Thursday, March 12, 2020

Oracle Responds to Java API Copyright Amicus Briefs

Ken Glueck, Oracle VP:

As we discussed in a previous post, this case is not about innovation, it is about theft. Google copied verbatim more than 11,000 lines of software code, and now attempts post hoc to change the rules in order to excuse its conduct. Any objective view of technological innovation during the pendency of this matter leads to the conclusion that strong copyright promotes innovation. The Federal Circuit decided in 2014 that Oracle’s Java copyrights were valid and enforceable and the period since 2014 has seen some of the greatest advances in technology.


Google has mastered the art of curating an atmosphere to support its views, spending well over $100 million over the past decade to create its echo-chamber. While Google’s approach is generally well understood, this case is the first time its artificial ecosystem was brought to bear at the Supreme Court, so we thought a little sunshine would help along the way.

We will admit to surprise when we saw the headline that 26 briefs were filed on Google’s behalf. Google attempted to create a narrative that tech supports Google’s position, and we already made the point that tech is clearly not supporting Google’s views.

Joshua Bloch (Hacker News):

In a corporate blog yesterday, Oracle attacked 83 computer scientists (including 13 Turing Award winners) who signed an amicus brief defending our right to reimplement APIs, on the grounds that some of us accepted research grants from Google.

This is nonsense. For example, Doug Lea—who is in in no small measure responsible for Java’s success—accepted one small grant from Google fourteen years ago, and promptly doled it out to deserving undergrads who were testing java.util.concurrent. Have you no shame, Oracle?

We are not Google shills. We are scientists and engineers. Some of us laid the theoretical groundwork for the profession, some designed the computers you grew up on, and some wrote the software you use every day.

We depend on the right to reimplement each others’ APIs, and we are truly afraid that your irresponsible lawsuit may deprive us of that right, which we’ve enjoyed throughout our long careers.


Amusingly, one of the APIs Oracle is accusing Google of infringing is Java’s reimplementation of the Perl 5 regex API ( @MadbotMcCloskey did the work, and I helped a bit). You can’t make this stuff up.


1 Comment RSS · Twitter

Oh boy, Oracle continuing to prove they are a terrible company, breaking news, am I right?

This case is fascinating and I truly hope Oracle does not prevail.

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