Google won major case against Oracle

Google has scored a major victory on Monday in a long-running case against software company Oracle. The Supreme Court of the United States decided that Google was entitled to use Oracle software code for Android, the software that most smartphones worldwide run on.

The case goes back more than ten years. Oracle sued Google in 2010 for copyright infringement. The company claimed damages of more than $ 8 billion (6.77 billion euros). Higher estimates could also be in the tens of billions, if the judge had agreed Oracle was right.

Oracle accused Google of plagiarism of its Java software by copying 11,330 lines of code, as well as the way they were organized.

Google stated that it did not copy a computer program, but only elements of Java’s code needed to operate software. With a so-called API, different types of software can talk to each other. American copyright law does not apply to this type of process.

A Supreme Court majority decided on Monday that Google did not violate the U.S. Federal Copyright Act. A lower court previously ruled correctly that the use of the Oracle software fell under so-called “reasonable use”.

In the previous years, decisions about the alleged copyright infringement and objections to it alternately benefited both Google and Oracle.

The Supreme Court is now calling for Oracle to “lock down” software development if it can enforce copyright on its APIs. Oracle states that it has no reason to develop this type of software if it is not commercially exploited in this way.

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