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Supreme Court Sides With Google, Rules Java API Copying Was Fair Use


The Supreme Court has ruled that Google’s use of Java APIs owned by Oracle is fair use. The lawsuit against Google, which began in August 2010, is now finally over. Since it’s been banging around for over a decade, we’ll recap the major developments:

In 2010, Oracle sued Google claiming that the latter had infringed on Oracle’s Java copyright by copying some 37 Java APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) totaling ~11,500 lines of code without permission. Previously, APIs had been thought to be exempt from copyright claims because they constituted functional elements of code rather than expressive statements. You can’t copyright a merely functional product or document. Copyright doesn’t protect lists and directories such as the phone book, for example. Oracle defeated Google on this point, and the new Supreme Court ruling declined to consider whether that holding was rightfully arrived at. SCOTUS, at ...


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