back to article Java jury finds Google guilty of infringement: Now what?

No judge has tried harder than Judge Alsup, presiding over the Oracle-versus-Google case, to persuade two warring parties not to go to court. But he hadn't counted for the egos of the two billionaire Larrys. The jury seems to affirm Alsup's instincts were correct. At the weekend, after five days of deliberating, the panel …

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  1. The BigYin

    Copyright an API?

    Really? If that happens the IT world is screwed.

    Well, even more screwed that it currently is with patents etc.

    Google were dumb to fork the Linux kernel and Java as they did. But look at the innovation and industry that exploded around Android. The two players kicking up a stink (MS and Oracle) are nowhere in the spaces Android occupies.

    AIUI the Android kernel is coming back into Linux mainline. Looks like the 'freetards' have shown the big corporates up again.

    This judgement could have serious implications for the IT world and is a sad day for consumers.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Copyright an API?

      OTOH the way things are going, the way things are at the moment more-or-less suits the big players just fine. Software patents have to have to reach such a level of absurdity before something is done about them and this ruling helps achieve.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Copyright an API?

      Copyright on an API is nothing new and was already covered by the US court of Appeals over the Johnson Controls v. Phoenix Control Systems case back in 1989!

      In fact the similarities between the two cases are striking. No wonder the judge brought it up.

      In that case they found that "Nonliteral components of computer software may be protected by copyright where they constitute expression, rather than ideas." The court then found for the claimant.

      Did the IT world fall over because of this? Of course not.

      The discussion is simply how far has Google copied. Is it just the ideas or does it go as far as being expression?

      1. Tim Parker

        Re: Copyright an API?

        "Copyright on an API is nothing new and was already covered by the US court of Appeals over the Johnson Controls v. Phoenix Control Systems case back in 1989!"

        Johnson Controls pre-dates, and is superseded by Feist, see e.g.

        http://www.law.cornell.edu/copyright/cases/499_US_340.htm

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Copyright an API?

          @Tim

          Thanks but are you sure about that? The case you linked to is for "telephone directory white pages". At least Johnson Controls was still about software.

          1. Tim Parker

            Re: Copyright an API?

            'Thanks but are you sure about that? The case you linked to is for "telephone directory white pages". '

            Yep - bizarre as it may sound. It deals with, inter alia, the concept of originality with regard to protection from copying of compilations. This has been brought up recently in relation to the 'originality' of (at least some parts of) the Java APIs.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Copyright an API?

        Aren't the x86 and AMD64 instruction sets also an API after all?

        I think we've also seen a few battles between at least Intel and AMD over that.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Copyright an API?

          and cross licenced of course so that intel wont have a monopoly.

    3. h4rm0ny
      Headmaster

      Re: Copyright an API?

      "Looks like the 'freetards' have shown the big corporates up again."

      Freetard doesn't refer to programmers who work on Open Source projects. These people contribute a lot and choose to release their work under Libre licences. "Freetard" is a term describing those who want to receive things in exchange for nothing, e.g. those thinking the world owes them a copy of every movie.

      Freetard and Open Source developer are almost opposites. in concept. One gives freely, the other takes freely.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @h4rm0ny

        The 2 are bundled together by people who still think the Market is the only way to run the world, and therefore free (regardless of whether it is for contributing or consuming) is somewhere around communist and evil. They probably voted for Bush too. :)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yawning Donkey

    Predictable anti-Google spin.

    This is clearly a result for Google.

  3. a582435

    You missed the biggest outstanding question, the one not put to the jury: Can an SSO be placed under copyright at all? That one is for Alsup to decide. FWIW, the EU court just ruled that, in fact, SSO's and APIs et al can NOT be under copyright, at least in the EU. Currently there is no definitive US law that says otherwise. Alsup will make the final call, but if he decides that they are copyrightable, it would put the US out of step with the EU on this important question and turn decades of computing practice on its head. Most pundits feel that he must rule the same way as the EU court did, which would completely nullify any finding of infringement.

    Even if the finding holds, Oracle stands to gain -- at the utmost -- only about $150,000. I think that Google can probably afford that.

    1. paulc
      Mushroom

      Alsup will defer to the expertise of the EU decision...

      and decide that API's cannot be copyrighted. He will then throw the ball back in Oracle's court and it will be up to them to appeal his decision in law up the various courts to the supreme court.

      Only the most perversely stacked Supreme Court would decide to go against the decision of the EU courts.

      On the subject of the penalty for the 9 lines of copied source code in millions... Oracle again have shot themselves in the foot here as there are doubts that they have even legally met the requirements for registering the copyright in those 9 lines... so even if they were able to go for the statuary judgement for infringement, it would be thrown out.

      Oracle's expert has already testified that the expected damages for those 9 lines amount to zero anyway.

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Alsup will defer to the expertise of the EU decision...

        Copyright does not require registration. The creator of any given 'thing' automatically owns the copyright (unless they created it while working for someone else.)

        Trademarks, servicemarks and patents require registration but contrary to popular belief, registering those things only gives the alleged infringed upon party the right to sue for damages. It does not guarantee a finding.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Alsup will defer to the expertise of the EU decision...

          as I understand it, registering trademarks, and designs means that should it come to the court, the owner of the registration is effectively starting one-up on the (alleged) infringer.

          Registration may give a longer protection period. in the Uk a registered design can be protected for up to 25 years (provided you pay the fees) while an unregsistered one is only 15.

        2. Paul Shirley

          Re: Don Jefe: Copyright does not require registration.

          ...but in the US system winning statutory damages does require them to be registered at the claimed time of infringement. Despite Oracles heroic efforts to push the 'call 2600 times while Android starts' line, the only payout left is statutory damages, their own efforts to artificially inflate the total damages having zero rated this one.

        3. Tom 13

          Re: Copyright does not require registration.

          Major Nit: While your statement is technically true, it misses the larger point. If you have properly registered your copyright, the existence of your copyright is assumed and must be proven to have been improperly awarded if some other entity objects. If you have not registered the copyright you have to prove it is a valid copyright. This tremendously shifts the burden of proof in court. Moreover, given the negligible cost of registering a copyright with the US government ($25 last time I heard), it looks really negligent when the million dollar a year lawyers start arguing that case.

      2. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: Alsup will defer to the expertise of the EU decision...

