Oracle’s list of claimed violations of software patents has been cut short. Now Oracle’s claims of coyright violation, instead of being decided by the jury may be cut short by the judge. He’s going to decide as a matter of law whether or not the 37 Java APIs are copyright-protected or not. Clearly Java code is permitted for Google under GPL v 2, and permission to use GPL v 2 code means the APIs must be usable. Judge Alsup has shown himself to be fairly knowledgeable about technology and eager to learn about the technology of Android/Linux and Java, so he should not be snowed as easily as a jury.
Of course, it’s always possible for him to find in favour of Oracle, but he has shown in interactions with Oracle that he’s not happy with their case:“Judge Alsup: When Google did their clean room implementation, did they have access to the English language comments [in Java source]?
Google: Yes, they had the English language prose descriptions of the APIs.
Judge Alsup: Does that make it a derivative work?
Google: The fully-qualified names are the organization.
Judge Alsup. I have to decide on copyrightability, not the jury.
You don’t have to do exact copies, e.g., you could use science.sqrt() as your method rather than math.sqrt()
Google: It wouldn’t work; existing code wouldn’t find it.
Judge Alsup: Is fair use a question for judge or jury?”