Google Wins Case Against Oracle
The case between Google and Oracle has centered around Google's use of lines of code that were originally written for Oracle. Google used the code to develop the Android operating system and has argued that it is not a violation of Oracle's copyright because the code, which allows for communication between devices and software, was available for fair use. In other words, Google claimed they were just innovating on top of existing technology, not attempting to make a profit off of anything Oracle created. Oracle, on the other hand, claimed to have the sole right to use that code and said that Google's use of it without permission violated their rights.
The case was finally ruled on this Monday, April 5, 2021, and a 6-2 decision went in favor of Google. The court agreed that it was an example of fair use, not theft, and therefore no permission was needed. Since this was a $9 billion case, that decision was critically important to all involved.
What It Means for the Future
Equally important is the precedent this sets for the future. It has been called a "fantastic win" that allows future innovators to be creative and build on existing technologies without worrying that, should their invention be a success, they're going to be sued by a company that wrote a portion of the code a decade ago. Many technological developments are building blocks, experts pointed out, and they can act as a jumping-off point for creativity and development. While stealing the entirety of someone else's code would clearly violate their rights, the court determined that using a few lines to facilitate this development was not a breach of those same rights.
This has been far from a smooth ride, and there are bound to be many who disagree with the court's decision. After all, the original ruling went in favor of Google before an appeals court sided with Oracle. That's how the case ended up in the Supreme Court. Their decision means that the case has finally come to a conclusion, but even the Supreme Court did not give a unanimous ruling. That alone speaks to how potentially controversial this is. People may ask, for instance, who gets to draw the lines regarding how much code can be used under "fair use" and how much constitutes a breach of copyright laws? There will likely be cases in the future where one side will claim they were just creatively innovating and the other will argue that they merely stole code and used someone else's work for their own benefit.
Those questions are for the future, however. For now, it appears that we have a precedent that will allow pieces of intellectual property to be used by those who want to build upon past developments without having to ask the creators of those developments for permission every step of the way.
A Changing Technology
This case helps to show how quickly technology can change and develop. Here at Content Customs, we stay on top of these developments and work hard to use them to your advantage in online marketing, search engine optimization, mobile advertising and much more. To learn about how we can help, please get in touch with us today