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Cover image for Supreme Court sides with Google over Oracle. Copying an API is fair use.

Supreme Court sides with Google over Oracle. Copying an API is fair use.

ben profile image Ben Halpern ・1 min read

Thoughts?

Discussion (14)

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thorstenhirsch profile image
Thorsten Hirsch

The decision is good for the whole software industry. Oracle just wanted to make money from their Sun acquisition.

organisation diagram of software companies

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bestape profile image
Kyle MacLean Smith

Canada uses fair dealing and this fair use case is very unique anyway. Probably not wise to rely on this precedent without a hefty grain of salt. eff.org/deeplinks/2021/04/victory-...

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kspeakman profile image
Kasey Speakman • Edited

Microsoft legal seems to think it is pretty solid.

From the announcement:

Microsoft Build of OpenJDK 11 binaries may contain backported fixes and enhancements we deem important to our customers and our internal users. Some of these may have not yet been formally backported upstream and are clearly signposted in our release notes.

Although to be fair OpenJDK is licensed differently.

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Nayden Gochev

it was never an issue to use OpenJDK :) the Oracle issue was Google used Classpath JDK and not OpenJDK (which was non existent at that time) :)

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kspeakman profile image
Kasey Speakman • Edited

Yeah, you are right. What Google did was more like replacing the JRE with their own version. Whereas the OpenJDK has a different license and is for a different purpose even though it contains what's in the JRE. It is still interesting though that MS mentions backported fixes if it's not going to be the same environment on client devices... I guess build-only fixes. I must admit I am not as familiar with the JVM as with .NET.

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gochev profile image
Nayden Gochev

JDK = .NET
JRE/JVM = .NET Runtime

now you are familiar :D

But about the topic basically Microsoft have their own build of OpenJDK I guess so they can provide Azure instances with MS JDK where the support and upgrades are completely end to end triggered by them and not depending on third party OpenJDK builds I believe this is the whole idea.

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Kyle MacLean Smith

That's very interesting, thanks for the share! I assume Microsoft has a consistent strategy regarding its OSS transition. Thinking about copyright law only, this case will take some time to absorb, especially in jurisdictions that don't apply fair use doctrine.

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Syed Faraaz Ahmad

Copying an API is fair use

It had a condition right that the copied code is only 0.4% here?

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kspeakman profile image
Kasey Speakman • Edited

Nope. It was just one of the 4 factors of Fair Use that they considered (the amount of code copied) and it weighed in Google's favor. They pointed out that depending on the work, a more significant portion or wholesale copying was permissible under fair use. Such as parodies or artistic expressions using copyrighted logos to make statements about consumerism.

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Peter Harrison

Divorce this from the fact that two major corporations were involved. Neither is 'good' in any meaningful way. What was on the line was the ability to replicate an API. If this precedent stood it would make it impossible to create competing implementations of an API. Preventing competing implementations is simply a way to keep customers locked into a particular technology implementation. The best thing is to have open standards such that we can compete on the quality of implementations rather than being locked into specific solutions and held to ransom.

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siy profile image
Sergiy Yevtushenko

Interesting. One of the side effects of this decision is that Google does not need Kotlin anymore. I'd not be surprised if Google just abandon it eventually.

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Aayush Gupta

I think that it's (android) is rather moving towards a Kotlin only future. Considering the work they have been putting in Jetpack Compose which only supports Kotlin, this is apparent that Google is on its way to drop Java from android in the future. Not to mention there is also Flutter and Fuschia (cross-platform OS and language for android-specific pain replacement?) on which they have been working for quite a while.

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Sergiy Yevtushenko

Given that main codebase is still in Java, I dubth that Java disappear from Android any time soon. As a language Kotlin gives no sensible advandages over Java to justify transition of existing codebase. And court decision removed last business-related incentive to perform such a transition.

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Rubirosa Santana

Flutter is the future.