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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.
Dubbed the “most important legal battle in technology”, the landmark case centered around Oracle’s claims that Google had stolen critical elements of its Java software to develop its own Android mobile software.
Google argued that Oracle could not claim sole ownership of this type of code — known as APIs, or application programming interfaces — which make it possible for software programs to talk to each other.
On Monday, the court finally ruled 6-2 that Google’s use of Java code, while developed by Oracle, “did not violate the copyright law” 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.
Writing on Twitter, 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.”
Thank you to the Supreme Court for saving all modern computing from an onslaught of copyright trolls. https://t.co/OnDzRCXdsq
— Alex Stamos (@alexstamos) April 5, 2021
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!”
A great Supreme Court ruling in favor of software interoperability and developer freedom!https://t.co/vG4SFg4Goe
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) April 5, 2021
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.”
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! https://t.co/0H0TRAhK2M
— DHH (@dhh) April 5, 2021
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.
In a statement, Red Hat, the …read more
Source:: Business Insider