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Benefits of Google beats Oracle in $9 billion Android trial?

 
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Hi,
As we all knew that Oracle Vs Google had long battle.
As per my thoughts we all developer will get benefit of Fair Use policy.
But As Java/Android developer what more benefit we get from this trial?
 
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I don't think the benefit is specific to Java/Android. I think this suit discourages going after people for adapting open source software across the board. Now we see if Oracle appeals.
 
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From comments I've seen on the Web, many people don't exactly understand what this court case is about. As far as I've understood it, it is mainly about the fact that Google re-implemented part of the standard Java API. In other words, The Android API has implementations of part of Java's standard API - it has the same java.lang and java.util (and maybe other) packages as standard Java, but the underlying implementation was done from scratch by the original inventors of Android.

Imagine that they would not have done this, and they would have invented their own equivalents to the java.lang and java.util classes. It would have meant that you could probably still use the Java programming language, but it would have looked totally different than standard Java. There would not have been java.lang.Object, java.lang.String and all the collection classes that we know from Java, but something different. That would have made it a lot harder for people who already know Java to learn how to program for Android - Android would have had its own String class, its own collection classes etc. that would have been different from standard Java.

I don't buy Oracle's argument that because of this, Google has stolen Oracle's business with regard to Java on phones. Oracle never had a product that could seriously compete with Android. Those Java APIs in Android are only a tiny part of the whole Android platform, and Google didn't steal the implementation - they copied the publicly documented API and made their own implementation of it.
 
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I, too, think that J2ME/JME was an inferior product, and had basically come to a halt by the time Android came around (even though a lot of feature phones with it were still being sold at the time). But it wasn't suited for smartphones, and few were ever shipped with it, BlackBerries being a notable example.

I think the important point about this trial is that an API can be reimplemented even against the wish of its original owner. If the ruling had been otherwise, that could have had quite some ramifications in this day and age of the API economy.
 
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What I understand is Google took pretty much all of the standard JDK API and implemented it from scratch. The court found that it is ok to copy just the API because it falls under fair use.
What I don't understand is this - does this imply there is no effort or brain involved in defining the API itself? that it is only the implementation that has value?
I understand that copying a few interfaces here and there could probably constitute fair use, but copying the whole API lock, stock, and barrel?

I would say API is to the developers what user interface is to customers. Does that mean any one can copy the user interface of iPhone (on say, Android) and keep the implementation different under this fair use doctrine? If no, what is the difference?
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Who said the implementation doesn't have value. I would think copying the implementation would be a problem. I think Oracle took issue with Google making money rather than the copying. After all, OpenJDK has existed for a long time and it too reimplements the JDK.
 
Paul Anilprem
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:Who said the implementation doesn't have value. I would think copying the implementation would be a problem. I think Oracle took issue with Google making money rather than the copying. After all, OpenJDK has existed for a long time and it too reimplements the JDK.


I think you probably misread what I wrote. I am saying that the judgement implies that only the implementation has value. The API definitions (without the implementations), which is what google copied, don't have value and that copying all of them is ok.

 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Paul,
Oh! I see it now. You were saying that the API has value on its own.
 
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Paul Anilprem wrote:does this imply there is no effort or brain involved in defining the API itself?



I don't think that is what is being implied at all. There are myriad factors and subtleties to "fair use" beyond a simple value/no-value determination.

But regardless, we all know that it's actually quite a lot of work to design a good API. Heaven knows I've had to deal with a lot of bad APIs throughout my career.
 
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Jesper de Jong wrote:From comments I've seen on the Web, many people don't exactly understand what this court case is about. As far as I've understood it, it is mainly about the fact that Google re-implemented part of the standard Java API. In other words, The Android API has implementations of part of Java's standard API - it has the same java.lang and java.util (and maybe other) packages as standard Java, but the underlying implementation was done from scratch by the original inventors of Android.



That's my understanding too, but I still don't understand the whole thing. For example IBM (for one example) produced a Java JVM which of course was an implementation of the Java API. They did that with the permission of Sun, Oracle's predecessor, and my understanding is that they used large quantities of Sun's JVM code and just modified a few things for whatever reason. But clearly Sun's permission applied to the copied code and not necessarily to the use of the API. I doubt that Sun even dreamed that they could claim copyright on the API. (Although the API documentation does have copyright notices at the bottom of every page.)

My feeling is that Oracle decided it was worth spending a few lawyer-years on this case because there was a pretty good chance that it might have been decided the other way, and then they could hold Google to ransom.
 
Paul Anilprem
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This is what wikipedia says:


However, on the primary copyright issue of the APIs, the court ruled that "So long as the specific code used to implement a method is different, anyone is free under the Copyright Act to write his or her own code to carry out exactly the same function or specification of any methods used in the Java API. It does not matter that the declaration or method header lines are identical." The ruling found that the structure Oracle was claiming was not copyrightable under section 102(b) of the Copyright Act because it was a "system or method of operation."



Then the appeals court reversed it:


The appeals court reversed the district court on the central issue, holding that the "structure, sequence and organization" of an API was copyrightable.
...
The case was remanded to the district court for reconsideration only the basis of the fair use doctrine.



Then went back to trial on the point of fair use doctrine.


On May 26, 2016, the jury found that Android does not infringe Oracle-owned copyrights because its re-implementation of 37 Java APIs is protected by "fair use."



To me, it seems there was no serious programmer on the jury or at least no one who had done any serious application design. Copying the whole set of APIs is fair use? Wow. Just blows my mind.

Oracle plans to appeal, so we haven't heard the end of it yet.
 
Paul Clapham
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Paul Anilprem wrote:Copying the whole set of APIs is fair use? Wow. Just blows my mind.



On the other hand I just read the Wikipedia article about fair use. What I gleaned from that is this: it is possible to copy an entire work and claim that as "fair use" in some circumstances. And it's necessary to consider whether Google's use of the API harms Oracle's ability to exploit the API. Since Oracle distributes the API for free to users of its JVM, it can continue to do that, and in any case they have no revenue stream from it. And then an idea can't be copyrighted, but a particular "fixation" (what we would call an "implementation", I think) can be copyrighted. So there's a lot going for the fair use defense.
 
Paul Anilprem
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Paul Clapham wrote:

Paul Anilprem wrote:Copying the whole set of APIs is fair use? Wow. Just blows my mind.



On the other hand I just read the Wikipedia article about fair use. What I gleaned from that is this: it is possible to copy an entire work and claim that as "fair use" in some circumstances. And it's necessary to consider whether Google's use of the API harms Oracle's ability to exploit the API. Since Oracle distributes the API for free to users of its JVM, it can continue to do that, and in any case they have no revenue stream from it. And then an idea can't be copyrighted, but a particular "fixation" (what we would call an "implementation", I think) can be copyrighted. So there's a lot going for the fair use defense.


Two things -
1. The appellate court has already ruled that that the "structure, sequence and organization" of an API was copyrightable. API is not an idea. "platform independence" is an idea. API is itself an implementation.
2. The same logic can be made for copying iPhone UI. But as we know, Apple has actually sued and won lawsuits against companies for making look alike features in their phones.
 
Paul Clapham
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And hence Oracle's appeal of the judgement.

(Note that at least some, if not all, of Apple's suits re: copying of UI features were because said features were patented, not copyright. There's no "fair use" clause for patent infringement as far as I know.)
 
Paul Anilprem
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Paul Clapham wrote:
(Note that at least some, if not all, of Apple's suits re: copying of UI features were because said features were patented, not copyright. There's no "fair use" clause for patent infringement as far as I know.)


Good point.
 
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