Google and Oracle go head to head in the court again
Oracle will attempt to take down Google for using the Java software for the second time this week and the damages will be worth billions of dollars. The trial for the Java copyright infringement case will be commencing from Monday this week. This long running battle between Google and Oracle will result in a big impact on the application of copyright laws to the software industry. Oracle wants $8.8 billion in damages from Google, making this case, one of the biggest copyright cases ever. The stakes are way higher than last time and the trial for the legal dispute is set to resume at the federal district courthouse in San Francisco on Monday.
Oracle is stating that allowing Google to make free use of Java will slow down and put an end to innovation in the software realm. While Google claims that licensing fees would prevent software developers to use certain pieces of software that enables them to make for a more smart, sleek and uniform coding process. If Oracle wins, it would hamper innovation in the technology world by forcing Google to change the way developers build applications for Android and give more power to already dominant technology platforms to limit new ones.
Big names in the technology industry have sided with the companies, supporting the parties to the legal dispute and their cause. Yahoo, Hewlett-Packard and Red Hat have Google’s back and support the notion of Java being copyrightable. While Oracle has the support of the IT giant Microsoft who agrees with the company.
The case will judged on the basis of how Google copied portions of Java to create the Android Operating System by basing it on 37 Application Programming Interfaces (API) which made it easier for programmers and developers to write new applications to run on Android devices. Java was already quite the popular software for developers and since a vast majority of developers were already familiar with it, Google copied a series of labels used in Java. Software developers use these labels to specify Application Programming Interfaces or APIs when they create new applications to run on Android devices.
10 years ago, when Google created the Android Operating System, it made the decision to base it on Java which happened to be open source and free for use to everyone. The 37 APIs that were used by Google included 7,000 lines of “declaring code” for which Sun Microsystems held the copyright, a company who never showed much interest in lawsuits. If the technology is protected by the doctrine of “fair use” which allows copying for some purposes, then Oracle will be walking out of the court empty handed.
Oracle purchased Sun Microsystems and soon after taking control, it sued Google over patents and copyright infringement. If the company scores a victory in the, it could choke the innovations in programming and it will limit the functionality and universality of applications, which will take a huge toll on the digital world. Google will have to meet a number of tests to justify using the Oracle code including proving that it made a “transformative” use of the Java software that was not utilized before. Regardless of the verdict, an appeal is certain.