        I've seen what I think are the nine lines. I'm not a Java programmer (mostly C and 360/370 assembler) but think there's about a 50% probability I would, independently, have implemented the function identically. The only other reasonable alternative I saw would have inverted sense of the comparisons and got the same result. The infringement, if it really is such, is hardly worth a lunch for the lawyers.

      3. Tom 13

        @paulc

        Keep up that kind of ranting and SCOTUS will rule to copyright the API. SCOTUS is beholden to no other court when determining American Law. I thought we settled that dispute back in the 1770-1820 time period.

    2. Tom 13

      @a582435

      Not sure it matters how Alsup rules on this. Given the size of the egos and the markets in this lawsuit, I expect it to go all the way to SCOTUS. Of course, Alsup producing a well-reasoned ruling will help, but ultimately I don't think he makes the final call. Frankly I'm not sure I want SCOTUS making the final call either. Except of course that having Congresscritters decide it is even less appetizing.

  4. iagorubio
    FAIL

    Oracle got it wrong

    "The overwhelming evidence demonstrated that Google knew it needed a license and that its unauthorized fork of Java in Android shattered Java's central write once run anywhere principle"

    Question 4A: "Has Google proven that Sun and/or Oracle engaged in conduct Sun and/or Oracle knew or should have known would reasonably lead Google to believe that it would not need a license to use the structure, sequence, and organization of the copyrighted compilable code?"

    Jury Verdict: YES.

    So or Oracle's legal counsel is utterly incompetent - and I do really doubt it - or this phrase is just a PR stunt.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The "overwhelming evidence" is UNDERwhelming

      Indeed, the "overwhelming evidence" appears to be an email from a fellow named Lindholm -- a technologist, not a lawyer, BTW -- who was opining that the alternatives to full-up Java (which includes, significantly, the use of the Java name and trademark, and access to the compatibility test suite or "TCK", for which Sun charged fees and had license restrictions) sucked.

      The gist of the e-mail was that he thought it technically preferable to go the full-up-with-license-trademark-and-TCK route rather than roll their own implementations. Oracle's representations notwithstanding, this was NOT a qualified legal opinion that a license was needed to implement the functionality in order to avoid copyright infringement.

      Hint to the editors: It helps to read the source material rather than relying on tweets from ZDnet.

      Aside from the doubtless-unprotectable "SSO" of the specification, all that Google is found guilty of copying is a pretty trivial nine-line function that was written by someone now working for Google, and was contributed by him to Sun. The damages value of those nine lines: $0.00. Nothing "major" here, folks, move along.

      There's nothing to the "major charge" unless the judge goes right off the deep end and cuts against established case law to radically expand copyright protection for the structure and organization of software library interfaces, which seems very unlikely.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The "overwhelming evidence" is UNDERwhelming

        And if I'm not mistaken, the email from Lindholm was written after Oracle had already initiated the case against Google, so it doesn't prove anything about what they knew or ought to have known back when they released Andriod.

  5. James Micallef Silver badge
    Devil

    Pandora's box??

    A computer language is fundamentally a collection of mathematical functions and therefore should not be patentable, however the actual implementation of a language i.e. a compiler / interpreter, development environment, APIs etc are actual bits of implemented code and are therefore covered by copyright. Documentation is obviously covered by copyright.

    If Google had built their own compiler / interpreter, development environment, APIs etc based on Java syntax but with their own code, In my book that would have been OK. If (as it seems indeed happened) they copied the code wholesale from Sun's implementation, they violated the copyright.

    Why is it so difficult to sort this out?

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Re: Pandora's box??

      If (as it seems indeed happened) they copied the code wholesale from Sun's implementation, they violated the copyright.

      But they did not copy the code wholesale. All they copied was the method signatures. They wrote, or took from Apache Harmony, which they where perfectly entitled to do so, the code to implement those functions.

      This case boils down to can I take the spec for a language ant write my own interpreter/compiler without needing a license. Oracle say's I can't the rest of the software industry says I can.

      Now it's down to a Judge.

      1. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: Pandora's box??

        @John G Imrie

        Thanks for the clarification, my impression from the article was that Google had copied teh source code. If Google only copied the method signatures and implemented their own code underneath, then I think this is OK. The spec is public (at least in the sense that every function is discoverable from documentation and/or trial and error).

        "Now it's down to a Judge."... and if he decides in Oracle's favour he's going to upset a whole lot of applecarts

    2. john 112

      Re: Pandora's box??

      Clearly a person or a company should be able to patent and or copyright his work. If someone pays to make a language possible in one sense he has a right to own the language.

      What seems wrong is lashing the patent whip after a language is commonly adopted. If we knew in advance that java is a locked in proprietary language, the same as c# and fundamentally different than c++ or php developers might make different choices.

      Fundamentally, to me, it means use c# and c++ on windows, c++, php or something else on linux,

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: Pandora's box??

        Okay john 112 - who owns English?

      2. Anonymous Dutch Coward
        Mushroom

        Re: Pandora's box??

        Somebody wants to have his cake and eat it...

        1. Tom 13
          Happy

          @Anonymous Dutch Coward: No, no

          somebody want to have Tea and No Tea at the same time.

  6. Paul Shirley

    "The jury found Google to be unequivocally guilty of copyright infringement on the major charge"

    No. All the jury decided was there was no reason to use jury nullification to ignore the law of the case. Alsup told them to assume API's were copyrightable, Google made no attempt to deny using the APIs. He might as well have left the NO response off the form, it wasn't in play. There only contribution on Q1 was failing to reject Googles actual defence.

    'Failing to reject' because that's where the balance of proof now lies when Alsup decides it, he has to find some excuse to reject it, not look for Google to prove it. It's a mess he probably didn't consider and Oracle is screwed whatever happens.

  7. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  8. Tim Parker

    License

    "For its part, Oracle has presented damning and unequivocal evidence that Google knew it needed a licence if it was to build Android on Java"

    "Unequivocal" ? Well if you're talking about having Android running on a certified compatible implementation of Java SE (e.g. certified via the JCK), then yes... but it doesn't. That leads to the question of whether there is a requirement to obtain a license for the "necessary IP" the JCP expert group members may have - something the clean room implementation was, in part, meant to avoid. The liability as found in the trial for the copyright side of the implementation has been described by Judge Alsup as essentially zero - the patent part is being debated now - so it's hard to agree with you here.

