Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 7th May 2012 20:09 UTC
Legal There's some movement in the Oracle-Google lawsuit today, but it's rather difficult to determine just what kind of movement. The jury was told by the judge Alsup to assume APIs are copyrightable - something Alsup still has to determine later during trial - and with that in mind, the judge ruled Google violated Oracle's copyright on Java. However, the jury did not come to an agreement on a rather crucial question: whether or not it was fair use. All in all, a rather meaningless verdict at this point, since it's incomplete. Also, what kind of nonsense is it for a judge to tell a jury to assume something is illegal? Am I the only one who thinks that's just complete insanity?
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RE[4]: Sigh. Thom.
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 7th May 2012 21:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Sigh. Thom."
Thom_Holwerda
Member since:
2005-06-29

Yes, but even in civil cases in The Netherlands, you have to have actually done something wrong. You have to have broken the our civil code (not sure how to translate it). It's distinctly different from the way common law works.

So, just to reiterate: for someone from The Netherlands without common law this just seems incredibly unfair. I just don't understand how you can be found guilty of something of which it has not even been established if it is illegal at all!

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Sigh. Thom.
by cfgr on Mon 7th May 2012 21:57 in reply to "RE[4]: Sigh. Thom."
cfgr Member since:
2009-07-18

Well, I'm not a lawyer but I'd assume it's a way of multitasking.

To have an actual violation, we need to determine:
(1) is API copyrightable?
(2) if API is copyrightable, does Google violate it?

Or put in logic:
(1) A is true?
(2) (A => B) is true?

The jury concluded that implication (2) is valid, but that only means something when A is true. So once it's ruled that API's are in fact copyrightable then Google violated it and a new jury decision will not be needed.

Or it may be some legal trick I'm not aware of, it just seemed the most logical explanation to me.

It would be an interesting scenario where software is not a derived work in one continent but is considered as one in another. "This software may not be exported to Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and the United States of America."

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[6]: Sigh. Thom.
by terrakotta on Tue 8th May 2012 18:15 in reply to "RE[5]: Sigh. Thom."
terrakotta Member since:
2010-04-21

Why go over (2) if A is not valid,
That's like first executing the body and then looking at the if-statement to dismiss the work you put into the body if it's a 0. Quite ineffective if you ask me. Never got the whole common law thing anyway, I know it allows the system to be more nimble, and to adapt more easily to knew situations. It is also more error prone, and it puts power into peoples' hands that should not have them. A judge and jury are no politicians who should be making the law. The legal system provides for people that establish whether or not a law has been broken. Separation of power is what it's called.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: Sigh. Thom.
by quackalist on Mon 7th May 2012 22:32 in reply to "RE[4]: Sigh. Thom."
quackalist Member since:
2007-08-27

It does seem, on the face of it, a waste of time and perverse for a jury to adjudicate on a matter of fact on the assumption it's illegal when the judge has yet to give a judgement on the law.

If they'd found against would that mean the judge wouldn't have bothered with the judgement on law? Presumably, more important for everyone else if the judgement did or didn't open yet another Pandora's box of future litigation.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[6]: Sigh. Thom.
by ctl_alt_del on Mon 7th May 2012 23:01 in reply to "RE[5]: Sigh. Thom."
ctl_alt_del Member since:
2006-05-14

If they'd found against would that mean the judge wouldn't have bothered with the judgement on law?

Bingo! The judge doesn't want to rule and potentially set any precedent of law unless it's required.

edit: My guess is the judge was thinking (hoping) the jury would find there was no copyright infringement or it was "fair use" or "de minimis".

Edited 2012-05-07 23:06 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[5]: Sigh. Thom.
by lemur2 on Tue 8th May 2012 07:40 in reply to "RE[4]: Sigh. Thom."
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Yes, but even in civil cases in The Netherlands, you have to have actually done something wrong. You have to have broken the our civil code (not sure how to translate it). It's distinctly different from the way common law works.

So, just to reiterate: for someone from The Netherlands without common law this just seems incredibly unfair. I just don't understand how you can be found guilty of something of which it has not even been established if it is illegal at all!


Don't sweat it Thom. The Jury has only decided that IF the API's are subject to copyright, then Google copied them. The Jury does bot get to say if the APIs are, or are not, subject to copyright.

Here is a source indicating Oracle's and Google's reactions to the findings:

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20120507122749740

Partial Verdict; Oracle Wins Nothing That Matters

Recap of the day: Google won everything but the one issue that the judge has to decide anyway, the API SSO issue. The jury found, as they had been instructed to assume for the purposes of deliberation, that APIs can be copyrighted, the structure, sequence and arrangement of APIs, but that is by no means established. The same question, in a b) section, asked if fair use excused any infringement if found, and the jury couldn't resolve that issue. But the judge has to decide whether or not that is true, that APIs can be protected by copyright. That comes later this month. Meanwhile, Oracle prevailed only on 9 lines of code that Google admitted prior to trial to have included by mistake and then removed from current Android. Oracle's own expert, the judge pointed out in court, valued those 9 lines of code at zero. This is 9 lines out of millions. So that means, if we are looking at damages, that so far Oracle has won nothing. There is no liability. You can't have infringement without considering fair use, Google asserts, and there will be briefing on that. Somebody has to decide that fair use issue. And then the judge has to decide about the API copyrightability issue. If he rules that APIs can't be copyrighted, as the EU Court of Justice just ruled, then fair use is moot. And Oracle takes nothing at all from the copyright phase of this litigation, and this was heralded far and wide by Oracle people as the big ticket item, if you recall.

Don't let anyone fool you. Today was a major victory for Google. That's why after the jury left, our reporter says that Google's table was laughing, and Oracle's mighty glum.

Reply Parent Score: 5