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Oracle Claims Google 'Directly Copied' Our Java Code 675

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the thats-not-fair dept.
itwbennett writes "On Wednesday, Oracle amended the lawsuit it filed against Google in August, saying that 'approximately one third of Android's Application Programmer Interface (API) packages' are 'derivative of Oracle's copyrighted Java API packages' and related documents. In particular, 'the infringed elements of Oracle America's copyrighted work include Java method and class names, definitions, organization, and parameters; the structure, organization and content of Java class libraries; and the content and organization of Java's documentation,' Oracle says. 'In at least several instances, Android computer program code also was directly copied from copyrighted Oracle America code,' Oracle alleges."
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Oracle Claims Google 'Directly Copied' Our Java Code

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:45AM (#34049856)

    Fire up Patty at Grocklaw./.... this is identical to the IBM vs SCO case

    • by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:49AM (#34049940) Journal

      Also, is oracle really trying to state that they have never heard of clean room design [wikipedia.org]? Oracle is pretty screwed on this case, and with google's intent to fight hard, all Oracle is going to do is kill their own business off.

      Java has now become a liability, so now people won't want to use it. Simple.

      • by wonkavader (605434) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:59AM (#34050116)

        I don't think it's that bad, but certainly ORACLE becomes a liability -- don't use anything they control.

        • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:49AM (#34051054) Homepage Journal

          I don't think it's that bad, but certainly ORACLE becomes a liability

          Becomes? You must be new.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by thePig (964303)

          Even though I want to support Google in this case, we cannot be sure - unless we go through their whole set of comments.
          Note that android code was not written by Google - it was by Android Inc - and so we cannot just discount it by saying why would google need to do that.
          This will be a fun fight to watch though.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Dalvik was not part of the original android project. Google went ahead and built a clean room implementation after talks with Sun over Java licensing broke down. Dalvik was certainly programmed in house by Google.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by medv4380 (1604309)
        Too much infrastructure is tied into Java for this to kill it quickly. It will be a slow and painful death as people move away if they can.
        • by Z00L00K (682162) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:14AM (#34050376) Homepage

          And then the question is - move to WHAT?

          C# is too windows-oriented to really be useful, but maybe this will be a revival for Ada?

          However - it's more likely that a spoof of Java called something else will spring up.

          • by digitalunity (19107) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .ytinulatigid.> on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:19AM (#34050492) Homepage

            Oracle isn't going anywhere. This lawsuit isn't going to be anything at all like SCO/IBM or SCO/Novell because Oracle is many times larger than SCO is and is at least 2 orders of magnitude more relevant.

            Java is everywhere. Schools teach it. Companies use it.

            If Google really copied things from the Java source like actual source code or documentation, they might be screwed. It sounds like from the summary that the bulk of this 'copying' was the API, which I don't think is even eligible for copyright(not artistic).

            • Isn't the code for Sun's standard java library GPL along with the rest of OpenJDK? If so, it should be completely legal to copy it as much as you want.

              --Coder
              • by H0p313ss (811249) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @12:17PM (#34051546)

                Isn't the code for Sun's standard java library GPL along with the rest of OpenJDK? If so, it should be completely legal to copy it as much as you want.

                Not all of Sun's Java code went into Harmony et. al. So, maybe.

                However, I am both puzzled and worried by Oracle's motivation here. It sounds to me like Oracle is actually going to kill Java by making it impossible to adopt in the name of trying to leverage the (very expensive) IP they bought along with Sun.

                Sounds like we need a new, and truly open, language and runtime for the 21st century.

                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by HiThere (15173)

                  Ruby? Python? D? An adaptation of Python with (optional) static typing (to allow compilation into more efficient code)? (Note, btw, the existence of Pyrex and Cython which allow the compilation of python into native code. Sometimes much more efficient native code. This isn't what I'm talking about.)

                  Why bother to come up with an entirely new language? If you must, why not Go?

                  As for Ada... they'd need to make some basic changes. It could be done, but they've refused to even *look* in that direction. E.

                • Small nit-pick (Score:5, Informative)

                  by nedwidek (98930) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @02:07PM (#34053332)

                  Not all of Sun's Java code went into Harmony et. al. So, maybe.