    If you're suggesting that there is "unequivocal evidence that Google knew it needed a licence" to implement Android as they have done - well then, no, that's simply not true.

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: License

      Google had a licence, an Apache licence for Harmony.

      It didn't need, nor want, a licence from Oracle.

  9. schubb
    Meh

    It seems simple...but it never is

    Sun did not have issue, therefore Oracle should be out of luck. But then could they say "from the day we bought Sun, Java is no longer available like it was previously"? This is why companies should not waffle, it is open for this, it is not...then there are no problems in the future.

    1. Paul Shirley

      Re: It seems simple...but it never is

      The doctrines of laches and estoppel stop this sort of trick. Take too long to assert your rights and you risk losing the right to assert them under laches. Estoppel can stop you clawing rights back by withdrawing an offer - this is what 4B is about.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: It seems simple...but it never is

      Except that they couldn't really do that either. Sun open sourced most of Java, but kept a small part of it proprietary in an attempt to retain control of what they open sourced. So at least your remark about not waffling holds. If Sun hadn't waffled, we wouldn't be here either. Of course if Oracle had made a clear statement, Google might have worked a bit harder at making sure their path was legally clear and perfectly clean room. And on the third hand, Google ought to have done that even without a clear Oracle statement "out of an abundance of caution in exercising their fiduciary responsibilities to the shareholders." Or at least I believe that is the usual legal mumbo-jumbo associated with such undertakings.

  10. Peter Simpson 1
    FAIL

    Other shoe...

    "The jury found Google to be unequivocally guilty of copyright infringement on the major charge, copying the "overall structure, sequence and organization" of Java for its mobile operating system Android. "

    That's a true statement. However, the judge instructed the jury to assume that the APIs were copyrightable. The judge is going to rule on whether or not this is actually the case at a later time.

    So, Google is guilty of copying the API, they never denied that. And the EU courts just decided that APIs are not copyrightable. So, the judge has yet to drop that other shoe...whether APIs are copyrightable in the US.

  11. Mage Silver badge
    Coat

    There is a mistake in the article

    Re: Copyright

    "Defeat could potentially allow an extension of copyright into previously undisputed areas, such as programming languages and APIs."

    In reality these have ALWAYS been copyright, it's just that the originators have either not put any usage terms or placed the work in the Public domain.

    Writing up a Computer language specification or API is no different to creating any other new written work.

    Actually Zilog used different mnemonics for the common instructions of Z80 with 8080 and 8085 because indeed the 8080 & 8085 mnemonics are (c) Intel.

    The reason for whole existence of BSD, GNU (before Linus wrote his Kernel) was in fact a copyright law war between Bell Labs (AT&T) and the Universities over UNIX ownership. Obviously Google has tried to sidestep Java ownership in a more clackhanded manner than GNU and BSD vs AT&T/Bell Labs.

    GNU = Gnu is Not Unix

    Mines the one with the Z80 handbook in the pocket

  12. ratfox Silver badge
    Happy

    "Catastrophic appearance of former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz"

    Why catastrophic? Or rather, catastrophic for who? Oracle, or Andrew Orlowski?

    1. CABVolunteer
      Happy

      Re: "Catastrophic appearance of former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz"

      Yeah, it's so "catastrophic" for Google's case that Google's attornies want to call Schwartz again for the patents phase of the case and Oracle's attornies have been trying to get the judge to block further testimony from him.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr. Orlowski, justice is not about who you like and who you dislike

    It is about right versus wrong as per the written laws. What Jonathan Schwartz did or did not at that time might be seen as catastrophic but that is the history and those are the facts. As much as Oracle would like, with all their money and lawyers they still can't turn back time. It is one Larry's ego that is the problem here, and he is the one inclined to ruin the whole software universe just to get more money. SCO tried to do the same and failed miserably.

    In your opinion Google should cave in just because they can afford to pay and because it is for the software industry's good to settle this matter. You can of course use these arguments to defend any protection racket and make it look socially acceptable but not in a court of justice.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Mr. Orlowski, justice is not about who you like and who you dislike

      Sun put themselves on the auction block to avoid going bankrupt. Regardless of whether you like or dislike either Schwartz or Larry, I'd say that Schwartz's tenure was therefore objectively catastrophic.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Misleading

    At the risk of being called a fanboy, you obviously don't keep up with Groklaw coverage or even looked at the case in question. To steal the summary from Groklaw's latest update:

    "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."

    I don't claim to be a big Groklaw fan, but I do read their coverage to get a balanced reading on the issues at hand, like I did in SCO vs IBM, et al too. Basically, Oracle won nothing. Google stuck to their "fair use" argument (which is fair, because all they used is the API interface - which is DESIGNED to be "copiable" - and the "9 lines" are really worth nothing even if they came with comments that said "HAHAHAHAHAHA! WE STOLE THIS FROM ORACLE!" all over it).

    But, strangely, so far BBC, Slashdot and now The Reg are somehow writing articles that claim it's the end of the world for Google and game over and Google were naughty. I can't really see that side myself at all, but I haven't read *EVERY* court transcript there is. There are strange parallels to the SCO vs IBM argument that "this standard .h file which you need to interface with POSIX applications has very similar 'code' (i.e. numbers corresponding to a list of constants) in Linux for the purpose of POSIX applications using it!).

    I don't think this will do anything to the industry or Google at all but someone, somewhere, somehow, has managed to turn it into something that will dent Google's share price when, actually, Oracle - and anyone who parrots their claims - is looking extremely dodgy to me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Misleading

      Groklaw's views always favour Google.

      You may want to read the other sources as there are there are other views.

      1. fandom

        Re: Misleading

        Of course there are other views, for example, when the veredict was announced, Oracle stock went down while Google's went up.

        Despite most headlines claiming a mayor win for Oracle.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Stop

          Re: Misleading

          Indeed:

          https://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ%3AORCL

          https://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=NASDAQ:GOOG

          Google's didn't really change over the last week, but Oracle's continued to slide. I think that pretty much sums things up. Oracle so far are the losers, and the liklihood of the Judge calling API's copyright-able after the EU have just ruled they aren't are pretty much non-existant.

          Watch Oracles stock fall further than that happens....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Misleading

        The facts in the Groklaw report, i.e. that the Jury was instructed to assume API's are copyrightable, and that they couldn't decide if copying the APIs was fair use, are completely factual and correct. The only opinion in the Grolaw article is that is was a victory for Google.

