BOOOM! Oracle’s Copyright Case v Google Takes a Big Hit

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: No.

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?”

see Groklaw –
Judge Alsup Decides He, Not the Jury, Will Decide the Issue of API Copyrightability ~pj.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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29 Responses to BOOOM! Oracle’s Copyright Case v Google Takes a Big Hit

  1. Ch wrote, “In other words: Google wants to use a product of SUN/Oracle (JAVA) that is very useful – rather, essential – for their product (ANDROID), but they don’t want to pay for it.”

    SUN/Oracle say Java is $0 to write applications. Google provided something to run those applications that was not a Java virtual machine but a Dalvik virtual machine. They complied fully with the licence provided for $0 for developers. That’s the only code Android/Linux needed, not the Java virtual machine. No one else paid for the privilege of writing Java applications, so why should Google?

    In yesterday’s testimony, Google’s guys stated under oath that money was not the problem. The irrational compulsion to control the ecosystem was a problem. Google was willing to pay for a licence but could not accept the terms. Google insisted on Android/Linux being FLOSS and SUN, apparently, did not. SUN’s position makes no sense to me. Android/Linux could have multiplied the use of Java and SUN could have been paid for allowing SUN’s Java virtual machine to ride on smart thingies, but SUN wanted to control Android. The whole point of Android was to increase the numbers of users of search/advertising to drive revenue and Google wanted no one to have a hand on their throat. SUN wanted to be the hand, just as M$ was the hand on the x86 PC.

    Google: Was Java developed at Sun while you were CTO?

    Eric Schmidt: Yes.

    Google: What was your role?

    Eric Schmidt: Taking from primary author, James Gosling, working with Bill Joy.

    Google: Duration of development?

    Eric Schmidt: 1989 to 1994. “Attempt to build a new religion around a new way of thinking.”

    Google: When was language released?

    Eric Schmidt: In 1994, here in the Moscone Center.

    Google: How was it released?

    Eric Schmidt: It was released with the understanding of developing with partners. [He negotiated licenses with Netscape and Oracle.]

    Google: Why do this?

    Eric Schmidt: We, who had come out of Berkeley and Unix, put the software out there to allow others to modify it. You could use Java under license, or you could make your own, as long as you did not call it Java.

    Google: When Java was introduced, were the APIs released too?

    Eric Schmidt: Yes.

    Google: What is the purpose of the APIs?

    Eric Schmidt: Language is useless without the APIs.

    Google: How were APIs made available?

    Eric Schmidt: Book by Bill Joy, documentation.

    Google: APIS were developed at the same time as JPL?

    Eric Schmidt: Yes.

    Google: How would Sun make money off it?

    Eric Schmidt: You could pay a modest license fee, or do your own implementation.

    Google: Did you continue to speak with Jonathan Schwartz about Apache licencing?

    Eric Schmidt: Yes.

    Google: Remained a customer of Sun?

    Eric Schmidt: Yes.

    Google: How frequently? [did they talk?]

    Eric Schmidt: Once every 6 months.

    Google: Did he ever express concern about you using Java or Java APIs?

    Eric Schmidt: He did not.

    Google: Did they ever express any concerns?

    Eric Schmidt: No.

    Google: Did he ever say that there was any need for Google to take a license?

    Eric Schmidt: No.

    Google: Were you able to reach an agreement?

    Eric Schmidt: Unfortunately, no.

    Google: Why not?

    Eric Schmidt: Contributors have little control after release. Sun wanted much tighter control.

    Google: Was money the reason?

    Eric Schmidt: Not really, $30-$50M. Money as not the big issue.

    Google: After the negotiations broke off in 2006 …

    Eric Schmidt: Date of exhibit is May 2006.

    . Google: At that point, what did you do?

    Eric Schmidt: Wanted to make sure that we could support the Java language.

    Eric Schmidt: We started cleanroom implementation. Totally different form the way that Java worked internally.

    Google: What do you mean by that?

    Eric Schmidt: We went with a route that didn’t use the byte code approach.

    Google: Were there in Spring ’06 presentations to EMG?

    Andy Rubin: Yes.

    Google: By time of spring, generally what were these presentations about?

    Andy Rubin: Paying Sun to open source Java.

    Google: What would Google be providing?

    Andy Rubin: Donating the Android code and paying money to Sun.

    Google: Why pay money with Sun when it was going to be open sourced?

    Andy Rubin: It would be a change in their business model.

    Google: How large a payment?

    Andy Rubin: $28-$34 million payment to Sun.

    Google: Did you get approval?

    Andy Rubin: Yes.”

    So, what Google did was reasonable, correct and OK by SUN. Oracle is dead on this issue.