                  The point of the project was that NONE of Sun's Java code would go into the project. They started with a clean slate and implemented all of the methods with their own code. They also had processes in place with the intention of keeping out the original Java code in contributions.

                  Oracle is basically stating that by using the same package names, class names, and parameters that Android is an infringing derivative. This is the same argument as the SCO ABI argument. That was laughed out of court IIRC.

              • by recoiledsnake (879048) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @12:21PM (#34051618)

                GPL'ed code will save Google from copyright claims, not patent claims. This is the case for pre-GPLv3 license which Java is under.

          • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:25AM (#34050600)

            Uh.. what?

            C# has absolutely nothing windows oriented to it. It's a completely platform agnostic language.

            Now, if you're talking about .NET, that's a slightly different story, although much of it, especially the CLI is also platform neutral. The only parts that are windows specific are things that can be replaced, such as the GUI framework.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by makomk (752139)

              C# has absolutely nothing windows oriented to it. It's a completely platform agnostic language.

              Yeah, so long as you exclude all the standard library functionality like access to files, networking, I/O in general, threading, etc, etc - basically everything you need in order to actually write useful applications in C#. If you want to actually use it for application development, though, it's very much Windows oriented.

            • by Haeleth (414428) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @04:59PM (#34056352) Journal

              C# has absolutely nothing windows oriented to it. It's a completely platform agnostic language.

              Don't be disingenuous. You know as well as I do that when anyone other than Miguel de Icaza says "C#" they are talking about .NET running on Microsoft Windows, and that is never going to change.

              Even if we suppose, for the sake of argument, that Mono is an excellent platform for Linux-native development, it is still ridiculous to suggest that it might replace Java. Where is Java used? In big enterprises. Do you really think that a company that is afraid to use Java for fear of Oracle is going to be happy using a third-party implementation of a Microsoft technology?! They would be crazy to do so. Anyone who is still running Java on Windows, and has no interest whatsoever in retaining cross-platform compatibility, might consider switching to .NET at this point. Indeed it would probably make good business sense for them to do so. But C# is not a serious option for any enterprise scenario that involves non-Microsoft platforms.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by codepunk (167897)

              Well let me just copy the code of sharp develop over to a linux box and compile with mono, should work right out of the box then correct? Oh I guess not.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Surt (22457)

        I'm sure oracle HAS heard of clean room design (legal), but that does not typically result in methods reproduced word for word, as happens when you copy the methods using cut and paste (judgement for the plaintiff).

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Anon because skewering is anticipated....

          Really? Comparing to SCO?

          I'm replying to a post that is thinking it through vs. some of the others.

          I know Google can do no wrong in some people's eyes, but isn't it possible that some middle manager and his crack wiz kids didn't think and indeed copied code directly from Oracle's Java (it pains me to say that name...I already miss Sun). I've seen this many times where people see code, use code, and don't think of the legal ramifications. I'm sure everyone on Sla

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by UnknowingFool (672806)

        I don't know enough about the specifics in this case but clean room implementation is not always a ironclad defense. The specifics will matter since this is about code that is copyrighted and not just patents. The code might match up but Google will have to show that such code was trivial and obvious. For example if you have a method that adds integers together:

        public int add(int a, int b) { return (a+b); }

        There are only a handful of ways to do this. If two different implementations come up with the

          • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @01:25PM (#34052632)
            From my non-expert analysis.
            • The variable declarations are almost identical.
              There are a few minor differences but the names are exact. This is troubling unless the specifications list or name them. However, the variable declarations may not be protected elements.
            • The method names are exact.
              This isn't surprising if the both pieces of code are trying to do the same thing.
            • The method parameters are not exact.
              The types are the same but the names are not exact.
            • The structure is similar but not exact.
              There are slight differences mostly due to style of the programmer which is to be expected in clean room implementations.. Android versions sometimes squeezed code into one line where Oracle's version spread it to multiple lines. Android's if statements sometimes used braces {} even if it was not required whereas the Oracle version did not. Android did not always use the same structure (i.e. while instead of do while and for iterator instead of while {iterator.hasNext()}

            Except the private variables in the beginning, I would lean towards clean room implementation. There is a lot of line by line exactness however they do not appear to be nontrivial parts of the code and there is enough slight differences to where it could be explained by clean room implementations.

