The copyright clash between Oracle Corp. and Google LLC over Java application programming interfaces, or APIs has been going on for the past nine years.
So much so that the Solicitor General’s Office has been asked to weigh in for a second time on the Google versus Oracle case, which has been termed “the copyright case of the century” by Google.
The first time, the SG’s views were sought on only the copyright-ability of the APIs, 11,500 lines of code that form a structure for basic programming functions. The API’s were found copyright-able by the SG.
This time, the SG is being asked to review both copyright-ability and whether Google’s copying of the APIs into its Android operating system constituted fair use.
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled it was not fair use although a jury said it was.
Seeking the SG’s views may once again stir the 50-year-old debate over how much a software should be subject to copyright and what constitutes fair use in the digital age.
The face-off has generated intense interest on both sides, with the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology even devoting a special issue to the case and its implications last Spring.
In 2016, jurors found the use fairbut the Federal Circuit reversed again, saying that Google’s development of a mobile version of the APIs was not transformative, and that the law protected a copyright owner’s right to enter a potential new market.