  2. Ch says:

    > Google wanted the vast resource of Java developers but did not want to cut SUN/Oracle in on the action.

    In other words: Google wants to use a product of SUN/Oracle (JAVA) that is very useful – rather, essential – for their product (ANDROID), but they don’t want to pay for it.

    > That’s pretty reasonable.

    That’s one way of putting it. It reminds me of the bankrobber who was asked by the judge: “Why did you rob that bank?” His famous reply: “That’s where the money is!” In this sense, yes, what Google does is “reasonable”. But why do you defend it? Oh yes, Google never ever does anything evil, only the others do …

  3. Google also claims the copying, if any, is de minimis, based on the bulk of the coding they did. So, oiaohm’s argument is that it’s less than de minimis, very small indeed.

  4. oiaohm says:

    Illegal copies and stolen work have two slightly different meanings. Illegal copies is just that copies without approval you have not removed the Authors credit. A Stolen work is like plagiarism credit due has been removed in this case. This case is stolen work not illegal copies. Stolen work is basically taking credit for work you should not be.

    Robert Pogson Java API is made of functions and Classes.
    “An API does not cause a computer to produce any result. That is up to the implementation.”
    Its the classes that make this wrong. Classes produce a result or effect produced result.

    This is where we are in hell. Classes do interact with each other. Function overloading. So scary enough they can and do produce a results.

    If Java API was just functions not protected this has already be ruled as clear by the judge. So C is mostly free and clear.

    So you example is right Robert.
    “function sqrt(x:real):real;”

    What if that was a virtual function like for average that depending on what class would be overloaded with something else. Polymorphism that is defined in classes is where the problem starts.

    Because this is effecting the results the program will produce. So read what you quoted careful.
    “A “computer program” is a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result.”

    The loop hole indirectly threatens to turn classes into a computer program in there own right. If this is the case Google owns Oracle.

    Of course a classes could be argued as a method of operation. If that is upheld Google owns Oracle nothing over the copyright infringement bit.

    Its not functions where the problem is. Its the classes that contain the functions in Java and Android where the problem is.

    C++, Java, C#, Vala basically any Class based langauge there has been no ruling if Classes are in fact API or Copyright Protected Works. Also what conditions if any make Classes a copyright protected work. So far a class that is just a list of functions has been ruled as not copyright protected work.

    The name of the class might be copyright protected judge is not sure on this. So that google copied class Math and its stilled called Math it might be a copyright infrignement. If it had been renamed like science it would not be for sure.

    Classes with polymorphic interactions again judge is not sure on this either.

    Yes Oracle vs Google is a very important case. To clear up where the lines are with classed based languages. The lines in function based languages was cleared up years ago.

    When you think about the complexity of this problem I am thankful I am not the judge.

  5. oiaohm wrote, “Google did not include GPL copyright notices so it becomes just a stolen work.”

    “Stolen” is not applicable. One can make illegal copies without stealing anything.

    function sqrt(x:real):real;

    Copied or not, that is not protectable under copyright. It is not a “work”.

    ” Works of authorship include the following categories:
    (1) literary works;
    (2) musical works, including any accompanying words;
    (3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
    (4) pantomimes and choreographic works;
    (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
    (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
    (7) sound recordings; and
    (8) architectural works.
    (b) In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.”

    APIs are a “method of operation”. Sqrt takes a real argument and gives a real result.

    They may not even be treated as “computer programmes” in law:
    “A “computer program” is a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result.”

    An API does not cause a computer to produce any result. That is up to the implementation.

  6. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson this is the thing Oracle does not have to sue for breach of GPL any form. Reason Google did not include GPL copyright notices so it becomes just a stolen work.

    This is where GPL enforcement gets fun. Someone steals GPL they had no license to use it so GPL does not even enter the case. Oracle is basically conducting GPL enforcement the other way.

    Ivan the thing is openjdk that google could have used is under GPLv2 + linking exception. Openjdk is the base to Oracle Java. There is also GNU Classpath with the GNU Classpath exception license that includes same parts as what Google took as well.

    So not just GPLv2. So there is no big bang against android. Since android can change the parts to a license that is still closed source friendly legally.

    Basically Ivan and Robert Pogson if android had those API under GPL using one of the accepted forms by Oracle(Ie including linking exceptions) there would not be a Copyright case at all. Effects to Android minimal. In fact before the court case and threats of damaged even started Oracle asked Google without bill to license what they believed was their code correctly.

    Yes it could ended before it started if there was a clear define of what a work is.

    “Google is claiming the documentation was in the public domain, but even if it was GPL, they could just change the licence back on the API. Where’s the “damage” to Oracle? None.”