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:16AM (#34050412) Homepage

      Well, at least we found out why Oracle bought Java...

      • by AmaDaden (794446) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @12:01PM (#34051268)
        James Gosling confirmed this some time ago "During the integration meetings between Sun and Oracle where we were being grilled about the patent situation between Sun and Google, we could see the Oracle lawyer's eyes sparkle. Filing patent suits was never in Sun's genetic code. Alas.... " http://nighthacks.com/roller/jag/entry/the_shit_finally_hits_the [nighthacks.com]
      • by Nethemas the Great (909900) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @12:40PM (#34051938)

        I thought most of us saw the obvious reasons already. Sun was rather like a gift wrapped fruit basket.

        • They were constantly struggling with money problems making them weak to takeovers.
        • MySQL, Oracle's database division's biggest threat was purchased by Sun.
        • Sun owns Java, and more importantly J2EE--the technology powering the overwhelming majority of every corporate back-end that isn't .NET.
        • Sun railed hard against software patents, Oracle loves software patents, uses them as a profit center
        • Sun possesses a 10-year, patent non-aggression pact with Microsoft (started in 2004)
        • Sun has a somewhat sizable patent portfolio, including pertaining to Java, anyone not deriving from OpenJDK (which has permanent indemnification) is subject to litigation.
        • Most of Sun's software patents were as yet untapped (they never sued for licensing agreements) potential points of licensing revenue.
        • The Java specifications are copyrighted. There are a number of APIs that have similar designs
    • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:37AM (#34050844)

      What I find ironic is that everyone was worried about Microsoft suing open source implementors of .NET, and claiming that Java should be used instead. ... Oops.

  • Apparently they are getting really desperate and are behaving like SCO now. If you have tons of getters, setters and other small functions, it is easy to have the same implementation in all cases.
    • by jdgeorge (18767) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:49AM (#34051066)

      Apparently they are getting really desperate and are behaving like SCO now. If you have tons of getters, setters and other small functions, it is easy to have the same implementation in all cases.

      My guess: What Oracle is desparate for is a cross licensing deal with Google to give them access to Google's IP related to massively distributed data storage/retrieval. Google, on the other hand, isn't particularly interested in giving away their crown jewels in this way.

  • Dangerous claim (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:47AM (#34049902) Journal

    "The infringed elements of Oracle America’s copyrighted work include Java method and class names, definitions, organization, and parameters; the structure, organization and content of Java class libraries; and the content and organization of Java’s documentation," Oracle says.

    All of this stuff should count as an interface, and therefore not covered by copyright under US law. If they win this, then it sets a very dangerous precedent. Any project that implements an interface defined by another would potentially be violating copyright - including every single PC, which includes a BIOS that implements the behaviour of the IBM-copyrighted PC BIOS. Projects like WINE and GNUstep would also be in serious trouble and Linux (implementing UNIX APIs) would be illegal.

    Claiming that Google copied their code is interesting. I was under the impression that the java.* classes in Android came from Apache, not from the Sun releases. Is Oracle trying to pull a SCO here? (i.e. it does something like what our code does, therefore it's ours).

    They really should have kept this as a patent / trademark issue. Bringing copyrights in is a terrible idea.

    • Re:Dangerous claim (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vtcodger (957785) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:58AM (#34050082)

      ***Is Oracle trying to pull a SCO here? (i.e. it does something like what our code does, therefore it's ours).***

      Lawsuits are written by lawyers. Being a lawyer means that you don't actually need to know what you are talking about, you just need to sound like you do.

      I agree, that this stuff other than indenting, comments, layout probably is not copyrightable. My understanding is that basically, you can not copyright the only way to express something.

      I'm in no way shape or form a lawyer. Does formulating this in the way they have give Oracle access to the Google code to see if the code was in fact copied byte for byte from Oracle rather than simply implementing the same externally interface?

    • Re:Dangerous claim (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:02AM (#34050156)

      All those perfectly valid points aside, there's the slight matter of Sun having released the vast majority of their API implementation as open source.

