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U.S. Supreme Court backs Google over Oracle in major copyright case

Jimzz

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2012
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U.S. Supreme Court backs Google over Oracle in major copyright case


Not a Oracle fan. But this case seems to allow large Corps to steal code and get away with it now. Will hurt newer companies a lot while they are trying to get off the ground. Imagine if Yahoo or Microsoft were able to copy googles code when they were small.

For those that missed it, Google did not copy like a dozen or even hundred lines of code. They copied over 11,000 lines of code. That seems a little extreme for fair use.
 

nakedfrog

No Lifer
Apr 3, 2001
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For those that missed it, Google did not copy like a dozen or even hundred lines of code. They copied over 11,000 lines of code. That seems a little extreme for fair use.
Did they, though? What exactly was done isn't really clear to me, it seems like it's probably a little more complicated than simply copying 11k lines of code (and let's be fair, it's Java, so over half of that was probably lines with a bunch of tabs/spaces and braces on them...)
Granted I haven't been following the case, and it's a matter of one of those "no matter who wins, we lose" kind of things :|
 

dullard

Elite Member
May 21, 2001
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This was code that Sun Microsystems gave to the world to use freely as open source. Sun even congratulated Google. Google replaced all 11k lines of that code with Google's own code, but they just had the same input/output to be interoperable. Then Oracle bought Sun and sued Google for using it. It isn't like Google broke in and stole code.
 
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MrSquished

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Jan 14, 2013
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This was code that Sun Microsystems gave to the world to use freely as open source. Sun even congratulated Google. Google replaced all 11k lines of that code with Google's own code, but they just had the same input/output to be interoperable. Then Oracle bought Sun and sued Google for using it. It isn't like Google broke in and stole code.
This. The only reason the fascists Thomas and Alito sided with Oracle is to reward the Trumphumper Ellison and try to publish the "so called" liberal Google.
 

nakedfrog

No Lifer
Apr 3, 2001
50,907
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This was code that Sun Microsystems gave to the world to use freely as open source. Sun even congratulated Google. Google replaced all 11k lines of that code with Google's own code, but they just had the same input/output to be interoperable. Then Oracle bought Sun and sued Google for using it. It isn't like Google broke in and stole code.
Wow, yeah, that's significantly different than "they copied 11k lines of code!"
 

ultimatebob

Lifer
Jul 1, 2001
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Wow, I'm not sure who to root for on this one. On one side, you have Google, who attempts to track your every thought to send you targeted advertising. On the other side, you have Oracle, who tries to rape businesses with insane software licensing fees.

Hmm... I guess that I can root for the lawyers to cost them both tens of millions of dollars in legal bills. Who knows, maybe they'll cost so much that Larry Ellison and Sergey Brin will need to downsize to a smaller yacht this year. I doubt it, though.
 

manly

Diamond Member
Jan 25, 2000
8,790
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This was code that Sun Microsystems gave to the world to use freely as open source. Sun even congratulated Google. Google replaced all 11k lines of that code with Google's own code, but they just had the same input/output to be interoperable. Then Oracle bought Sun and sued Google for using it. It isn't like Google broke in and stole code.
Mostly agreed, this was a bogus lawsuit and most people in the software industry don't think public APIs should be copyrightable. Sun's JavaSoft purposely made the APIs public for Java developers to use, and Google copied those verbatim. They didn't replace those 11k LOC, but they re-wrote the millions of lines of implementation.

In hindsight, if Google had to make this decision again, they would have created a new language. New programming languages get created all the time, and many become popular to varying degrees. But at the time, it was very sensible since Java was the top language for CS instruction. Google then was a few years post-IPO, and aren't the Alphabet behemoth that they are now.

Note that SQL as created by IBM in the 1970s, and Larry Ellison copied this API for his DBMS.

Wow, I'm not sure who to root for on this one. On one side, you have Google, who attempts to track your every thought to send you targeted advertising. On the other side, you have Oracle, who tries to rape businesses with insane software licensing fees.

Hmm... I guess that I can root for the lawyers to cost them both tens of millions of dollars in legal bills. Who knows, maybe they'll cost so much that Larry Ellison and Sergey Brin will need to downsize to a smaller yacht this year. I doubt it, though.
It's not that difficult. Although Oracle DBMS is very successful and mission-critical for many large corps, Google has been far better for society IMO.
 
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ultimatebob

Lifer
Jul 1, 2001
23,651
1,528
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Mostly agreed, this was a bogus lawsuit and most people in the software industry don't think public APIs should be copyrightable. Sun's JavaSoft purposely made the APIs public for Java developers to use, and Google copied those verbatim. They didn't replace those 11k LOC, but they re-wrote the millions of lines of implementation.

In hindsight, if Google had to make this decision again, they would have created a new language. New programming languages get created all the time, and many become popular to varying degrees. But at the time, it was very sensible since Java was the top language for CS instruction. Google then was a few years post-IPO, and aren't the Alphabet behemoth that they are now.

Note that SQL as created by IBM in the 1970s, and Larry Ellison copied this API for his DBMS.


It's not that difficult. Although Oracle DBMS is very successful and mission-critical for many large corps, Google has been far better for society IMO.
Oracle is easier to avoid, though. If you don't want to use an Oracle database, there are many alternatives. You really have to try hard to avoid using a Google product and having them slurp up your data.
 

manly

Diamond Member
Jan 25, 2000
8,790
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Oracle is easier to avoid, though. If you don't want to use an Oracle database, there are many alternatives. You really have to try hard to avoid using a Google product and having them slurp up your data.
Believe it or not, we're saying the same thing. Nobody cries if Oracle the company died tomorrow, and its users had to deal with a different company or ultimately even another SQL product. Amazon famously ditched Oracle after Larry Ellison bragged about how Amazon was dependent on Oracle software.

While many may dislike Google's business model, their search engine set a standard and they've contributed tons to the Internet as we know it. You actually have a personal choice to avoid all Google products; but the rest of the world is tied to them being one of the major infrastructure companies. It is what it is.

Obviously I'm biased about this, but it's not much of a debate on which firm has been a better corporate citizen.

Ruling in favor of oracle would have been disastrous for software developers. APIs != Code (as in, the full implementation)


Btw, those 11,000 limes of API code are a small fraction of the 2,800,000 lines that make up the Oracle's java codebase.
Correct, Justices Thomas and Scalia are dumb asses for arguing the opposite, that this ruling is bad for the software industry. Ruling for Oracle would have upended decades of standard operating procedure in software development. As I said above, Oracle's roots started by copying IBM's SQL language (essentially an API for the DBMS) in the late 1970s.

Having said that, I'm personally not an absolutist. Public APIs are indeed code, as that's how they're represented. But they are the code that represents the calling interfaces between implementations. It's hard to say if all public APIs cannot be copyrighted, but that's what many people believe. But there's no doubt that creativity is part of writing any software, including the public APIs and any well-written, comprehensive API is a reflection of its particular creators. Those 11k LOC aren't just trivial and obvious interface declarations; they had to be carefully thought out and written by teams of developers. Having said that, it's well-established in software that public APIs have a fair use exception.

dullard also pointed out that Sun had released OpenJDK so copying the public interfaces is thus fair game (even the implementations if you adhere to the license), but I'm not sure if Android started using Java before or after it became open source in late 2006. It's not really the crux of the fair use argument.
 

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