Thanks to the titanically stupid China Virus global shutdown – much of the Supreme Court’s docket is circling in a holding pattern over Reagan National Airport.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.
Coronavirus Delays Put Some Supreme Court Cases in Limbo
One of those pending cases is…
“(A) current legal case within the United States related to the nature of computer code and copyright law….
“The case is of significant interest within the tech and software industries, as numerous software programs and libraries, particularly in open source, are developed by recreating the functionality of APIs from commercial or competing products to aid developers in interoperability between different systems or platforms….
“The dispute centers on the use of parts of the Java programming language’s application programming interfaces (APIs), which are owned by Oracle, within early versions of the Android operating system by Google. Google has admitted to using the APIs….
“Oracle initiated the suit arguing that the APIs were copyrightable, seeking $8.8 billion in damages.
“While two District Court-level jury trials have found in favor of Google, the Federal Circuit court has reversed both decisions, asserting APIs are copyrightable and Google’s application of them failed a fair use defense.
“Google successfully petitioned to the Supreme Court to hear the case in the 2019 term, focusing on the copyrightability of APIs and subsequent fair use.”
And here we are….
As stated above – Google admits using Oracle’s Java APIs. Without getting any licenses from Oracle.
In a sane and reasonable court system – that would be the entire ball game. Oracle would long ago have won in summary judgment.
In our court system, this case has lingered, and lingered for about a decade – and wended its way up our judicial food chain. All the way up to the now semi-somnambulant Supreme Court.
In January, Google yet again reminded us just how awful their argument in defense of their theft is:
“Google, in a filing to the court dated Monday, largely repeats the search giant’s well-established arguments in a case that has been contested for almost a decade.
“That it was legal to use parts of Oracle’s Java programming language to help make Android communicate more easily with other software. A defeat, Google has argued, would restrict further innovation in the computing industry.”
Except none of this is true. The exact opposite is true:
“Oracle, which acquired Java when it bought its original developer Sun Microsystems, argues that it’s owed at least $8.8 billion for Google’s use of the code without a license.”
Oracle owns Java – and its APIs. They paid a whole lot of money to acquire all of it from Sun Microsystems.
That Google thinks they can watch Oracle pay large coin for Java – and then just steal Java from Oracle – is asinine and really quite annoying.
Google’s argument that prohibiting their theft would “restrict further innovation in the computing industry” – is asinine and really quite annoying.
Precisely the opposite is true.
Again, Oracle paid large coin to acquire Java.
Which means Sun Microsystems’ investment of time, effort and money in Java – paid off.
For them – and the planet. Because the planet now has Java to use.
Quite obviously, Java is a worthwhile and useful commodity.
Sun Microsystems thought so – which is why they created it.
Oracle thought so – which is why they purchased it.
Google thought so – which is why they stole it.
If Sun Microsystems thought their Java would be stolen by the Googles of the world – they never would have created it.
No one would invest their time, effort and money – if there’s no hope of a return on those investments.
Because human nature.
Which means Google’s claim that the Court must certify their theft – else innovation in the computing industry would cease – is exactly the opposite of correct. And asinine – and really quite annoying.
If the Court sides with thieving Google – they’ll be green-lighting theft throughout the computing industry.
Which means innovation within the computing industry – would come to a screeching halt.
Because no one will invest their time, effort and money – if theft is the only result.
Because human nature.
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