    That is the problem the documentation was not public domain either. By copyright law damage is done because your product was distributed under the wrong license. So other people could believe your product was not protected by the license you wished for.

    Yes Oracle is unclear if it has a copyright infringement case. Judge has also found that the section what Oracle is unclear about has no test case and no law document tell you if its right or wrong. Google first belief that they were protected by Sega v. Accolade has already been broken. So now Google is not clear either.

    Its a real poor Judge problem. He has to work out some form of ruling based off law to cover problem if it happens in future.

    If it too hard the Judge can even rule that it cannot be decided by the courts and send it into the political system for a bill to be passed defining it. I hope this does not happen.

  7. Damon Arnett wrote, “Google invaded Sun’s only real revenue stream for Java–hiding behind the Apache non-license and thought they could bully and out-lawyer the hapless Sun CEO, Johnathon Schwartz.”

    Google created a platform that converted code of Java applications to run under Dalvik. They did that only because SUN encumbered Java virtual machines with the TCK licence. Google wanted the vast resource of Java developers but did not want to cut SUN/Oracle in on the action. That’s pretty reasonable. The only place where they have come close to doing wrong is getting too close to the Java APIs in Dalvik. If they had translated Java to x86 or Java to ARM instead of Dalvik the situation would be crystal clear. A lot of work was done replicating the Java API implementation that would not have needed to be done if SUN had come to an agreement with Google. I just don’t see anything wrong with what Google did except dodging the GPL. If they were going to share the code with the world, there is no advantage to anyone using ASL and there are lots of disadvantages like people suing each other. Owning Java gave SUN no right to prevent other from doing similar work. SUN did not own those developers and SUN had allowed anyone to write Java applications.

  8. Ivan says:

    There are exceptions. e.g. LGPL and the classpath exception.

    And do those exceptions exist in the gpl?

    What license was the copied code under?

    What part of that don’t you understand?

  9. Damon Arnett says:

    Java is an incredible developer’s tool. It is largely open. It is so open that Sun had a hard time getting any money from it even though Java powers billions of devices worldwide.

    One of the few areas that Sun reserved for significant licensing revenue was mobile phone technology. All telecoms that used Java, which was most of them, paid Sun for their specific flavor of a small, powerful Java platform for their smart phone.

    So even though Sun could slap down Apache for numerous invasions of Java licensing rules, Sun left them largely alone because of their contribution to greater Java acceptance–as long as it did not imperil Sun’s mobile phone licensing revenue. The rule was: Developers are free to write their applications for personal profit, but companies that commercialize a platform should pay to have their Java implementation certified.

    Google invaded Sun’s only real revenue stream for Java–hiding behind the Apache non-license and thought they could bully and out-lawyer the hapless Sun CEO, Johnathon Schwartz.

    Oracle will monetize Java where Sun could not. They will not destroy the developer community or the Java ecosystem. But Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt–who had been Sun’s CTO–thought he could get a billion dollar free-ride by pushing Sun in their one sweet-spot for Java–smart phone licenses.

    The judge is pushing on both sides in this case to get them to ultimately accept his compromise. He says it will start at $100 million (the figure that Google and Sun were discussing when negotiations broke off) and could go much higher. Oracle will also have an ongoing financial/development interest in Android.

  10. oiaohm wrote, ““How the Hell can the API be restricted for something that’s GPL?”

    That is a simple case if it not a independent work it should have remained under GPL license.”

    Oracle is not suing Google for violating GPL. Even the judge is unclear what Oracle is suing about… Even Oracle is unclear what Oracle is suing about

    “Judge: Let me try my question a different way. Let’s say we ask the jury 2 questions. “With regard to these 37 packages, did Google copy the SSO?”

    And same question, but documentation.

    Let’s assume we ask those questions to the jury.

    So then, what good is it, if you’ve already gotten a yes or a no, what does it add to then say “btw, is the implementation a derivative work of the plain English of what the method will do”? To my mind, there’s no legal significance to that question. The first 2 questions are all that matter.

    Oracle: I think that’s right. Let us think about it and get back to you.”

    In effect, Google may be accused of copying 1/1000 of Java to make Android, by using the same documentation. They distributed that documentation to developers, a tiny violation if any compared to the distribution of Android/Linux on smart thingies. Google is claiming the documentation was in the public domain, but even if it was GPL, they could just change the licence back on the API. Where’s the “damage” to Oracle? None.

  11. oiaohm says:

    “entire collection of API”

    Java API is broken into sub collections. That is where the problem comes in. Google did take a few sub collection as is. So yes entire collections in particular areas was taken by Google and integrated into there API of android from Java..

    The ruling is to work out where the define of a work is. Its never been legally defined clearly.

