Google Wants Supreme Court To Hear Oracle Copyright Case

Google is asking the nation's highest court to weigh in on a question of copyright that could have a big impact on its Android operating system.
Posted at 8:00 AM, Oct 09, 2014

In its latest copyright battle, Google is going to the highest legal authority it can.

It's asking the Supreme Court to weigh in on a case that dates back to 2010 in which Oracle sued Google over alleged copyright infringement in Google's Android OS.

At issue were Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, those bits of code that separate programs can use to talk to each other.

Oracle alleged Google's Android OS duplicated the functions of its own Java APIs without properly compensating Oracle. Google argued they couldn't be copyrighted because they were essential to the operation of various programs.

Google won the initial court battle before Oracle got the decision reversed on appeal in federal circuit court in May of 2014.

This was widely seen as bad news. A writer for Wired worried this could set a bad precedent for software developers everywhere, especially among the open-source movement. The Electronic Frontier Foundation warned it could suppress the competition and progress that made the modern Internet what it is today.  

The expectation was Google would appeal, and sure enough, here it is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to get involved.

The Recorder explains Google "frames the complex, technology-heavy dispute by arguing that Oracle has no more right to copyright the Java command structure than the Remington typewriter company would have had to block others from using the QWERTY keyboard arrangement."

The Supreme Court has yet to indicate whether it wants to take the case. In the meantime, Oracle has until Nov. 7 to file an official response.

This video includes an image from Getty Images.