Google v Oracle: court avoids software protection question


Victor Johnson

Google v Oracle: court avoids software protection question

Jonathan Weiss /

The US Supreme Court put its weight behind fair use, leaving the protection of software for another day, says Victor Johnson of Dykema.

After more than a decade of litigation regarding copyright in application programming interfaces (API), the US Supreme Court, in a 6-2 decision, decided what many believe is one of the most important copyright lawsuits in recent memory.

The court was facing two issues: (1) are APIs copyrightable subject matter, and (2) if so, did Google infringe Oracle’s copyright in its API when if copied portions of the declaring code.

Overturning the lower court’s ruling, the majority avoided answering the first and issued a narrow ruling that held that Google had made a fair use of a small portion of Oracle's code (versus copying of to create a new product that was “consistent with that creative 'progress' that is the basic constitutional objective of copyright itself”.

Google, Oracle, Dykema, software protection, US Supreme Court, litigation, copyright, APIs, subject matter, programming, code, Android