    “How the Hell can the API be restricted for something that’s GPL?”

    That is a simple case if it not a independent work it should have remained under GPL license.

    Again the problem comes back to the same legally grey bit. What the hell is a work.

    Oracle might be right that what google did has taken a work. Or google might be right that what they took was just API and not a work.

    Both sides are most likely to have over reached the define.

    Complete problem comes from one define being as clear as mud.

    Yes getting a clearer define of what a work is. That is what the case is major-ally about. Depending on how that define comes down could have big effects.

    “There’s just no basis for copyright violations.”
    Depending on define of what a work is depends on if there is copyright violations or not.

    Simple fact no one knows because the define of work in this area has never been ruled on. After the Oracle vs Google case it will have been ruled on so something like this should never happen again.

    Really its better for Oracle and Google todo this than have Mircosoft or someone else truly nasty do it and find out that work define is not what we think it is.

    I suspect on most of it the Judge will rule Google way. But I do suspect the Judge could rule against google over some of the whole sail coping of API collections in Java. Its not like google took a class here or there.

    Google took complete tree’s of classes in the exact same order as java. How a API’s are connected to from a structure might be a work.

    For case of making a compatible implementation you refer to Sega v. Accolade. What basically says refer to fair usage conditions to neutralise copyright.

    (1) the purpose and character of the use, (e.g., is the use commercial? Educational?); (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the copied material in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and (4) the effect on the market.

    Particular point 4. Of course Google did try to argue that Sega v. Accolade applied. It does not in this case.

    The idea that API cannot be copyrighted comes from Sega v. Accolade. A reimplementation of a API always falls under fair usage.

  12. The thing is the only licence Google lacks is the TCK which Oracle will not give for a fragment of the API and for SE on smart thingies. There never were $billions or $millions in that. What Google did was use available FLOSS to get the job done. How the Hell can the API be restricted for something that’s GPL? Google has a licence to use the API that way. They just cannot get and don’t need the TCK which is useless to them anyway. When the judge filters all the information I am confident he will see things Google’s way. The GPL says Google can use the API, the implementation, everything to write Java applications. There is no restriction in the GPL for some extra requirement for an API. Further why should Google take a licence for a freely available API when everyone who writes Java applications is already permitted to use it?

    The argument that APIs are not copyright-protected is quite valid. To be protected something has to be a “work”, not just a list of names. The judge has already ruled the names of things are not protected by copyright and neither are the sequence. There might be an argument that the entire collection of APIs is protected but Google didn’t use the entire collection, nor did they state nor is it true that Dalvik is a Java virtual machine. There’s just no basis for copyright violations. The few things that were inadvertently copied came along with Harmony and have long since been removed. They were not needed or wanted in Android.

    About the API thing. This is a paraphrase of what the judge was reported to have said today:
    “Judge: If you have a doc in plain English that says that this particular method will return the larger of 2 numbers, and you gave that, looked in textbooks, you would find examples of that very exercise. Teaching young people in college how to do perform that writing various forms of code.

    And to decide you own every implementation of that code just because you came up with the idea, that’s classic over-reaching.”

    He’s onto them. He knows they are over-reaching when they say Google copied the API.

  13. oiaohm says:

    In fact this is the problem you have something badly wrong Robert Pogson.
    “No, it is not. During the trial when the experts came up with lesser potential awards, Oracle had the option of choosing to ask for less to which Google might well have agreed.”
    Problem is you have missed exactly what Orcale did. As experts came up with lesser claims they reduced.

    Start reading Oracle has corrected the figures to under 100 million total damages claim from the 6 billion. Yes it went from 6 billion to 2 billion when the experts redid numbers and it drop to under 100 million.

    Orcale could have tried to stick it out. They did not they did the right thing. 6 billion to 2 billion in one step was one hell of a cut. The cut to under 100 million was even more.

    Oracle is no longer asking for the 6 billion or 2 billion. $37.5 million and $46.6 million is all Oracle is asking for now. Yes Oracle has corrected as experts were proven wrong.

    Judge said they could claim up to a 100 million. So claiming Oracle is being greedy is false. Oracle is attempt to ask a fair price.

    That Oracle doing this they are not Evil blood sucking greedy people. They are just a little greedy but they are mostly after fair payment.

    The 6 billion figure and 2.6 billion figure were all based on old maths for doing damages. That really did not take the letter of law into correct account.

    Google suspects they should not pay at all on particular sections so here comes the fight. Worse some of those sections have no legal define if what Google did was right or wrong.

    Robert Pogson the problem here is Oracle is not really the villain.