        Given that Google didn't deny copying the APIs in the first place, and that they were found not guilty of copying the documentation, and the 9 lines of code they admitted to copying were worth $0 (according to Oracle's own testimony), would you like to explain in what way this is not a victory for Google?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Misleading

          The facts on Fosspatents are also factual and correct, it's always the added opinion that is tinted in whatever side the site tends to.

          So Google had a jury verdict confirming they did copy the syntax and structure of Java but whether such action can be considered fair use or not is still up for decision - which is the crucial point for the copyright part of the proceedings.

          Can you explain how this is a victory for Google? It's not a huge loss I give you that, but a victory it certainly is not.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Trollface

            Re: Misleading

            Sorry, but what facts in fosspatents? Besides what Oracle and Microsoft pay florian to write, it is hard to find any facts in the middle of the paid opinions.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @AC 15:25GMT - Re: Misleading

            How many court documents do you see published/quoted/analyzed on Fosspatents website ? Groklaw makes heavy use of these documents to back their claims and opinions and most of the time, the court decisions are proving them correct. How many times did this happen with Fosspatents and with the you know who's behind it ?

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Misleading

            Because it is not a loss at all. Google never denied copying the APIs. And to quote the Judge - "The affirmative defense of fair use is still in play". Go lookup affirmative defense. It is the same as if you kill someone and plead self defense: you are not denying that you killed them, but you are pleading not guilty to murder/manslaughter. By analogy, all the jury has done is ruled that the killed person is dead. Wow! Big news!

            It is left to the Judge to decide if the API is covered by copyright, and (if they are) then whether fair use is a valid defense in this case. On the other points at the trial Google also admitted they copied the 9 lines of code, so this is not a loss either, but the damages were established to be $0 because of Oracle's own witness, so that's a loss for Oracle. The only other question of the case was whether they copied the documentation - on this Google was found not to have infringed copyright. So on the only point of the case that was decided or meaningful, Google won.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Misleading

            But usually the facts on Fosspatents are only the ones that support its yoghurty named owner. On Groklaw I can read court transcripts etc. Yes I'm sure there is spin but when you see the whole of the jury's response laid out with the questions along side it I'm able to make my own conclusions... how often do you see stuff like that on Fosspatents? Or are you saying Groklaw have made them up?

          5. tom dial Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: Misleading

            The facts on Fosspatents may be correct, and the picture of the jury form appears correct. However the greatest part of the article appears to be about how the judge and jury erred. I also observe that Mr. Mueller omits mention that he is a paid consultant to Oracle Corporation. All in all, it might not be a big win for Google, but the undertaking, so far, has been a big waste for Oracle, who appear likely to win about a week's worth of their outside attorney's fees.

          6. Tim Parker

            @AC Re: Misleading

            "So Google had a jury verdict confirming they did copy the syntax and structure of Java but whether such action can be considered fair use or not is still up for decision - which is the crucial point for the copyright part of the proceedings."

            Fair use is one, rather important point, in this phase of the case... the issue of whether the APIs are eligible for copyright protection is another, which rather makes the other point moot if it fails that test. That is "still up for decision".

          7. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Misleading

            "The facts on Fosspatents are also factual and correct, it's always the added opinion that is tinted in whatever side the site tends to."

            Ha Ha! Fosspatents. Well, I guess you might want to take a look at how often Fosspatents' opinions turn out to be correct when all is said and done. Groklaw provides all of the court docs (when available) for discussion. Fosspatenets tends to provide snipits that are spun to support the purchaser of the opinions and prevents comments. FM is paid by Oracle to spin . . .

        2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: Re: Misleading

          Now that's what I call spin.

          1. Tim Parker

            @Andrew Orlowski Re: Misleading

            "Now that's what I call spin."

            Ahhhh - dramatic irony at its finest....

      3. peter 45

        Re: Misleading

        "Groklaw's views always favour Google".

        Seems that a Jury agrees with Groklaw, and for that matter with Google. Now how did that happen?

      4. Lee Dowling Silver badge

        Re: Misleading

        "Groklaw's views always favour Google. You may want to read the other sources as there are there are other views."

        If you'd read my comment, I do. Few of them link to entire court transcripts of the events as they unfold, and those that do - strangely - all have the same facts in them! After that it's just interpretation. I can ignore Groklaw's interpretation (the "we were right, aren't we wonderful" thing always gets on my nerves, actually, because anyone with a brain could tell they were right when they said it originally, etc.)

        The problem here is not the interpretation (personally, I think Google are home and dry here and Oracle are facing a minor SCO-style slide into oblivion if they don't react quickly, others think otherwise and there's a whole spectrum of opinion on the matter - not black and white), it's the facts. Which this article, like Oracle, conveniently ignores in order to make their "case" sound better.

        Copyrighting an API destroys large parts of IT. You couldn't do it, at least not sensibly or without everyone fleeing that particular country who has any interest in doing serious IT work. It would literally kill WINE, Android, Linux (POSIX API's remember!), Samba, every instant messenger program, etc. every Exchange connector, anything that "resembles" or works with SAP, etc. all overnight. But given that even Samba's use of API's, for example, is basically an enforcement and endorsement of the EU courts, that would be extremely tricky to resolve such a paradox and either such a ruling would have zero square metres of jurisdiction, or have to not exist at all.

        Not copyrighting an API means Google have done nothing wrong WHATSOEVER based on the judge and jury's rulings and decisions so far. In fact, they have been pushing for motions to dismiss and mistrial BECAUSE of that fact - i.e. Oracle knew it never had a leg to stand on and it's only red-tape that's keeping the case going. Even a basic decision in this are is win-win for Google. But some people are interpreting that as "THE WHOLE IT INDUSTRY IS GOING TO DIE BECAUSE OF GOOGLE!" whereas, in fact, things are the opposite and the only one trying to apply for exclusive ownership of anything even vaguely resembling, replacing or interoperating with their kit are actually Oracle. Yet, their predecessor was more than happy about such things (as they should be).

        Oracle here are on shaky ground. Shouting the odds about how a wonderful success has been achieved sends the wrong message. They just got their backside kicked, hard. They are looking at a bleak, empty, expensive lawsuit that only damages themselves. They are looking at shareholders taking a close look at what went on and where all that money went and why. They are looking at having to deal with copycat-Java's popping up everywhere and making them obsolete JUST BECAUSE of what they've done with this lawsuit (would you touch Java API code now?). A bit like they did with OpenOffice, but with real, legal implications - buy it, break it, try to crush the opposition when they make a replacement, end up not having one iota of influence on the entire product from that point on because everyone avoids working with you.

