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High-profile techies are relieved Google triumphed over Oracle in a decade-long Supreme Court battle: 'Sanity has prevailed.

Published by Business Insider on Tue, 06 Apr 2021


<p><img src="https://static1.businessinsider.com/image/5fb865d750e71a0011556a56-2190/Alphabet%20&amp;%20Google%20CEO%20Sundar%20Pichai.jpg" alt="Alphabet &amp; Google CEO Sundar Pichai" data-mce-source="Justin Sullivan/Getty Images" data-mce-caption="Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during Google I/O 2016" border="0"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>The tech industry breathed a collective sigh of relief on Monday after the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Google in a 10-year legal fight that could have upended the rules of software design.</p><p>Dubbed the "most important legal battle in technology", the landmark case centered around<a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/oracle-vs-google-java-supreme-court-technology-api-2020-10">Oracle's claims that Google had stolen critical elements of its Java software</a> to develop its own Android mobile software. </p><p>Google argued that Oracle could not claim sole ownership of this type of codeknown as APIs, or application programming interfaceswhich make it possible for software programs to talk to each other.</p><p>On Monday, the court <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/oracle-vs-google-java-supreme-court-technology-api-2020-10">finally ruled 6-2 that Google's use of Java code, while developed by Oracle, "did not violate the copyright law"</a> and was done under fair-use provisions. A win for Oracle would have set a strong legal precedent for whether it's possible to copyright certain code, potentially limiting developers' ability to build and distribute software.</p><p>Writing <a href="https://twitter.com/alexstamos/status/1379094904609992705's=20">on Twitter</a>, Alex Stamos, former security chief at Facebook and now a professor of computer science at Stanford, said: "Thank you to the Supreme Court for saving all modern computing from an onslaught of copyright trolls."</p><div><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en" data-cards="" data-conversation=""><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Thank you to the Supreme Court for saving all modern computing from an onslaught of copyright trolls. <a href="https://t.co/OnDzRCXdsq">https://t.co/OnDzRCXdsq</a></p> Alex Stamos (@alexstamos) <a href="https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/1379094904609992705'ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 5, 2021</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></div><p>And Tim Sweeney, CEO of "Fortnite" maker Epic, also welcomed the ruling, writing on Twitter: "A great Supreme Court ruling in favor of software interoperability and developer freedom!"</p><div><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en" data-cards="" data-conversation=""><p lang="en" dir="ltr">A great Supreme Court ruling in favor of software interoperability and developer freedom!<a href="https://t.co/vG4SFg4Goe">https://t.co/vG4SFg4Goe</a></p> Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) <a href="https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/1379099232565657606'ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 5, 2021</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></div><p data-local-attribute="d3bn" data-attrid="title" data-ved="2ahUKEwiWgeTevOnvAhUUSxUIHZm3BQcQ3B0oATApegQIMBAL">David Heinemeier Hansson, the founder of Basecamp and a well-known critic of major tech firms like Google, said making APIs copyrightable "would have been a disaster."</p><div><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en" data-cards="" data-conversation=""><p lang="en" dir="ltr">It's not often that I cheer on Google in legal matters, but hallelujah for this verdict. Making APIs copyrightable would have been a disaster. But also, what a disaster for the US legal system that this took OVER A DECADE to resolve. Original suit filed in August, 2010! <a href="https://t.co/0H0TRAhK2M">https://t.co/0H0TRAhK2M</a></p> DHH (@dhh) <a href="https://twitter.com/mims/statuses/1379091171725737984'ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 5, 2021</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></div><p></p><p>More than two dozen parties, including tech companies and advocacy groups, voiced their support for Google's position in the legal battle, filing amicus briefs to the Supreme Court in the run-up to the decision.</p><p>In <a href="https://www.redhat.com/en/blog/red-hat-statement-us-supreme-court-decision-google-v-oracle">a statement</a>, Red Hat, the North Carolina-based software company owned by IBM, which has long supported Google in the case, said the Supreme Court's decision represented a "win for developers and the software industry."</p><p>It wrote: "It recognizes the critical role of software interfaces to promote innovation, interoperability, and new technologies...The issues in this case were complex and the Supreme Court is to be commended for wrestling with its decades long history."</p><p>"Sanity has prevailed," <a href="https://twitter.com/errcraft/status/1379116652025892866's=20">said James Gosling</a>, an engineer at Amazon Web Services. "It's astonishing that this case even got started, much less that it ground on for more than a decade."</p><p><em>Are you a current or former Googler with more to share' You can contact this reporter securely using the encrypted messaging app Signal (+447801985586) or email (mcoulter@businessinsider.com). Reach out using a non-work device.</em></p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/google-oracle-open-source-supreme-court-copyright-2021-4#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/what-its-like-travel-during-coronavirus-outbreak-planes-airports-virus-2020-3">Here's what it's like to travel during the coronavirus outbreak</a></p>
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