    The Judge has also be very bunt with Google as well that they knew that the area of copyright law they were going into was suspect. They tried to invent way around it. If they have failed he is going to basically throw the book at them since they could not produce the documents to prove they had done enough legal checking.

    Google is not really the villain either.

    Its a simple case that both have got themselves in a location where the only way out is court to work out what the law really says.

    Really its a sad case. Its one of those cases that has to happen.

  14. Ivan wrote, “You simply can not use gpl functions in non gpl code.”

    There are exceptions. e.g. LGPL and the classpath exception. The creators of a work specify the licence. When I looked, most of the GPL stuff was Linux and Android is essentially running as a user-level application, so it can have any licence. Android is not linking to Linux. Linux is running Android like data.

  15. Ivan says:

    It doesn’t matter, it’s still gpl code from Java and was still used in Android which still violated the license.

    You simply can not use gpl functions in non gpl code.

    The only person grasping at straws here is you by selectively applying the terms of the gpl because you like google.

  16. That code came from Harmony and was for testing purposes only, not shipped with Android/Linux on smart phones. It’s no longer in harmony. It’s no longer in Android/Linux.

    see OS News

    If that’s the best you’ve got, go home. Oracle’s case is that weak that it’s grasping at straws to stay on the agenda. If the judge had been up to speed sooner, this never would have reached a jury.

  17. Ivan says:

    Google did not copy any of SUN/Oracle’s code.

    Like hell they didn’t:

    Identical down to the white space which means that Android has to be released under the gpl2 because it used that code which makes it a derivative work. No silly deflecting argument is going to change how the gpl2 works, Bob.

    It is nice to know that you are willing to selectively apply its terms to companies that you like.

  18. oiaohm wrote, “That is a company trying todo the right thing. So the billions claim bit you have to take with a grain of salt.”

    No, it is not. During the trial when the experts came up with lesser potential awards, Oracle had the option of choosing to ask for less to which Google might well have agreed. Instead Oracle is bashing ahead trying a case with a potential award less than the cost of litigation, hoping to get a large award from the jury so they can threaten other companies with lawsuits. That’s not the right thing for IT.

  19. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson
    “Google did not copy any of SUN/Oracle’s code. They did not create a Java VM illegally.”
    This is the problem if they had created a Java VM they would have been covered by the prior case rulings. Of copyright cannot get in the way of cloning.

    “Dalvik virtual machine” bit a ruling on it also applies to Vala and other reimplementation.

    “Oracle wanted Google to pay $billions” This was what the standard maths for patent infringement before the rulings in this case said Google owed. This is already one good thing to come out of the case. That the maths for patent damages is far less.

    Oracle did not create the billions figure internally. They got there patents valued externally by parties that values patents for patent deals. The billions figure is not Oracles mistake. In fact Oracle contacted 4 different parties to get there stuff valued that all basically returned figures in the same range except one that was basically insane. Oracle knew their own bias might cause them to over value there assets so tried to get third party valuations and at first only presented the lowest valuation to the court they had.

    That is a company trying todo the right thing. So the billions claim bit you have to take with a grain of salt.

    Its like if you had a car crash you have the damaged valued you get many quotes to repair and you take that to court and you find out that the people who you got quotes from were all shifty buggers and were attempting to rip other party off. This part is an example how shifty patent assessment firms are. we cannot blame Oracle here. They did the right thing but the people they asked to value did it wrong.

    The billions in the Oracle claim comes from the basic maths of number of units produced by cost per unit to use the material. That is basically been ruled as an invalid method to make a claim.

    Instead the cost of development of the copyrighted material and patents has to be taken into account. You cannot claim back more than three times that. There is now an upper limit to a patent claim that did not exist before the Oracle Google case.

    Also that the claim has to be broken down so much per patent. So defeating patents equals not having to pay that percentage. This is also new form this case.

    So Oracle vs Google case should be the last time we see a billion dollar damages claim over patents since the maths is now changed. Its very simple to attempt to blame Oracle for the billions not thinking that its what law schools has been teaching world wide to calculate the cost of damages on patent and copyright was wrong so leading to insanely huge figures.

    “How can anyone think that the implementation in a GPL release cannot be used to create any derivative legally?”
    If you read GPL very careful a derivative has to remain under GPL. Google releases as Apache license so problem. Also Sun and Oracle had been talking about this problem for a long time before hand with Apache.

    There has been friction even before Google got mixed up in it. Sun and Oracle both did not strong arm Apache. They could have but they did not.

    This is the big thing. Android API/ABI is technically not a Java API/ABI. The prior rules were dead clear on this. If you were re-implementing and ABI/API having matching names is fine. But this is a case that google has created a new ABI/API not compatible with the prior one and cut and pasted from other ABI/API to make theirs. This might not be legal.

