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Oracle thanked the jury for the verdict. "The overwhelming evidence demonstrated that Google knew it needed a license and that its unauthorized fork of Java in Android shattered Java's central write once run anywhere principle," it said.
But the jurors were unable to agree on whether Google's actions constituted "fair use" under copyright law.
Oracle was asking for $1bn (£630m) in compensation in one of the biggest such technology lawsuits to date.
Google was found to have infringed Oracle's copyright on nine lines of Java code that is in Android,..
Judge William Alsup , who is hearing the case, must decide whether Oracle's Java APIs (application programming interfaces) can be copyrighted at all under U.S. law.
Historically, APIs have not been considered copyrightable. But Oracle argues that the the "structure, sequence and organization" of the 166 API packages in Java are sufficiently complex to merit protection.
...Oracle can only seek statutory damages, ranging from $200 to $150,000.
Google is asking for a mistrial to be declared.
"There has been zero finding of liability on any copyright so far," US District Court Judge William Alsup told lawyers for both firms after the jury left.
"The affirmative defence of fair use is still in play."
The conventional wisdom in the coder community has been that it's fine to reproduce the interface of someone else's APIs, so long as you don't actually copy their software. So if the court finds that APIs are copyrightable, it could have major implications for any software that uses APIs without explicit permission - Linux for example....
...Depending on how U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup rules, the U.S. could have a different take on this question from the rest of the world. This week, a European court ruled that APIs are not copyrightable, and Alsup has asked Google and Oracle to submit briefs on how that ruling should be viewed by the court.
"I am much more concerned about the implication for the internet as a whole. Or, more realistically, America's role in building internet companies. No other country is going to honor the idea of copyrighted APIs."
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:05 am (utc) on May 9, 2012]
Ruling by Judge William Alsup stymies Oracle's aim of winning billions of dollars against Google over mobile operating system
...A jury in the long-running case had found on 7 May that Google infringed eight APIs, but couldn't agree on whether Google was covered under the "fair use" provisions of US copyright law, which allow limited uses of copyrighted works to create others.
Now Alsup's determination makes that moot. The APIs, said Alsup in his ruling, form "a system or method of operation under Section 102(b) of the Copyright Act and, therefore, cannot be copyrighted... the Act confers ownership only over the specific way in which the author wrote out his version. Others are free to write their own implementation to accomplish the identical function, for, importantly, ideas, concepts and functions cannot be monopolised by copyright."