Google’s using of Oracle’s software code for Android smartphone operating system did not violate federal copyright law, the US Supreme Court has ruled thereby changing a lower court´s ruling. The voting was 6-2. The basic question was if Google’s use of the code could be described as “fair use” following US legislation.
Oracle sued Google for copyright infringement in 2010 and was seeking more than USD 8 billion for the alleged violation of copyright.
Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the Supreme Court’s majority, said that allowing Oracle to enforce a copyright on its code would harm the public by making it a “lock limiting the future creativity of new programs. Oracle alone would hold the key.”
Oracle said Google had plagiarized its Java software by copying around 11 000 lines of computer code. Google said it did not copy a computer program but rather used elements of Java’s software code needed to operate a computer program or platform.
“The decision gives legal certainty to the next generation of developers whose new products and services will benefit consumers,” said Google senior vice president Kent Walker.