    One of the big points the judge did say is google was not forced to copy the Java API stuff. Implementation would have worked if classes were named differently. This causes a problem Google is not protected by the prior exception.

    This is a true Pandora question.

    So main points
    1) Patent and Copyright infringement claim maths have be made sane by this case. So we really cannot hold the claim figure against Oracle its not a figure they dreamed up.

    Here is the good one. The patent and Copyright infringement calculation method had never in any court world wide been examined in a court of law before the Oracle vs Google case. This also explains why the people who have download videos get such insane claims about how much they owe.

    Over claiming is not unique to Oracle. Oracle was willing to put it before a judge and find out what they should be claiming. This happened in the Google vs Oracle mediation stages. In mediation you don’t have to change you valuation of claim and you don’t have to take it before a judge to find out if your maths is right. Oracle did what means they are someone what of a decent company. Doing so was also high risk to the case because it could have seen the complete case thrown out due to over valuing. Oracle deserve some credit for having some balls.

    2) We will find out once and for all if its legal to copy API designs from other API’s into your own and use a different license.

    2 could cause companies using BSD stuff big problems.

    I know its hard but everyone wants a villain. If you want a true villain its the companies that value copyright and patent infrignement.

  20. oiaohm wrote, “the case Oracle has brought had to be done. Really I don’t see Oracle as dark and evil here in the copyright law problem.”

    Nonsense. If the case, “had to be brought”, SUN could have done it. There’s no Java in Android… Google did not copy any of SUN/Oracle’s code. They did not create a Java VM illegally. They created a Dalvik virtual machine. Oracle has no standing, but it’s the case of the “Big Lie” getting the grease. Oracle wanted Google to pay $billions and when Google refused, Oracle was committed to this destructive path hoping they could snow the jury. That won’t happen if this smart judge rules APIs are not copyright-protected. I cannot copyright “function sqrt(x:real):real”. Neither can Oracle, especially when Java is GPL. How can anyone think that the implementation in a GPL release cannot be used to create any derivative legally? Oracle has used vague terms to snow the judge and he’s not buying it. He insists they make their claims and the evidence abundantly clear. Clarity is Oracle’s downfall in this case. The judge started thinking the Lindholm e-mail was a serious blow to Google’s defense but then he heard the testimony of the person, Lindholm and it all became clear. Lindholm had no basis for a legal opinion. The e-mail and its context was vague. Now it’s clear. Google has no case. No one has to bring a non-existent case.

  21. oiaohm says:

    Robert Pogson the case Oracle has brought had to be done. Really I don’t see Oracle as dark and evil here in the copyright law problem.

    Oracle if they were evil could have sued all produces of android devices. Microsoft with the same case most likely would have gone after each android device maker alone like they do with Fat patents and other patents.

    To a point I trust Oracle. At least if Oracle are upset about something they will take it to the head of the project to get it resolved one way or the other.

    Oracle true colours don’t really look that bad. Oracle is not going to sue you if upstream is the problem. They will sue the upstream and get it fixed.

    Ok Oracle is likely to enforce what they believe.

    Its level of evil here. Microsoft is still less trust-able than Oracle. Microsoft is more likely to bug you about things you don’t control.

    Oracle vs Google had to happen. Patents Oracle had they were not 100 percent sure of. Copyright law in a particular area is vague. This vague could effect anyone cloning programs. Better to have this sorted by Oracle vs Google than sorted by someone like Microsoft.

    On the stand the head of Oracle openly admitted to the judge that he himself was not sure if Oracle had a case neither was the Oracle legal teams. Google legal teams have admitted the same thing.

    So now the poor judge is sitting in a location where the is no prior ruling to help him. That is the story of the Copyright problem.

    Oracle was right to question over the patents as well since the patent grant is linked to using LGPL or GPL with classpath exception.

    Try using RCU from IBM in something that is not GPL or LGPL you will get skinned since the patent grant is only for source code under GPL or LGPL. Oracle is not the only one funding the Open Source world who will attempt to skin you with patents if you license your source code wrong.

    IBM truly will completely do you in if you use some of the patents in works under the wrong license. VMWare and others also provide patents for use in the Linux kernel that are source code license restricted as well.

    So the patent case is prity much status normal.

    Oracle has been leaving Apache harmony mostly alone. They could have attacked Apache harmony as well with the patents. They really don’t have the resources to fight back.

    This is the thing Oracle waited until someone used the harmony code that was strong enough to fight back to find out what is valid.

    This is not a sign of some underhanded company. Oracle does not take on the weak if they can avoid it.

    Lot of ways Oracle is not a bad company. Greed yes. But not high evil level greed.

