The United States Supreme Court has sided with Google over its use of a Java API which Oracle argued it owned the copyright to. The long-running battle has been going on for nearly 11 years now after Oracle opened fire by suing Google. Over the years, the dispute has been through a range of courts with various judges ruling for this side and that but today’s decision should be more final.
According to the document published by the Supreme Court, Google copied 11,500 lines of code from a Java API (Application Programming Interface). The court decided that this was allowed under fair use because it was needed to allow programmers to “put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program”.
On the 44th page of the document, Justice Clarence Thomas dissenting in favour of Oracle said that Google initially sought to license the code for use in Android but after the two couldn’t agree on terms Google simply copied the 11,500 lines of code “verbatim”. He said that this wiped out 97.5% of the value of Oracle’s partnership with Amazon and helped Google establish itself as the owner of the biggest mobile operating system in the world.
Despite the win today for Google, the firm has been very busy for the last several years actively promoting Kotlin for use in building Android apps. The company has also been building a new operating system called Fuchsia OS which could ultimately replace Android and put the whole argument over Java to bed once and for all.