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At the center of the lengthy legal dispute is Google’s Android code, which Oracle insists copied the “structure, sequence, and organization” of 37 of Oracle’s Java API packages. While Oracle was successful in proving that Android did infringe on its copyrights, the degree of infringement was so miniscule – only nine lines of code in a multi-million line program – that Google was not held at fault.
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However, most importantly, Oracle failed to establish that its Java APIs qualify for copyright protection in the first place. The judge ruled in favor of Google’s argument that “computer programming languages are not copyrightable, and neither are Oracle’s APIs.” Essentially, Google argued that Oracle cannot place a copyright on an idea, and that therefore the similarities in the Android code do not constitute explicit infringement.
The judge agreed, writing that when it comes to computer programming language “others are free to write their own implementation to accomplish the identical function, for, importantly, ideas, concepts and functions cannot be monopolized by copyright.”
Thursday’s appeal filings indicate that Oracle still won’t accept those findings, and will now ask a higher court to hear the case and hopefully reverse the decision that its APIs cannot be copyrighted.
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