IBM, Microsoft, a medley of others sing support for Google against Oracle in Supremes' Java API copyright case

www.theregister.co.uk | 1/14/2020 | Staff
maddyb7maddyb7 (Posted by) Level 3
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With America's Supreme Court expected to hear arguments in Google v. Oracle over the copyrightability of software application programming interfaces come March, the search biz's ideological allies have rushed to support the company with a flurry of filings.

A week after Google handed its petitioner's brief to the court on January 6, Monday this week saw 21 friend-of-the-court (amicus curiae) filings.

Arguments - Google - Position - Briefs - IBM

Most of the submitted arguments support Google's position. They include briefs from IBM, Microsoft, Mozilla, trade groups, advocacy organizations, policy wonks, and academics.

IBM's brief is emphatic in its first sentence: "Computer interfaces are not copyrightable." Microsoft meanwhile argues [PDF] that the Supreme Court should restore the jury's overturned finding that Google's use of copyrighted Java APIs qualifies as fair use. Other amicus briefs point out that a decision in favor of Oracle could have collateral damage on how artists incorporate content references to other works and even on vehicle repair.

Oracle - Google - Search - Biz - Android

In 2010, Oracle sued Google claiming the search biz's Android implementation infringed Java patents and copyrights. Two years later, after the patent claims were dropped and the jury in the case could not agree on whether Google's use of copyrighted Java's APIs qualified for a fair-use defense, US District Court Judge William Alsup ruled that Oracle's Java APIs were not copyrightable.

Oracle appealed the decision. Though the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in a different case around the same time had come to a similar conclusion – that the functional aspects of APIs could not be copyrighted – the federal circuit appeals court reversed Judge Alsup's decision in 2014. The appellate court found that software interfaces could be copyrighted but did not decide whether Google's use of Java APIs in Android qualified as fair use.

Google - Supreme - Court - Judges - Case

Google appealed to the Supreme Court but the judges initially declined to hear the case. The...
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