Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Oracle-Google Lawsuit Over Java Is Over (For the Moment)

And just like that, it was over.

The lawsuit between Oracle and Google over the use of Java in Android is in the books, and while Oracle scored some points and prevailed on at least one narrow point of the dispute, as time has run out, the scoreboard is lopsided in Google’s favor.

Initially billed as the “World Series of intellectual property cases,” this trial had lots of bold-faced names on the witness stand, including Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Google CEO Larry Page, plus Scott McNealy and Jonathan Schwartz, both former CEOs of Sun Microsystems.

After the jury had its say, William Alsup came back with a ruling that Oracle cannot apply copyright protection to Java APIs. This was by far the most controversial and wide-ranging portion of Oracle’s case, one that had software developers around the world kind of worried that it might prevail. It didn’t, but Oracle has promised to appeal Alsup’s ruling.

Below is a copy of Judge William Alsup’s final order in the case, spelling it all out. You’ll notice that in the portion of the case concerning nine lines of code on which Oracle did prove that its copyright was infringed, no money is changing hands. Oracle was technically entitled to some low-six-figure sum of damages for the infringement. But my understanding is that by agreeing to zero damages now, it’s simply speeding up the process that will lead to an appeal. So while it’s over, it’s really not.

Final Order

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald