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Google vs Oracle: Java copyright war now involving US President Obama

Natali Vlatko
Tablet and gavel image via Shutterstock

The latest in the Google vs Oracle battle has now climbed to dizzying legal heights, with the U.S. Supreme Court asking the Obama administration to weigh in on the Java copyright war.

The long-running dispute between Google and Oracle over Java APIs has now involved the Obama administration. The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday published a memo asking U.S. Solicitor General Verrilli to file a brief in the proceedings “expressing the views of the United States.” This means the Obama administration is expected to go on the record before the Supreme Court decides to hear the case.

The invitation has no deadline or time limit, with no indication coming from the Obama administration about whether they intend to submit a brief about the case. Without a deadline, the Java copyright war is likely to be dragged out for even longer.

Java war games

The Supreme Court became involved in the dispute when Google brought the matter forward in October 2014, continuing the battle of whether its Android mobile operating system infringes the copyrights of 37 Java APIs, as Oracle claims.

This was followed by an overturning of the 2012 ruling in Google’s favour, whereby Oracle was ordered to pay 1.1 million U.S. dollars after the jury deemed Google had fairly used Java APIs within the Android platform. Following the decision, the database giant called the judge’s ruling a “basic legal error” and that Google’s usage of Android was “decidedly unfair”.

SEE ALSO: Jenkins creator: We must stop Oracle from copyrighting Java APIs

Oracle’s successful appeal has forced Google to resort to the next step in the hierarchy, as the U.S. Appeals Court of the Federal Circuit stated it must uphold software copyrights “until either the Supreme Court or Congress tells us otherwise.” With these latest developments, it seems Google are looking to achieve just that.

While the Supreme Court are still deciding on whether to hear the case, an undesirable result for Google could mean further legal battles determining the level of their copyright infringement, with no penalties applying to the classification of “fair use”.

As ever, the case continues.

Natali Vlatko
An Australian who calls Berlin home, via a two year love affair with Singapore. Natali was an Editorial Assistant for (S&S Media Group).

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