        Much as I hate Oracle and don't-mind Google, this is a really-skewed opinion piece based on a poor reading of the case and the court transcripts. You can't stand in the way of facts. Oracle are gonna hurt on this one.

        1. Tom 13

          @Lee Dowling - Re: Misleading

          Your facts may all be correct with respect to the impact on the industry, but they don't matter in a court of law. There are some pretty well known and well liked decisions that overturned a hell of a lot more industry than allowing copyrights on API.

          The judge has very obviously been trying to avoid ruling on exactly that point. If the verdicts on the 3 points Oracle won had come back the other way, ruling on copyrighting APIs would have been moot. Now whether them judge is just naturally reluctant to be the first to speak to the issue, or whether he's trying to avoid it because if he has to rule it will be for copyrighting APIs and he recognizes the damage that would do I don't know.

  16. Dazed and Confused

    I'll live with

    Oracle being able to stop anyone else using Java, if IBM promise to stop Oracle selling SQL databases.

    I'd class that as:

    a) a result

    b) the biggest own goal in history

    1. Carl

      Re: I'll live with

      Yep.

      I would happily go to my grave knowing I would never have to work with another Oracle product.

      And that includes Weblogic.

      Speaking of weblogic, they use a TON of apache stuff for the XMLbeans code gen.

  17. br14

    "Defeat could potentially allow an extension of copyright into previously undisputed areas, such as programming languages and APIs"

    Surely copyright already extends into these areas. The reality being no one bothers to enforce copyright. Just because something is copyrightable doesn't mean it has to be enforced. And Java has been licensed by numerous corporations before Google decided it didn't need a license.

    There is barely a single source code file I have ever used - open source or otherwise - that didn't have a copyright statement at its head. Including API definitions.

    You might say Google losing has ramifications, but it's nothing to the potential impact of them winning.

    My concern is that if Google wins, it becomes open season to copy someones source code (claiming fair use if required), and use it as you wish. All those Android and iPhone HTML5 apps could be copied at will by major corporations and given away under their own brand.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Surely copyright already extends into these areas.

      No it doesn't. API's up to know have been classed as a list of facts and lists of facts are not copyrightable.

      Oracle is claiming that the organization and the structure of the API is copyrightable.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Big difference..

      ..between an API spec and the code behind it. If I have a black box that takes certain input and returns certain output and I tell the world that if you input x,y,z you get ABC back then can I take you to court if you produce another black box that does the same..even if the internal processes are different. You are saying that I can.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quandry

    Hmm, I want Google to lose, but I don't want Oracle to win.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quandry

      I disagree entirely ... I want Oracle to lose, but I don't want Google to win.

  19. br14

    Groklaw is biased in favour of anything they consider "open sourced". They're therefore far from balanced, even if they are principled.

    Problem is they're so focussed on narrow principles around open source they seem to forget the fact many of these decisions are made for purely commercial reasons and apparently miss the bigger picture.

    There's barely an open source project on the planet that doesn't have corporate backing somewhere that sees open source as a way of improving it's bottom line.

    Google gives away Android in hopes of making a fortune from targeted advertising and the sale of information. And they do indeed make a fortune. They're not in it for the love of open source.

    Oracle and Google are large corporations who seek to make a profit and increase shareholder value. This is not a battle between good and evil. It's a battle of two evils.

    1. fandom

      bias

      Groklaw is so biased that they predicted from the start that SCO had no case, they even went as far as writing, where everyone could read it, that SCO didn't own the Unix copyrights.

      Just because every judge and jury agreed with them doesn't mean they were right, it was just bias you know.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: bias

        The SCO case has no relevance to this case and the circumstances are very different. None of the current companies is a desolate shell of a its former self, for example.

        However it is interesting that after the SCO case, Groklaw's mysterious owner - amusing choice for a promoter of all things open - "PJ" said the site was shutting down.

        But something made them re-spawn.

      2. peter 45
        Thumb Up

        Re: bias

        Subtle Troll baiting at its best. Even I had to read it twice

        Sir, applause is due

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Could you explain why making a profit is evil?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Groklaw Bias?

      I would say that Groklaw is more biased against Software Patents, Trolls and Protection Rackets.

      They've been on the side of many a large corporation before when someone is trying it on. When the law and sometimes just the laws of common sense tells them that a case should not succeed.

      As you will notice they are rarely on the side of the complainant due to this. FOSS companies generally seem to be reluctant to initiate Patent litigation.

      Just remember that this case wasn't really about the 'SSO' to start with it was more about the patents. The SSO was just created due to most of the patents being invalidated and very little left for Oracle to form a case - a bit like the Black Knight in Monty Python's and the Holy Grail... or more readily like SCO v the World.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Groklaw Bias?

        > I would say that Groklaw is more biased against Software Patents

        So they sided with IBM? The company with most software patents in the IT industry?

        Where was Groklaw when IBM sued Amazon over "software-based techniques for storing, retrieving and displaying information on Internet commerce Web sites, for making buying recommendations, and for handling online transactions"

        No, Groklaw is only biased against software patents that don't please the people behind itself.

        1. fandom
          FAIL

          Re: Groklaw Bias?

          I can't be the only one who is pissed at 'Anonymous cowards' who argue among themselves with no way to tell who says what.

          Will you please stop that moronic meme?

          1. Paul Shirley

            Re: Groklaw Bias?

            People too stupid to filter through the bias and dig out the underlying truths are too stupid to share an opinion and should just STFU.

            Not helped by the lack of understanding of IP and IP law shown by almost every individual working in IT.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @fandom

            Some of these Anonymous cowards may have jobs in companies concerned.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually, I would dispute that Google has to seek profit and increase shareholder value

      Think about it: Google is entirely controlled by the three guys at the top. They hold a majority share of the voting stock. As long as these three agree of a strategy, they literally do not need to maximize shareholder value.

      And when you think about it, it is pretty likely that the main motivation of Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt is not to make even more money than they already have.

      1. br14

        Re: Actually, I would dispute that Google has to seek profit and increase shareholder value

        "And when you think about it, it is pretty likely that the main motivation of Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt is not to make even more money than they already have."

