Google Prevails Over Oracle in Java API, Android Copyright Case
A federal judge rules in the six-week-long case that the APIs are not copyrightable; Oracle says it will appeal.In a landmark IT court case that began on April 16, a federal judge ruled May 31 that Java application programming interfaces used by Google in building the Android mobile device operating system are not protected by copyright. Oracle, the plaintiff in the case and maintainer of the Java programming language as well as organizer of its open-source community, said it will "vigorously" appeal the verdict. (See the official statement at the end of this story.) The company had asked for nearly $1 billion in restitution and an injunction against Google for using the Android OS.
"This order does not hold that Java API packages are free for all to use without license," Judge William Alsup wrote in an order filed May 31 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
When Java gets changed for a specific purpose, it then forgoes the label "Pure Java" and is disowned by Oracle's Java franchise. No support, no updates, no nothingyou're on your own. But it's still Java, it delivers code across the Internet, and it gets the job done most of the time. That was the whole idea back in the early '90s, when Dr. James Gosling and his Sun Microsystems band of developers created the now-ubiquitous programming language. Gosling and his gang designed Java as a key link to connect what he called "Big Hunk" servers to desktops, to cars, to mobile devices, to TVsto any Internet-connectable device. When Sun released Java to the open-source community in 2006, it was not only a gift to the world, but it also was a nod to the fact that Java had already been copied and forked probably thousands of times in 11 years. Java is so everywhere in the Internet, moving code from place to place and activating applications, that it has became an integral part of the infrastructure background, like XML or TCP/IP. It's just there, it works and it keeps on working day and night. Java is easy to take for granted, and Oracle knows it. It was simply trying to protect what it owns, but the genie is out of the bottle. It's very difficult to prove negligence against a competitor when it comes to open source and APIs.