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US: Google beats Oracle in $9bn copyright case

 |  May 26, 2016

Google has won a high-profile copyright case against Oracle, fending off a $9bn damages claim and establishing a legal principle that is likely to have a broad impact on software development.

The verdict, in federal court in San Francisco, came after nearly four days of jury deliberations over complex issues to do with how developers write code to allow systems to link effectively in the increasingly interconnected online world.

The case was triggered by Google’s decision to use some of the code from Java — a software platform later acquired by Oracle — when it was developing its Androidmobile operating system. The software it copied played a key role in helping outside developers write apps to run on Android, determining the so-called application programming interfaces that act as “hooks” to enable different programs to interoperate.

Oracle had already won an appeals court ruling that the APIs were covered by copyright law. But on Thursday the 10-person jury sided with Google’s argument that the internet company was covered by “fair use”, the doctrine which allows use of copyrighted material in limited circumstances.

Oracle immediately said it believed “there are numerous grounds for appeal”, and that it would bring the case to the federal circuit — the same court that had earlier upheld its claim that copyright law should apply to APIs.

Full Content: Financial Times

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