        Are you serious?

        When they increase shareholder value they increase their own personal wealth. Clearly they don't have to do that, but they do it anyway.

        Why wouldn't they simply pay Oracle what they want if they don't care about the money? Why didn't they cough up the far more reasonable $3 a license Sun would have asked? That cash might have kept Sun as an independent company - one that open sourced its inventions.

        Google seeks total domination in the world of advertising. Android has provided them a fantastic tool in the pursuit of understanding your every move, from your location to your spending habit to the time you get up in the morning. They seek to obtain as much personal information about people as they can, then they use that information to gain higher revenues from targeted advertising.

        This is their sole motivation, and the rationale behind all the goodies they like to give away. Just check their privacy agreements if you believe otherwise.

        Google has refused to license in the smartphone field to ensure Android manufacturers can undercut the opposition. Mobile operators make significantly more cash selling Androids that other devices. That is changing as Google loses more and more IP cases, which is why they spent billions buying up Motorolas IP - in order to protect their wealth.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Actually, I would dispute that Google has to seek profit and increase shareholder value

          > Why didn't they cough up the far more reasonable $3 a license Sun would have asked?

          Because Sun would have imposed 'field of use restrictions' and made them use the inadequate Java ME. Google wanted to use Java SE and Sun refused them that. This is why they went with an Apache licence from Harmony as it was SE compatible.

          > Google seeks total domination in the world of advertising.

          Not at all. They offer a service and compete with the other services on quality. Microsoft, OTOH, makes it difficult for Windows, XBox and WP users to not use Bing.

      2. Tom 13

        Re: Actually, I would dispute that Google has to seek profit and increase shareholder value

        And like SCO you would lose.

        No matter how large your controlling interest, you still have a fiduciary responsibility to ALL the shareholders. If any one of them sues and can prove in a court of law that you have not acted in their best financial interest, you personally will lose a LOT of money. And that 'Lot' will be even by Page, Brin, and Schmidt standards.

    5. tom dial Silver badge

      Groklaw openly expresses approval for free software. It does not follow that Groklaw reporting is slanted or unbalanced. If you have evidence of that you should post it instead of simply stating it as if it were an obvious fact; it is not obvious and, as far as I can tell, it also is not true.

    6. iagorubio
      Meh

      Groklaw is biased in favour of anything they consider "open sourced"

      Then why in the Apple vs Pystar case they favoured Apple ?

      Because Groklaw is biased in favour of whom they think is abiding to law. Don't tell me Apple is loved now by Open Source fans.

      1. br14

        Re: Groklaw is biased in favour of anything they consider "open sourced"

        "of whom they think is abiding to law"

        And so is everyone else. It's all about opinion.

      2. Carl

        Re: Groklaw is biased in favour of anything they consider "open sourced"

        "Don't tell me Apple is loved now by Open Source fans."

        Well they are loved in the sense that OSX == BSD.

        Here's the rub. Apple, Oracle, MS are all in favour of FOSS when they can use it but then get all bratty if someone so much as glances at their preciousssss.

        This double standard is what pisses people off.

        Some might say they are "maximising shareholder value".

        I would say they are poisoning their own brand.

  20. John Styles

    When programming is outlawed, only outlaws will program

    Can we please make sure that to the extent copyright is enforced, that we make sure it goes back to, what is it, life + 50 years, to everyone who invented the basis of computing e.g. Church, Turing, Von Neumann, Backus, Kleene, Dijkstra, Hoare etc.

    Make sure that Oracle pays its dues for terminally f***king things up for everyone else, and make sure the inventors got the credit rather than these Johnnie come latelys. [Probably their employers for those who weren't academics? One for the lawyers anyway :-)]

    Who invented the block IF and the WHILE loop anyway? Can Bohm and Jacopini get their cut?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structured_program_theorem

    Bomb the industry back into the stone age. Go on, I dare you.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    Drop Java

    Make Oracle pay - drop Java. It's not like it's much good anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Drop Java

      It's as bad as Android. In an ideal world the court would just order both to drop.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        Re: Drop Java

        How dare you make that claim @AC1459 .

        At least Java wasn't copied.

  22. Simon Lyon

    Groklaw has a few things in addition to comments

    Like the scanned PDF of the actual verdict form signed by the foreman of the jury.

    Like an eyewitness account from someone actually in the courtroom reporting what the judge actually said. To whit: "There has been zero finding of liability on copyright, the issue of fair use is still in play”.

    But why let the facts get in the way of parroting Oracles spin.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Groklaw has a few things in addition to comments

      > Like the scanned PDF of the actual verdict form signed by the foreman of the jury.

      So did El Reg:

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/07/oracle_google_java_verdict/

      > Like an eyewitness account from someone actually in the courtroom reporting what the judge actually said. To whit: "There has been zero finding of liability on copyright, the issue of fair use is still in play”.

      Are we 100% sure about that eyewitness report? In any case, "zero finding of liabilty [..] fair use is still in play" just means a decision has not been reached yet. It neither pro or con, so is it really that important?

  23. cybersaur
    Devil

    Oracle = SCO

    Hope Oracle meets the same fate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oracle = SCO

      Oracle is quite far away from bankruptcy, so your wish may take a while.

      1. John G Imrie Silver badge

        Oracle is quite far away from bankruptcy, so your wish may take a while.

        So was SCO when it started it's cases. Actually SCO was still solvent when it ran from the Novel case into the loving arms of the Bankruptcy Lawyers.

  24. Zapotecan
    Devil

    API should not be subject to copyright

    I thought that every Software API is derived form the x86 Intel instruction set. In that the API defines the necessary number of inputs to push and pull form main memory to CPU registers using the x86 instruction set for Intel CPUs.

    Function parameters are pushed onto the program stack, and a CPU register points to the stack.

    The API describes inputs and outputs of the function and is compiled prior to runtime or translated during runtime into the target CPU instruction set.

    Unlike a Hardware Interface ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Headmaster

      Re: API should not be subject to copyright

      I thought that every Software API is derived form the x86 Intel instruction set.

      Well that's only true for software running on the x86 architecture, what if you are running ARM processors for example?

      I also suppose, looking at court cases between Intel and AMD, the instruction sets themselves are copyrighted and licensed. Aren't they too a form of APIs?

      1. Zapotecan

        Re: API should not be subject to copyright

        That is my point. They are the base API, that all Software APIs are derived form.

