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US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Google in $ 9.3 billion dispute over Android copyright

ILLUSTRATION - A Webview update fixes Android app crash issues.  Photo: Arne Immanuel Baensch / dpa
ILLUSTRATION – A Webview update fixes Android app crash issues. Photo: Arne Immanuel Baensch / dpa

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Google in the copyright dispute that the computer giant has against Oracle in relation to the software used in the Android system.

The case refers to 12,000 lines of code that Google used to develop Android that were copied from the Java application programming interface developed by Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired in 2010.

Oracle sued the Mountain View company for the use of its code and won its case twice before the specialized US Court of Appeals, but the Supreme Court reached another conclusion.

Judge Stephen Breyer, who wrote the majority opinion in the case, explained that Google’s use of the code was protected by the copyright doctrine of fair use.

“We concluded that in this case, in which Google reimplemented a user interface, taking only what was needed to allow users to put their accumulated talents to work in a new program. and transformative, Google’s copy of the Sun Java API was a fair use of that material as a matter of law Breyer wrote.

Oracle sued the Mountain View company for the use of its code and won its case twice before the specialized US Court of Appeals but the Supreme Court reached another conclusion (REUTERS / Robert Galbraith / File Photo)
Oracle sued the Mountain View company for the use of its code and won its case twice before the specialized US Court of Appeals but the Supreme Court reached another conclusion (REUTERS / Robert Galbraith / File Photo)

How this conflict arose

In the late 1990s, Sun Microsystems created the Java programming language and APIs (programming interfaces) were established that allowed interoperability. Java became very popular and, according to the use license established by Sun, the language and APIs were not copyrighted, but the use of declarations linked to subroutines did. And this is the point around which all the conflict between Oracle and Google arose.

The Mountain View company wrote its Java subroutine libraries for Android development. Oracle sued because it claimed the company had used 37 Java APIs without permission to build its mobile operating system. In this context, he claimed the use of a few lines of code without authorization.

The legal dispute began in 2010 and went through several courts, with different results. In 2014, an important change occurred when the court determined that the structure and sequence of an API could be subject to copyright.

Two years later, Oracle demanded a payment of $ 9.3 billion from Google. The court ruled in favor of the company led by Sundar Pichai on the grounds that it was a legitimate use. Oracle appealed and in 2018 obtained a favorable opinion that Google later appealed to the Supreme Court, whose decision was released today.

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