Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Oracle Wants $1 Billion More From SAP in TomorrowNow Copyright Case

Software giant Oracle is taking rival SAP back to court for one more go-round in the ugly and long-running TomorrowNow copyright infringement case.

Oracle said last month that it plans to appeal a federal judge’s ruling setting aside the $1.3 billion in damages awarded by a federal jury in November of 2010. The German company lost in court after admitting that people in its now-shuttered TomorrowNow unit illegally downloaded millions of copies of Oracle software. SAP had admitted to the infringement.

Last September, the judge hearing the case threw out the damages award as “grossly excessive,” and told Oracle it could accept $267 million or seek a new trial. Oracle opted for a new trial.

Last month, Oracle agreed to accept $306 million from SAP, averting the need for a retrial, and freeing Oracle to appeal the judge’s ruling on the larger damages award to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The $1.3 billion award is the largest ever awarded by a jury in a copyright case.

SAP sent a statement essentially saying that it would get the whole thing over and done with:

SAP is disappointed that Oracle continues to prolong the case. We agreed to reasonable terms in this case, as we believe it’s gone on long enough. We remain determined to work through the legal process to bring this case to resolution.

SAP’s admission prompted a criminal case, which SAP settled last year. Oracle first filed suit against SAP in April of 2007.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work