    • by Surt (22457)

      Even if all the rest of it did, class definitions would not. Also, I wouldn't expect the private java interfaces to count as public interfaces for purposes of copyright (how you in particular implement a public interface ought to be protected by copyright, even if that involves private classes named interfaces in this particular programming language).

    • All of this stuff should count as an interface, and therefore not covered by copyright under US law.

      Yes and no. With Java, the package, class and method names would be a part of the interface and thus not covered. However, using the symbol XYZ to be some specific value that is used as a parameter to a method would be covered. It's the difference between an interface and an expression of an interface. Of course, this would be a small amount of what Oracle is claiming, but it's still valid.

      The code copying is the thing that is most potentially damaging. And that all depends on what code was copied (if

    • Same Lawyer (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pavon (30274)

      Is Oracle trying to pull a SCO here?

      Groklaw pointed out that David Boies is one of the three Lawyers listed on the Oracle filings. He also represented SCO in that fiasco, so, yes it appears we will be seeing the same sort of bullshit we saw there. He is a lawyer, and has represented many clients including some we would side with (such as arguing the DOJ's case against Microsoft). But his methods are similar regardless of the client; a no-holds-barred fight claiming anything they can think of regardless of the merit of the claims or how it aff

  • Oracle - how did Google get their hands on it in the first place?

  • And so it begins. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by contra_mundi (1362297) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:48AM (#34049926)
    Oracle makes Java unusable, by being Oracle.
  • 10 INPUT "What is your query? ", U$
    20 PRINT "Did you mean:"; U$
    30 INPUT "Are you feeling lucky? ", N
    40 PRINT "Goodbye "; U$
    50 END
  • by wonkavader (605434) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @10:57AM (#34050080)

    Maybe there's more here. Maybe Google took actual, non-open Java code, but it looks a lot like the SCO suit to me. That Oracle is saying that using the same header files (AKA APIs) is infringement. We all know that to make a work-alike system, the strings in the header files (APIs) need to be the same. They really look the same, even if you create them from scratch by following the published specs.

    This seems like Darl's work, all over again.

  • ...consisting of Microsoft, Apple and Oracle.

  • by No. 24601 (657888) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:04AM (#34050198)

    Oracle should never have been allowed to buy Sun. Instead it should have been liquidated (since that's what happening anyways... particularly with the high-profile Sun departures).

    And so it begins...

    • by khallow (566160)

      Oracle should never have been allowed to buy Sun. Instead it should have been liquidated (since that's what happening anyways... particularly with the high-profile Sun departures).

      Well then, you shouldn't have allowed it.

  • Sorry but that is a fact that is independent of any hatred you may have of Oracle.

    Renamed a string to s???? Why even bother?
  • Anyone else thinking Oracle buying Sun was a calculated move to destroy Android by killing Java?

    Maybe Google wanted Sun to die so Google could buy Java in a disheveled state....

    Reeks of conspiracy, I know, just a thought...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      Anyone else thinking Oracle buying Sun was a calculated move to destroy Android by killing Java?

      Nope. I'm of the opinion that Java and Android are casualties to "business as usual" at Oracle.

      I believe they really did want to be able to market an Oracle appliance set up specifically for running Oracle DBs. In fact, they will likely eventually move to a mode where Oracle is only supported on Oracle machines with a support contract. Since even the most trivial install of Oracle on the enterprise level requi

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Oracle is not in the mobile market, except in the sense that they now own Java and want to collect royalties for the use of Java in handheld devices. Sun has always required royalties for J2ME (Micro edition) in handheld devices. The issue here is that Google tried to weasel out of royalties by making a Java-compatible VM based on J2SE (Standard Edition) which is GPL and open. The problem is that this move violates the *spirit* of the original Java licensing agreement, which as to open Java for desktop/s

  • Apple - Java (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aitikin (909209) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:17AM (#34050444)
    So maybe this is why Apple decided to stop updating their java and leave it to Oracle...
  • Isn't oracles java just OpenJDK? Which is GPL, and thus can be copied in the way google did (if they did)?

    Next up, Linus sues the world for each copy of the kernel sources?

  • by freeshoes (826204) on Thursday October 28, 2010 @11:36AM (#34050810)
    Google should just buy Oracle, then it could develop OO etc to kill MS Office.

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