- On Monday, the US Supreme Court handed Google a massive victory over its copyright battle with Oracle.
- The decision in Oracle’s favor “could be disastrous,” said one industry analyst.
- Experts say Oracle’s win could lead to endless copyright and innovative “tax” lawsuits.
- You can find more stories on our Business Insider page.
On Monday, the United States Supreme Court overturned the lower court, ending a decade-long legal battle by giving Google a major victory in its copyright battle with Oracle, and most Silicon Valley residents sighed in a sigh of relief. Relief
“Thank you to the Supreme Court for helping protect all modern computers from troll attacks on copyright,”; former Facebook security chief and current Stanford professor Alex Stamos said on Twitter.
Indeed, judging by the reaction, there is a widespread feeling that the win for Google means the tech industry dodges bullets. Over the years that the case has been dragged, experts and insiders have held that Oracle’s win will shake the tech industry entirely, and not a better one.
“The ruling in Oracle’s favor opens the door for a copyright troll, just as we’ve seen, happening in the realm of software patents,” Forrester senior analyst David Mooter told Insider. There is more power to sue their competition out of business. ”
As always, the devil is in the details. But the basis of the case: In 2010, Oracle bought a now defunct company called Sun Microsystems, as well as rights to Java, a popular platform for developing apps. Later that same year, Oracle sued Google, claiming that it stole a significant portion of Java to build the Android operating system, especially a suite of application programming interfaces, or APIs, which simplified the process. Greatly build Java apps for Android. The API is – and remains – a standard way for apps and software to “talk” with each other.
Google has confirmed that the API in question is not subject to copyright and is supported by peers, including Microsoft and IBM in defense.Meanwhile, Oracle is backed by Sun’s co-founder Scott McNealy, a media group including Recording Industry. The Association of America (RIAA) and even the Trump administration in charging Google to use those APIs for Android are a form of theft.
Ultimately, the court was inevitable whether the API would be copyrighted or not. But the Supreme Court ruling states that whatever Google will ultimately do, it is fair use.
Experts say that this is good news not only It’s not only for many Java users, but also any company that uses third-party APIs to build software – basically all of this.
“For decades at this point, all software has behaved as though both APIs are free of copyright or as if they were properly implemented, the decision is merely to preserve the status quo,” said Redmonk analyst Stephen O’Grady. “However, a decision in Oracle’s favor can be truly catastrophic as every API will have to be reassessed for legal risk.”
Experts say Oracle’s win could open the door for API platform holders to turn around and prosecute users, many companies – including Oracle – do what Google does with those Java APIs if using or “reuse the API”. As such, there are legal risks, the entire industry may find itself fighting a lawsuit after being indicted.
“if [the] Cloud businesses are beset by ownership disputes in APIs and the effective activation of copyright trolls that will disrupt the entire business, ”said Mike Linksvayer, head of developer policy at subsidiary GitHub. Microsoft’s praises the Supreme Court’s decision.
As Tom Krazit puts it in Protocol, Oracle’s win could open the door to a “tax” on software innovation:
The API in question streamlines and simplifies software writing tasks in Java, one of the world’s most popular programming languages for Android.If Google can’t use those APIs in Android, developers will have to. Add more burden on yourself, which increases the time and expense of writing software.That would make Android less attractive to many developers writing code in Java.
The legal precedent in Oracle’s favor could extend that principle globally.The software made it possible for anyone in charge of an influential and critical API like the Java in question to have too much power to play kingmaker.
“Given the cost and difficulty of producing alternative APIs that have attracted similar programmers, allowing them to be enforced here will make the Sun Java API’s announcement code a lock that limits future creativity of the program. New Oracle alone will hold the key. ”In most opinion, 6-2 gave Google a win.
In particular, Oracle argued the opposite, saying – without directly mentioning APIs and copyright – that the Supreme Court effectively seized Google’s marketing power to decide again.
“The Google platform has grown larger and has more market power,” Deborah Hellinger, Oracle’s senior vice president, said in a statement. “Barriers to entry to higher positions and lower competitiveness, they stole Java and spent a decade in lawsuits because only monopolists could do this. In the United States, it is investigating Google’s business practices.
Ultimately, however, the general consensus of technology folks is that the API is allowed to be reused under proper use, making it the cornerstone of the technological openness that drives the entire sector to any height today.
Even though Oracle loses, in some ways it wins too, according to GitHub’s Linksvayer: “It’s good for the entire software industry, including Oracle.”