The US Supreme Court recently said it would consider taking over the copyright dispute between Oracle and Google on the Android operating system. As long as the US Supreme Court took over the case, it shows that this epic copyright dispute for nearly 10 years is coming to an end, and its judgment may affect the future of software development.
In 2010, software company Oracle took Google to court and demanded nearly $9 billion in compensation because Google used 37 Java API packages in the development of the Android operating system, but did not pay royalties to Oracle. Although Google and other companies believe that the API should not be protected by copyright, the US Court of Appeal ruled in 2014 that copyright law applies to the Java API. In 2016, Google successfully convinced the jury of the federal court that its use of the API was considered “fair use.” However, the Court of Appeal overturned the ruling two years later.
Those who support Google say that the 2014 ruling will have a chilling effect on developers, and they hope that Google’s “fair use” argument can mitigate this effect. Google lawyer summed up the case in 2016, and he believes that these APIs exist purely for functional purposes. Building an OS with the API is a real revolution. Google engineers “build Android from scratch, use Google’s new technology, and adopt open source technology. Android is an amazing platform for innovation.”