Oracle wins copyright ruling against Google over Android
(Reuters) - Oracle Corp won a legal victory against Google Inc on Friday as a U.S. appeals court decided Oracle could copyright parts of the Java programming language, which Google used to design its Android smartphone operating system.
The case, decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, is being closely watched in Silicon Valley. A high-profile 2012 trial featured testimony from Oracle's chief executive, Larry Ellison, and Google CEO Larry Page, and the legal issues go to the heart of how tech companies protect their most valuable intellectual property.
Google's Android operating system is the world's best-selling smartphone platform. Oracle sued Google in 2010, claiming that Google had improperly incorporated parts of Java into Android. Oracle is seeking roughly $1 billion on its copyright claims.
A San Francisco federal judge had decided that Oracle could not claim copyright protection on parts of Java, but on Friday the three-judge Federal Circuit panel reversed that ruling.
"We conclude that a set of commands to instruct a computer to carry out desired operations may contain expression that is eligible for copyright protection," Federal Circuit Judge Kathleen O'Malley wrote.
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So much for free software. Tip: if you want to create an app, first create your own OS and coding language.
Yet another reflection of dinosaur judges ruling on tech they neither understand nor ever will.
The summary in enim's post is misleading. The ruling basically sends this back to trial and back to square one for Google vs. Oracle. In the original trial a jury found that Google infringed on the Java API and the judge at that trial ruled that the API couldn't be copyrighted. The appeals court agreed with the jury. This sends it back to another jury trial where anything could happen. transporterfan is correct in saying that the judges have ruled on tech they do not understand and never will. But things are not necessarily grim as this was specific to things being taken from an API and the court case will resolve around whether APIs can be copyrighted or not. The federal court did rule on a few issues in Google's favor so it's not a complete slam dunk win for Oracle.
Sounds to me like a number of people are misunderstanding (or trying to be revisionist to) the longstanding difference between the domain of creative works (copyright) and technical devices/processes (patent). Slippery slope to the badlands.
I can tell you that as a condition of employment as a computer programmer I had to sign away my rights to patent or copyright any work done while employed by any of the companies I worked for.