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Google Cellphones Handhelds Java Oracle The Courts Your Rights Online

Google Says 3rd Parties Would Be Liable For Java Infringement 236

angry tapir writes "Third parties, not Google, would be liable for any Java copyright violations in the Android mobile OS, according to a filing Google made in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Oracle sued Google in August over a number of alleged Java patent and copyright violations in Android."
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Google Says 3rd Parties Would Be Liable For Java Infringement

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  • by migla ( 1099771 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:48PM (#34202354)

    Mayber some of the following paragraphs from tfa would have fit in the summary:

    "Any use in the Android Platform of any protected elements of the works that are the subject of the Asserted Copyrights was made by third parties without the knowledge of Google, and Google is not liable for such use," Google attorneys wrote in one of 20 defenses to Oracle's amended complaint.

    Another defense states that Android was "created independently and without reference to any works protected by the Asserted Copyrights."

    Elsewhere in the document, Google discusses the formation of the Open Handset Alliance, the coalition of vendors, including Google, that worked together to develop Android.

    The filing also notes that Android can be freely downloaded and developers are free to modify the source code to suit their needs.

    In addition, Google states that Oracle's patent claims should be denied under the doctrine of misuse. "Oracle has come to the Court with unclean hands due to its practice of requiring licensees of its purportedly open software to pay for licenses to items not covered by Oracle's alleged intellectual property in order to receive a license under Oracle's alleged intellectual property."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:55PM (#34202416)

    Here's what the article actually says:

    "Any use in the Android Platform of any protected elements of the works that are the subject of the Asserted Copyrights was made by third parties without the knowledge of Google, and Google is not liable for such use," Google attorneys wrote in one of 20 defenses to Oracle's amended complaint."

    That is, "we are not responsible for any violations added by the third parties". Well, duh.

  • by poena.dare ( 306891 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:17PM (#34202596)

    Yeah peeps need not get their knickers in a wad. PJ can explain things, as always:

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20101111114933605 [groklaw.net]

    I love this:

    "Wouldn't it be ironic if Oracle's patents ended up on the junk heap? Clearly that is Google's intention. I've been hoping for a settlement of this mess from day one. I smell that it is now a real possibility. You can take this amended answer two ways -- that it's Google angling for a better settlement or that it's Google looking to win the whole enchilada and free up Java for everyone."

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:23PM (#34202636)

    Groklaw disagrees with your assessment.
    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20101111114933605 [groklaw.net]

  • Incomplete Story (Score:4, Informative)

    by gamerdonkey ( 1129337 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:29PM (#34202664) Homepage
    For actual coverage of Google's counterclaims, I suggest Groklaw: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20101111114933605 [groklaw.net]
  • by guyminuslife ( 1349809 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:32PM (#34202676)

    I had to read it a couple of times. I parse it as: "Oracle says that they have patents on some of the stuff that's used in open-source software. We're not saying they do, but we'll talk about that later. The thing is, because they say they have those patents, they want people to pay them for stuff that they don't even pretend to have patents on. That's bullshit. Therefore Oracle sucks."

  • No, it's not. (Score:4, Informative)

    by schon ( 31600 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @08:50PM (#34202768)

    Microsoft promises to take legal responsibiliy in the case of patent lawsuits resulting from use of their platform

    What does that have to do with copyright claims?

    Answer: absolutely nothing.

  • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @09:00PM (#34202838) Homepage

    The headers haven't only be removed - which is a GPL violation by itself - there's a *new* header:

      * Licensed to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under one or more
      * contributor license agreements. See the NOTICE file distributed with
      * this work for additional information regarding copyright ownership.
      * The ASF licenses this file to You under the Apache License, Version 2.0
      * (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with
      * the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at
      * http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0 [apache.org]
      * Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
      * distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
      * WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.
      * See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
      * limitations under the License.

    This is a blatant copyright violation, because you can't re-licence GPL code as Apache.

  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @09:09PM (#34202884) Journal

    This filing doesn't mean that even Google think the defence will succeed.

    It's my understanding that if you want to preserve your rights to assert a defense, you have to assert it up front. This prevents dramatic Perry Mason-style maneuvers where you pull a new defense out of the hat near the end of the trial.

    But the predictable consequence of this rule is that lawyers will assert any and all possible defenses up front, so as to preserve their client's options.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 11, 2010 @10:02PM (#34203170)

    Patents != Copyright

  • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @10:13PM (#34203234) Homepage
    I expect the average layman to be somewhat clueless, but this is Slashdot, so PLEASE people, get this through your head!

