Tech Industry Urges SCOTUS To Reverse Verdict in Google v. Oracle Copyright Battle

A group of technology organizations and companies have recently come forth with support for Google in its Copyright Infringement battle against Oracle. The group, including Mozilla, Medium, Reddit, Cloudera, along with others, filed a joint “friend of the court” brief in which they urged the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to reverse a Federal Circuit Court’s verdict that Google infringed on Oracle’s copyright to Java API code in its Android Operating system.

The Google v. Oracle fight dates back over a decade, with a core concern being whether Copyright Laws bar the common practice of software reimplementation, the process of developing new software to carry out certain functions of a legacy product. However, with the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision stating that the functional elements of application programming interfaces (APIs) are subject to copyright, Oracle won the most recent iteration of the fight.

The brief stated that ‘innovation and competition’ is the engine of the healthy internet, and software development is the field that fuels it. For the past many years, the software engineers have been relied on reimplementation, emphasizing reuse of functional protocols like the software interfaces to create competitive alternatives to incumbent industry players and develop new software without fear of copyright infringement.

The companies argued that the federal court’s decision against Google stifled decades of industry practice and upended the established expectations of developers, investors, and consumers. They urged the SCOTUS to reverse the lower court’s finding and allow Java APIs to be free from copyright or at least be accessible for fair use.

Abigail Phillips, head of the Mozilla Foundation’s legal department, said that the brief made its argument from the perspective of not just small and medium companies but even open-source tech organizations. She wrote that the consequences of the Court’s ruling in favor of Oracle are especially dire for small software developers who are already suffering due to their size and relatively limited resources. Hence, the overall result will be worst, i.e., the future would see fewer innovations from small and medium companies, along with the reinforcement of the positions of large enterprises in the tech industry. The future, as a result of this decision, would also experience a decline in incentive among big companies to improve their products and services.

At last, the brief stated – the tech industry believes that a healthy internet relies on the Supreme Court (SC) reversing the Federal Circuit Court’s decision and reaffirming the current status of play for software development, where copyright doesn’t stand in the path of software developers reusing SSOs (structure, sequence, and organization) for API packages in socially, technologically, and economically beneficial ways.

Besides this recently filed brief, an application requesting SCOTUS to reconsider the earlier judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had been filed by Google as well. However, the final showdown amid Google and Oracle is set to take place in March. For more visit:

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