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Google Infringed Oracle Copyrights But May Be Protected Under Fair Use

Google and Oracle have been locked in a bitter legal feud over the issue of Google’s use of Java APIs in Android software. Surprisingly, the case had proceeded at a fairly fast pace and now, the jury is out with the verdict. According to the verdict, Google did violate Oracle’s copyrights. However, the jury was unsure as to whether or not Google was entitled to this by making fair use of the Java APIs.


The question of fair use is quite critical since it will determine how much is Google being held accountable for making use of Java APIs without a license from Oracle. The first question that the jury did reach an agreement upon read, “Has Oracle proven that Google has infringed the overall structure, sequence and organization of copyrighted works?’ To this, the jury unanimously responded with a ‘Yes.’

However, upon the far more critically important question of ‘Has Google proven that its use of the overall structure, sequence and organization constituted ‘fair use’? To this, the jury didn’t reply since it couldn’t reach an agreement. If indeed it is established that Google’s use of Java APIs constituted of ‘fair use’, it will fairly wash all allegations off the hands of Google and redeem it fully.

It is also left to be determined by the judge that whether or not the SSO of Java APIs is something which can be copyrighted. So far, the judge has let that question pass but given the jury’s inability to determine it either, judge will have to deal it and determine it once and for all now.

Google immediately moved for a mistrial after the verdict. After the jury announced its verdict, Oracle stated that it should receive a part of Android’s profits for the alleged copyrights infringement. This was completely disregarded by the judge and apparently, all Oracle will be getting out of this case will be one line of statutory damages at most.

Source: The Verge

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