    From the start Oracle would have drop the complete case if Google changed there code base to LGPL or GPL with classpath execption.

    Google argued that due to a prior ruling over that copyright could not be used to prevent compatibility that they could use the Apache license without issue.

    Oracle was right that the prior ruling does not apply to the problem that has been created.

    So you are really in the crappier at this point. Now Oracle does not want a long case so pulled out its patents that google also does not have a license to use. In the hope this will speed settlement.

    Funny enough the maths Oracle used for patent infringement that the judge has said is wrong legally. Is the basic maths that has been used for the last 12 years of patent deals by everyone. So means that almost all patent agreements are over priced. This is a break threw because it means patent infringement does not equal billions.

    Then we end up in the mess we have now.

    It always takes two to fight. This case neither Google or Oracle knows they are in the right. That leads to one hell of a feud.

    Each of the rulings in this case has resolved stuff. By end of case the rules of copyright and patent enforcement will be more clear.

    Most likely will equal more resistance to patent troll demands due to the fact patents are now worth less.

    There is still one one ruling on the patent side. Can a patent legally insist that the source code be under a particular license. This is another section not tested in court.

    Per unit produced claim on patents has weakened by this case that a following case might break that completely. If this happened it would allow redhat and others to go out and buy particular patents so making open source more competitive.

    This Orcale vs Google case could reshape the complete patent landscape and make copyright a lot clearer. Someone had to take this before a judge to find out what is legal.

    Yes I know its simple to make Oracle the devil and Google the good guy. But in this case they are both the devil and both the good guy. It depends what you are looking at for what they were in this case.

    To be correct the Oracle vs Google might be the most important case of our time.

    Most people don’t get how big this case is.

  22. oiaohm wrote, “harmony is where a lot of the program code comes from that Google is in trouble over.”

    Google is not in trouble. Oracle has shown its true colours and no one in IT is likely to trust them ever again. With folks like Oracle, “a contract is permission to be sued”.

    Google will take a little long-term damage. The evidence reveals how dark Google’s antipathy to GPL is. It looks like a “character-flaw” to me, that they went to great lengths, spent $millions and got sued because they wanted to avoid using GPLed software for Android. They could just as well have used the GNU classpath and been home-free.“Linking this library statically or dynamically with other modules is making a combined work based on this library. Thus, the terms and conditions of the GNU General Public License cover the whole combination.

    As a special exception, the copyright holders of this library give you permission to link this library with independent modules to produce an executable, regardless of the license terms of these independent modules, and to copy and distribute the resulting executable under terms of your choice, provided that you also meet, for each linked independent module, the terms and conditions of the license of that module. An independent module is a module which is not derived from or based on this library. If you modify this library, you may extend this exception to your version of the library, but you are not obligated to do so. If you do not wish to do so, delete this exception statement from your version.”

    The licence for the GNU project allows mixing with components under other licences. Whatever effort they put into Android would have been greatly reduced by contributing to GNU. They cut off their nose to spite their face. There’s also GCJ which compiles Java and produced native code. It would have cost Google less to support/join/contribute to such projects rather than going the Dalvik route. They likely would have brought Android/Linux to market sooner and had superior performance. If Google had done that, Oracle would not have been able to sue Google at all because Google would not have to distribute any Java stuff whatsoever. Their distro could have been binaries to put on smart thingies with source code distributed over the world on the web. Oracle has no copyright case against people writing Java applications. Oracle has no copyright case if Android/Linux is a variant of GNU/Linux written in C-ish stuff.

  23. oiaohm says:

    ernest here is where things get evil. apache harmony is where a lot of the program code comes from that Google is in trouble over.

    Apache harmony attempts to be a full Java implementation. So the files that google is in trouble over is legal in Apache harmony. Since the layout of interfaces are required to make a Java implementation.

    Since android is not an Java implementation. Google is now in a corner case.

    The judge is not even sure if Oracle case on copyright is exactly right. Neither is Oracle or Google.

    from java math.sqrt() could have been called science.sqrt() or anything else in android since android was a new platform that technically would not have broken anything. Since java need a re-complier run to run on androids runtime the re-complier could have corrected things like this.

    Judge is no fool basically. So by coping Java structs make googles re-complier simpler.

    Past test case on the same kind of thing covers emulation like wine or runtimes like Java. That since you need those parts to run other third parties you are allowed to copy them. This does not protect Google in this case even that Google thought it would have. Oracle had this bit right Google usage was not covered by any prior test case of copyright. Also means Oracle going after Google on copyright has never been tested before either.

    Simple case is no matter how much we like it we have to wait until end of case ernest to find out how copyright law in the USA will be written forever more. Until then MIT or GPL or LGPL might be right.