        Are we not allowed to program in the 'base API' to create derivative works, a configuration of artistic expression, to enable us to define our own IP?

      2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: API should not be subject to copyright

        >Intel and AMD, the instruction sets themselves are copyrighted and licensed. Aren't they too a form of APIs?

        The instruction sets (API) are numeric values and are not copyrightable. The assembler Mnemonics are copyrighted and licenced.

        This is easily seen with the 8080 and Z80 (in spite of what others have said in error). The Z80 implements the 8080 instruction set with the same numeric values (plus it adds some other) but Zilog did not licence the Intel assembler mnemonics and created their own. An 8080 assembler program written in Intel mnemonics could still be compiled by any 8080 compiler to run on Z80.

        The numeric instruction set are facts required for interfacing.

        Same with Dalvik except that Java's and its API requires the use of names: directory names, class names, method names, ..

        The names and parameters are facts required for interfacing.

    2. dajames Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: API should not be subject to copyright

      "I thought that every Software API is derived form the x86 Intel instruction set."

      No, no ... you're way off. A software API is an abstraction that generally bears no relationship to the underlying implementation. In any case, Android devices usually use ARM chips, which don't use the x86 instruction set.

      There's no reason why the developers of a new programming language shouldn't copyright the langauage syntax and/or its runtime APIs (except that doing so might stop anyone wanting to use the language) but they would have to mark it as their copyright right from the word go, and they would have to defend that copyright as soon as they became aware of a violation. What Oracle have done is to wait several years until Google have invested pots of dosh in Android and then tried to sue them for doing so ... which isn't really playing cricket.

  25. Simon Lyon

    Re: Groklaw has a few things in addition to comments

    This is from filed briefs and orders not reports:

    The judge instructed the jury to work on the *assumption* that the APIs were copyrightable and asked the jury if Google had copied them. The jury said Yes - because Google had never denied they had copied them.

    However, it is the judge himself that will later decide if they actually are copyrightable as a matter of law.

    But even if he did find they were copyrightable, the jury has not yet rendered a verdict on whether that copying was "de minimis" or inconsequential.

    The only other thing they found Google had copied was 9 lines of code out of millions. When Oracles lawyer mentioned damages for those 9 lines the judge's answer was that that was "bordering on the ridiculous".

    Plus Oracle's own expert witness on damages assigned zero value to those lines and in any case they were removed from the product long ago.

    So thus far, from what has been decided to this point, Google are liable to pay Oracle precisely zero dollars and zero cents.

    Hence the judge's comment about no finding of liability (yet).

  26. Jeff Green

    More than a little misleading

    Google (along with everyone else in computing and any even vaguely related field who isn't Oracle) contend that APIs are not subject to copyright. The judge will decide if they are, but before doing so he instructed the jury to assume that they are, and then decide if they were copied. Since Google didn't deny their API was the same this wasn't a difficult finding.

    HOWEVER the jury did NOT find Google "guilty" of infringing the copyright, Google claim fair use and absent a finding from the jury on that issue there isn't any finding of copyright infringment, just of copying. The headline as written is akin to calling a policeman guilty of murder if he shoots a gunman who is aiming a gun at his head, the court would very likely decide the action was justifiable even if the judge first asks the jury to decide if the policeman did in fact pull the trigger.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More than a little misleading

      Was your title a warning for the text that followed? Because it describes it very well.

  27. br14

    API's and copyright

    As a developer I'd certainly like to be able to copyright my API's - should I choose to do so.

    But only in the context of a product or system. Outside of that context clearly the copyright would not apply because most languages use commonly used terms and names.

    So if I develop the Acme language, I should be able to copyright the API's in the Acme context. That might mean if you want to create an implementation of an Acme virtual machine, then you do so under the conditions I stipulate to ensure standardisation.

    If I open source my API's then provided you use the license I provide you can go ahead and create an Acme virtual machine.

    That's what Sun did. The alternative is chaos. And in the US I understand there is already case law that says API's are copyrightable (though not necessarily copyrighted).

    1. G Mac
      Stop

      Re: API's and copyright

      Really? I mean, really?

      Every time you write an API (and a single externally callable function call could be an API...) you will need to do a copyright scan so that some numb-nut won't whack you with a copyright infringement. Of course, if you write your own language and license it accordingly, go for it. I am sure it will be popular. But that means the same API in a different language will be OK - unless you want cross-language copyrights as *well*.

      Remember, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander - any API *you* write will be subject to the same copyright infringement rules enforced by somebody else.

      And really, "The alternative is chaos."? APIs have been written for the past what 60 years and the only chaos I see is folks running around with their hair on fire shouting "there will be chaos if APIs cannot be copyrighted".

      1. br14

        Re: API's and copyright

        "And really, "The alternative is chaos."? APIs have been written for the past what 60 years and the only chaos I see is folks running around with their hair on fire shouting "there will be chaos if APIs cannot be copyrighted".

        The point was there would be chaos in the narrow context of Java if you can take an API and do whatever you want with it. My understanding is that Google don't even claim that the Android Dalvik VM is compatible with the Oracle JVM (though that may be for legal reasons).

        Dalvik is effectively another realisation of Java syntax ulitmately generating Dalvik bytecode, and if Google wins this case prehaps we may see more variations, thereby losing standardisation of anything but the basic syntax. And next we'll see extensions to the language not available across all implementations etc. Ergo. Chaos.

        There's an interesting link here for more background on how Google got around Suns licensing restrictions. It was legal, probably, but was it really good for Java?

        http://www.betaversion.org/~stefano/linotype/news/110/

        I doubt anything good is going to come of this trial whoever wins. Google wins, it's open season on Java (and is Dalvik open sourced?) and makes the already fragmented language less attractive for enterprise (is there a Dalvik implementation for Windows?). Oracle wins, who is going to license at $15 per device.

    2. Carl

      Re: API's and copyright

      Copyright away.,

      And stand back and marvel at the lack of take-up.

      Which is exactly what would have happened to Java if Sun hadn't opened it up like they.

      1. br14

        Re: API's and copyright

        Java was doing amazingly well before it was open sourced in 2006.

        Sun doing badly commercially forced them to push Java into the public domain, rather than let the language standard be dominated by an acquirer.

        Pity they couldn't have sold a few more licenses.

  28. Donald Becker

    A minor factual correction.

