisions.
The core of the battle was Oracle’s claim that Google unfairly used key pieces of its Java programming framework in building the Android operating system. Oracle claimed that in doing so Google violated the Java copyright.
Google, for its part, said that its usage of Java constitutes fair use. Legal experts and industry insiders were watching the case closely, given that its outcome would set a strong legal precedent for whether it’s possible to copyright certain code – and, in doing so, setting limits on how software is built and distributed.
In a statement shared with Insider, Oracle said: “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.”
“The Supreme Court’s clear ruling is a victory for consumers, interoperability, and computer science,” Google’s senior vice president of global affairs, Kent Walker, said in a statement. “The decision gives legal certainty to the next generation of developers whose new products and services will benefit consumers. We are very grateful for the support from a wide range of organizations, from the National Consumers League to the American Library Association, as well as from established companies, start-ups, and the country’s leading software engineers and copyright scholars.”
More than two dozen parties, including tech companies and advocacy groups, voiced their support for Google’s position in the legal battle, filing briefs to the Supreme Court in the run-up to the decision.
IBM and Microsoft are two tech giants that have supported Google in the dispute.
“Computer interfaces are not copyrightable,” IBM has said previously. “That simple yet powerful principle has been a cornerstone of technological and economic growth for over 60 years.”
In a tweet on Monday, ex-Facebook CTO Alex Stamos said, “thank you to the Supreme Court for saving all modern computing from an onslaught of copyright trolls.”