Oracle v. Google Decision Marks Another Fair Use Win for Consumers

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Today, a jury verdict in the Oracle v. Google case found that Google’s use of elements of the Java programming language was fair use.

The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Senior Staff Attorney at Public Knowledge:

“The jury's finding of fair use in the Oracle v. Google case is great news for software developers and users. Software developers always have been, and should continue to be, free to develop new products that are compatible with other pieces of software. That's how technology progresses, that's how competition works, and it's been the norm in the software industry for decades. A contrary finding would have cost the public billions and enmeshed the technology industry in yet more litigation.

However, Public Knowledge continues to believe that the Federal Circuit's finding that what Google copied (functional declaring code and APIs) is subject to copyright to begin with was wrong. It should not be necessary for an expensive, lengthy fair use trial to reach the obvious conclusion that software developers can follow standard industry practices and re-implement standard functionality in a new product. Other courts of appeal should reject the Federal Circuit’s mistaken finding of copyrightability. For now, though, the jury’s verdict is a welcome dose of common sense.

“Oracle has announced that it intends to appeal this verdict. We will continue to be active in this case and on these important issues.”

You can view our amicus brief in this case as well as our recent article, “Can Copyright Protect a Language?”, for more information. Please contact us to arrange an interview.

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