Google v Oracle: a closer look at the dissent


Michael Graif

Google v Oracle: a closer look at the dissent

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As the fallout over SCOTUS’ ruling in Google v Oracle continues, Michael Graif of Mintz unpacks the blistering dissent to the landmark decision.

While copyright holders and challengers alike are still digesting the consequences of the US Supreme Court’s expansive view of fair use in Google v Oracle (2021), it bears noting that the court was not unanimous in its decision.

Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Samuel Alito, wrote a blistering 18-page dissent, rebuking the majority for basing its decision on what the dissent felt was a non-existent distinction between the “declaring code” and the “implementing code” that was “wholly inconsistent with the substantial protection Congress gave to computer code”.

The US Copyright Act expressly recognises the copyrightable nature of computer programmes and defines computer programs as instructions “to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result”.

Google, Oracle, US Supreme Court, copyright infringement, API, Android, Java SE, Amazon, licensing, fair use