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Oracle Refuses To Accept Android's 'Fair Use' Verdict, Files Appeal (wsj.com) 155

An anonymous reader quotes the Wall Street Journal: The seven-year legal battle between tech giants Google and Oracle just got new life. Oracle on Friday filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that seeks to overturn a federal jury's decision last year... The case has now gone through two federal trials and bounced around at appeals courts, including a brief stop at the U.S. Supreme Court. Oracle has sought as much as $9 billion in the case.

In the trial last year in San Francisco, the jury ruled Google's use of 11,000 lines of Java code was allowed under "fair use" provisions in federal copyright law. In Oracle's 155-page appeal on Friday, it called Google's "copying...classic unfair use" and said "Google reaped billions of dollars while leaving Oracle's Java business in tatters."

Oracle's brief also argues that "When a plagiarist takes the most recognizable portions of a novel and adapts them into a film, the plagiarist commits the 'classic' unfair use."
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Oracle Refuses To Accept Android's 'