On May 26, 2016, a jury ruled in favor of Google’s use of Java’s API in its Android system, finding that the inclusion of the code was fair use. Oracle filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law, arguing that no reasonable jury could have found against Oracle. Last week, the district court judge denied Oracle’s motion.
Jonathan Band has a really great analysis of the district court’s twenty page order applying fair use to the case on the DisCo Project blog: “Sanity Prevails Again, Part II: The District Court Leaves the Oracle v. Google Fair Use Verdict In Place.”
On May 26, 2016, a jury returned a verdict in favor of Google in its battle against Oracle. Oracle brought suit claiming that Google infringed by using Java application programming interface (API) in Android’s mobile operating system. Google argued that its use of the code in the Android system, which relies partly on Java (an open source code that was acquired by Oracle in 2010), was fair use.
After three days of deliberation, the ten jurors unanimously returned a verdict in favor of Google, answering “yes” to the question of whether the use of Java API’s was fair use.
The jury’s decision is a welcome one and another win for fair use, particularly as developers continue to rely on open source languages to build new technologies. This case demonstrates yet again why fair use has been called the “safety valve” of copyright, supporting the evolution and development of new technology.
For further reading:
Ars Technica: Google Beats Oracle–Android makes “fair use” of Java APIs
EFF: EFF Applauds Jury Verdict In Favor of Fair Use in Oracle v. Google
DisCo Project: Sanity Wins Again: The Jury Verdict on Oracle v. Google