    Google does have the option of going lgpl2. Since Java specs do allow that. So the release code might be limited only to classes taken from Apache harmony if google loses.

    ernest even if google loses it will not be ruled wilful on the copyright bit. That has already been ruled out by judge due to no existing test case of this particular problem. So there is no way that Google could have 100 percent know what it was doing was an offence. Oracle has accepted that. Its a untested section of copyright law that threatens to have large effects.

  24. ernest says:

    Which license is it then, Robert?

    The GPL, or Apache?

    Enquiring minds wish to know.

  25. Ivan wrote, “Android becomes a derivative by including the copied functions”.

    Uh, no. It does not. I can see a spec for square root and write my own implementation without making a derivative work. Ideas and structures are not protected by copyright. It’s the implementation that gets protection. If you write a book, and I read it and write my own, thinking I can write a better book with a similar plot, it is not a derived work. It has been said there are only about a dozen stories and all storybooks are variations on a few themes. Those books are all copyrightable works, not derivative works. The APIs in question are recipes for using the software. Google may have used the recipes but certainly did not use the code. You can see the code and there’s no Java stuff in there. If Java stuff is anywhere it’s in the SDK that developers use, not the Android/Linux smart phones. There’s nothing to Oracle’s copyright-case and the judge is figuring that out pretty rapidly.

  26. Ivan says:

    How can that be if Google has the GPL licence that accompanied the code?

    The gpl license that covers the code that google copied forces all derivative code (Android becomes a derivative by including the copied functions) to be redistributed under the gpl2’s conditions. Those conditions are not compatible with the Apache license which Android is licensed under.

    Google is willfully ignoring the Java license, a license which you seem to support but are apparently arguing that it should be ignored because it’s google doing the breaking. Why is that? Why are you supporting a company that is actually doing something that is worse than anything that Microsoft has ever done?

  27. oiaohm says:

    This is a corner case. Where goggle copied from since it run java programs could copy the struct. Since google removed the means to directly run java programs the debate is now if something particular is allowed.

    A new test case and legal define will come out of this either way.

  28. Ivan wrote, “If google is using Java’s gpl2 code as a part of Android, than they are violating Java’s gpl license with their Apache 2 license.”

    There’s no Java in Android/Linux. It’s C-whatever and Dalvik stuff not written by SUN. Android applications are written in Java, exploiting the base of Java writers, and translated to Dalvik, a non-Java virtual machine. The Dalvik machine has to know the Java API. That’s the issue before the court. Since GPLv2 gives permission to run SUN/Oracle’s stuff to write/run everywhere Java applications it should be fair use to use the Java API. The testimony emerging now on Groklaw is prompting the judge to rule on whether or not the API is protected from use by Google. How can that be if Google has the GPL licence that accompanied the code? Oracle’s only lever is that they claim the TCK licence is needed to create a Java VM. Dalvik is not a Java VM. It is a different architecture of machine with a different byte-code. Google is not advertising it as a Java VM so it is not diluting the Java brand at all. SUN knew how it worked and did not sue. Very soon, the judge will realize the fraud Oracle is attempting in his court and will stomp on Oracle’s case.

    Oracle harped long and hard and had the judge’s ear about the “Lindholm e-mails” but the testimony was that Lindholm had little to do with Android when at Google, and he was not a lawyer, so his opinion that Google needed a licence was not binding, was irrelevant to the case, and other testimony greatly clarified what an API is. It just makes no sense to say “you have the right granted by the GPL v 2 to run this car” and “you cannot use the steering wheel, brakes, clutch and gear-shift without taking a licence for the TCK” which is Oracle’s case. The particular code in question is the API for Java JSE. Dalvik uses the identical API in part, so it could not even pass the TCK so it is silly to say it needs a licence. Dalvik is not a Java VM. It’s not even part of such a machine. The stuff that actually translates the code from Java to Dalvik is all that uses the Java API and it is not distributed with Android/Linux devices. It is distributed with the Android SDK, a much smaller use-case. This is just like SCOG v World. Ellison has not studied history and is attempting to repeat it. He’s having a similar disaster sooner because this judge runs a more efficient court with tight limits on discovery. SCOG was allowed to “discover” all of UNIX versions IBM knew about because a magistrate judge let them go fishing, wasting years of time. This judge gave them a few months, is tech-savvy and the memories of witnesses are much fresher so Oracle’s case is unravelling much faster.

  29. Ivan says:


    If google is using Java’s gpl2 code as a part of Android, than they are violating Java’s gpl license with their Apache 2 license. Either way, the large faceless corporation that claims to not be evil is still being evil.


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