    The jury did find that Android did include copied code. Nine lines. Out of 15 million.

    There were other claims, such as the similarity of simple comments describing functions. Pretty much "Takes X and returns an integer Y". There are many ways to word this idea, but only a few simple ways, thus the comments look similar. The jury agreed with Google that this was not evidence of literal copying.

    The 9 lines of code aren't worth "up to $150,000" as a copyright violation. That's only if there was knowing, willful infringement. Google removed those lines as soon as it was pointed out to them. Given that Sun's copyright registration was flawed, the statutory damages would typically be $200.

    In a different setting there would be a defense stated that the usual threshold for infringement starts somewhere at 12 to 20 non-trivial lines of code. But the time to say even a single sentence in this trial is costing far more than $200 in legal fees. Boise reportedly got one sentence into trying to make it an issue before the court, perhaps trying to claim a partial win. The judge made it clear that Oracle had completely lost and wasn't going to get an accounting for 9 lines out of 15 million.

  29. bazza Silver badge

    Google's haphazard approach

    Whatever the merits of this current case, Google's approach to Android is undeniably haphazard.

    * They didn't set up a decent update mechanism.

    * They've gone and needlessly lumbered themselves with a court case over Java; they could have bought Sun themselves and avoided this issue altogether.

    * It's generally regarded as the least secure of the smartphone platforms out there.

    *The Android ecosystem is pretty fragmented, making everyone's life hard.

    All this smacks of a lack of commitment on Google's part to get Android right and make a decent commercial future out of it. Now we learn in this court case that it's costing them a bundle of money anyway, with a less than certain net return on the investment.

    Makes one wonder what their game plan actually is...

    It's a real shame. I'd love there to be a consistent, well developed, well supported and completely open source mobile OS that anyone could use trouble free. I don't think that Android is really it. I don't think that the handset manufacturers want that - it would definitely cost them sales. Maybe that's why Android is the way it is, otherwise it wouldn't have got manufacturer support.

    Small thought - how publically available is MS's hardware spec for Windows phones? We know that they mandate a standard spec on the manufacturers. If that were officially obtainable then it would be possible to brew a Linux distribution for it (in the same way that you can for a PC). Even if it weren't publically available, it could be reverse engineered (legitimately?), but that would be a lot of work.

  30. furt1v3ly
    FAIL

    If Oracle wins, does it lose Java?

    It seems to me that back when Java was first being born, one of the biggest things that made it easy to adopt was how compatible with C and C++ it was. The first Java book I used just said "the operator precedence is exactly the same as C except for ..." and then had a short note about the differences. I had to dig out my C book more than once to get Java for exactly that reason.

    If Oracle wins, does the C working group have a legitimate claim against Java on the exact same grounds that Oracle is using here?

    1. Carl

      Re: If Oracle wins, does it lose Java?

      Java is written in.... C.

      I hope Dennis Ritchie is watching all this and having a good chuckle.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Jury which mocks the whole point of a Jury: independent thought outside of the law!

    Next they'll be saying you can copyright human languages, normal human gestures/behaviours/protocol (our interface), and all DNA. This is bleeding absurd, the whole IP idea is a complete load of anti-capitalist, self-defeating, stagnant bollocks; this corporatism must end!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google is to blame for everything

    If Google not willfully violated Java and it's APIs the IT industry would have been not under the massive threat it is under now. By willfully flaunting doing any of the right things by Sun and now Oracle, Google has forced a review of what was acceptable and now has put a burdonsome onerous on the entire IT industry worldwide.

    I blame Google squarely as the main antagonist and indirectly blame every single Android owner indirectly for supporting this irresponsible monster of a company in forcing this to happen to the entire IT industry!!!

  33. BasevaInc
    Facepalm

    Solution - Google Buys Oracle Fires Other Larry!

    Solution - Google Buys Oracle Fires Other Larry! Android continues!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pandora's Box

    "the trouble with a Pandora's Box is that nobody knows what's inside"

    It contains all the evils of the world. Didn't you read the story...

    1. Carl

      Re: Pandora's Box

      I think the OP means "Schrodinger's box".

      Although IIRC the box contains a cat.

      Which may or may no be dead.

      Incidentally, when trying to explain quantum mechanics to my 8 year old son (hey, it was dark and raining outside so footy was out of the question) he looked at me and said:

      "Daddy, can't you just listen and see if the cat makes a noise?"

      out of the mouths of babes eh.

      But I digress.

      1. Vanir

        Re: Pandora's Box

        @Carl

        So he wants to be a quantum mechanic now! Just to see if the cat does make a noise!

        1. Carl
          Happy

          Re: Pandora's Box

          @Vanir

          I would rather he became a lawyer.

          That way he can make $$$$ without ever giving a crap.

    2. Vanir
      Holmes

      Re: Pandora's Box

      Yes, but the moral is paradoxical in that if someone knows that it contains all the evils of the world, then why is the person wanting to open it not inside it?

  35. Vanir
    Facepalm

    Totally confused!!!! Am I doing wrong?

    I am a C/C++ programmer.

    Assume APIs are copyrightable.

    I am writing an application in C/C++ and I use a 3rd party's binary and C/C++ header file which has some function and class definitions that do not include function bodies. This header file is copyrighted, it says so at the top. If I copy this file am I infringing the copyright? Is the API copyright a separate copyright? Does the copyright include class definitions? Can I create another header file for my own function body code that has the same function signatures as the 3rd party's one? Can I use them in private unseen code files?

    In C/C++ the signature of a function does not include the return type, so what then?

    So what is meant by a function signature?

    Is

    long foo( long val)

    the same as

    Public Function foo( Long val) As Long

    for if API's are copyrightable? Admittedly you will not see the latter in a C/C header file - I hope.

    What about all the language libraries all ready out there? Are the copyrighted?

    The C++ standard specifies APIs - are they copyrighted? The implementations are under the current system - look at the includes for Microsoft's VS C/C++.

    A coder sits down to write code to fullfil someone's requirement, how the hell does the poor soul know they're infringing a copyrighted API?

    I give up!

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Re: Totally confused!!!! Am I doing wrong?

      There is a simple answer to all your questions.

      Move to Europe where none of this matters.

  36. steeplejack

    The issue isn't copyright. Its the License.

    If software is under a proper Free license (GPL) then copyrights aren't a problem. The reason Google got into difficulty is that Java wasn't under a Free Software license.

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