    If you don't want to do the research to verify that I am correct, at least read this part from Groklaw:

    ""Other than the Harmony libraries, the Android platform – including, without limitation, the Dalvik VM – was independently developed by the OHA," Google points out. The OHA is the Open Handset Alliance, which is 78 companies and entities, not just Google. "The Android Open Source Project (“AOSP”) is tasked with the maintenance and further development of Android, including incorporating code and submissions from the community of developers who contribute to Android and the tens of thousands of developers who create applications for Android." "

    I must have pointed out about 20 times here on Slashdot that Android is not Google's OS any more than Linux is a Red Hat OS. It is an OS produced by 78 different companies who are members of the Open Handset Alliance and also has numerous unaffiliated contributors.

  • by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @10:41PM (#34203404) Journal
    sun / oracle fragmented the "java platform" by trying to keep desktop and mobile java isolated from each other
  • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @01:35AM (#34204234) Homepage
    You probably should have read the first few paragraphs:

    "1.2 Your use of products, software, services and websites in connection with the Open Handset Alliance website (referred to collectively as the "Services" in this document) is subject to the terms of a legal agreement between you and Google. "Google" means Google Inc., a Delaware corporation with principal place of business at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, United States. This document explains how the agreement is made up, and sets out some of the terms of that agreement. "

    ... and ...

    "2. Accepting the Terms

    2.1 In order to use the Services, you must first agree to the Terms. You may not use the Services if you do not accept the Terms. "

    The entire document relates to and describes terms of service for the website, not Android. If you want to know about the licensing terms for Android you need to look at the license(s) in the source.

  • by kripkenstein ( 913150 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @03:00AM (#34204512) Homepage

    Android is not Google's OS any more than Linux is a Red Hat OS. It is an OS produced by 78 different companies who are members of the Open Handset Alliance and also has numerous unaffiliated contributors.

    Android is developed by Google behind closed doors. I am unsure of whether those other companies work with it behind those same closed doors, or not. But it's development is controlled by Google in a way very unlike Red Hat's development of Linux (or RHEL).

    You can take the released Android code and use it however you want. But practically speaking, Google still maintains a lot of control through the closed-doors development model. So it is fair to say Android is "Google's OS", but I would agree that that can be misunderstood to mean proprietary (which the released code most certainly is not), so maybe it's a bad choice of phrase.

    As I said before, I don't know if the other companies work with Google behind closed doors on the development - the development is behind closed doors, so we can't tell. But even if they do, it's still controlled by Google. For practical purposes, if you want to launch a device with Android, you need to partner with Google - only that way can you work on the latest code, and be aware of features in development, so your product when it finally launches will not use an outdated OS.

    Kudos to Google though for open sourcing it, when they do release it into the world. I am not saying Android is bad or anything. Just that it is controlled by Google. I'm a fan of Android myself.

    Regarding the story itself: Google is 100% right. Patents apply to 'specific machines', or should according to the law, so Google should be free to develop software free from worry from patent lawsuits. Hardware companies may need to enter patent agreements for their specific products. Google is arguing for a model of patents that makes a lot more sense than the one currently in practice in the US, and it happens to be the one that is on the books, so hopefully Google will prevail.

  • by InFire ( 32320 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @04:21AM (#34204718) Homepage

    Seems to be some confusion around here. There is a difference between the developers of Android (the OS) and the developers of Android applications.

    Even if there are proven to be patent problems with the Dalvik VM, an application developer is not distributing any part of the OS, only byte code which may or may not have been generated by a Java compiler and just happens to run in a Dalvik VM.

    Speaking as an Android app developer, I don't even program in Java. (And no, not the App Inventor or NDK either.)

  • Re:nice (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pastis ( 145655 ) on Friday November 12, 2010 @06:38AM (#34205124)

    Nope. Microsoft modified Java's platform and still called it Java. It wanted to add incompatible features and extend Java to its liking, ruining the write once run everywhere.

    There was already a Sun/Oracle lead platform (and strategy) for Java on the phone, it was JavaMe and it wasn't good enough.

    Google is thus taking the result of the compilation of a Java program and making it run on a phone in a different platform. It never clamed dalvik to be a Java VM, it just uses the Java language. That's very different from what Microsoft did.

    Google has no interest in destroying the Java language and platform. It uses it in several places, including Google App Engine.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling