Linked by OSGuy on Fri 21st Jan 2011 22:22 UTC
Google "Sometimes the sheer wrongness of what is posted on the web leaves us speechless. Especially when it's picked up and repeated as gospel by otherwise reputable sites like Engadget. 'Google copied Oracle's Java code, pasted in a new license, and shipped it', they reported this morning. Sorry, but that just isn't true."
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Comment by Radio
by Radio on Sat 22nd Jan 2011 00:26 UTC
Radio
Member since:
2009-06-20

Alas, there is a difference between technical and legal implications of the case, well summed up by a level-headed engadget:
http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/21/android-source-code-java-and-cop...

Google can remove the infriging files at once and Android will still run fine, but Oracle is going to win the case.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Radio
by umccullough on Sat 22nd Jan 2011 01:03 in reply to "Comment by Radio"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

Alas, there is a difference between technical and legal implications of the case, well summed up by a level-headed engadget:
http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/21/android-source-code-java-and-cop...

Google can remove the infriging files at once and Android will still run fine, but Oracle is going to win the case.


But, Oracle still has to prove they willfully intended to violate the copyright... (which could definitely still happen)...

Pardon my comparison to real, tangible property, but it's sorta like discovering someone has stolen goods in their car, which they claim they didn't know were there, never saw before, and have never used - but would gladly give them back to the rightful owner now that they know about it.

Ultimately, someone is responsible for wrongdoing, but it can be fuzzy. In this case, "possession" is a pretty powerful circumstance, and will be the major point that Oracle uses to prove Google's alleged wrongdoing - but there are always gray areas. In the case of the "stolen goods" - perhaps someone else threw them into an open car window and the owner didn't notice when they got back to the car... How might that play out in court?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Radio
by malxau on Sat 22nd Jan 2011 03:35 in reply to "RE: Comment by Radio"
malxau Member since:
2005-12-04

"Google can remove the infriging files at once and Android will still run fine, but Oracle is going to win the case.


But, Oracle still has to prove they willfully intended to violate the copyright... (which could definitely still happen)...
"

Why? AFAIK willful copyright infringement attracts higher damages awards, including statutory damages, but copyright infringement can still occur whether the act is willful or not. Oracle wins either way. The question now is all about damages.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by Radio
by tyrione on Sat 22nd Jan 2011 08:02 in reply to "RE: Comment by Radio"
tyrione Member since:
2005-11-21

Ignorance of the Law is not a defense in the US. It was incumbent on Google's part to scour the IP it was buying before they bought the code base.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Radio
by tanishaj on Sun 23rd Jan 2011 04:08 in reply to "RE: Comment by Radio"
tanishaj Member since:
2010-12-22

Except that stealing has nothing to do with copyright. The key is "distribution". Copyright infringement is not theft.

Distribution does not have to be product. It seems Google makes their unit tests available to lots of folks. That is "distribution" regardless of what some developer thinks. I cannot use Mickey Mouse in my presentations whether they are internal only or not.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by Radio
by glarepate on Sat 22nd Jan 2011 22:13 in reply to "Comment by Radio"
glarepate Member since:
2006-01-04

Alas, there is a difference between technical and legal implications of the case, well summed up by a level-headed engadget:
http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/21/android-source-code-java-and-cop...

Google can remove the infriging [sic] files at once and Android will still run fine, but Oracle is going to win the case.



Do you remember the Caldera/SCO Group claims that being in possession of copyright infringing materials made the possessor liable for copyright infringement? Do you also recall that that's not how the law works?

The perpetrator of the infringement is liable, not the possessor, unless they are identical, of course. Even if the programmer is a Google employee Google is not liable for the infringement unless someone in Google's management team authorized and directed it. And then that person (or persons) is guilty of conspiracy to infringe and the infringer is the only one guilty of actual infringement.

This is different from patent infringement where anyone who uses the patented functionality without a license infringes and is therefore liable.

Mr. Patel isn't the only person who had trouble getting the details right in stuff like this.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Radio
by rhavyn on Sun 23rd Jan 2011 02:35 in reply to "RE: Comment by Radio"
rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

The perpetrator of the infringement is liable, not the possessor, unless they are identical, of course. Even if the programmer is a Google employee Google is not liable for the infringement unless someone in Google's management team authorized and directed it. And then that person (or persons) is guilty of conspiracy to infringe and the infringer is the only one guilty of actual infringement.


This is 100% factually incorrect. If an employee inserts copyright infringing code into their employer's codebase, the employer is most definitely liable. It is irrelevant whether they acted with management's direction or authorization. Largely this is because the entity doing the infringing is the one distributing the work. In this case it is Google through their source repository that is doing the distribution. Thus, Google is directly infringing and liable.

Second, everyone worrying about whether it is willful, or included in Android is missing the big picture. If it is shown that Google is infringing on Oracle's copyright's, even largely irrelevant ones in the grand scheme of things, it is going to make this lawsuit much more difficult for them. Starting out a judge is likely to give you the benefit of the doubt. Once it is obvious you are doing something wrong, that benefit goes away. See the Psystar case to see how quickly this can happen and how badly the results can be. And since Google seems unable to bring counterclaims against Oracle, this is a very, very bad development for Google.

Mr. Patel isn't the only person who had trouble getting the details right in stuff like this.


In this case, the attorney has it right.

Reply Parent Score: 4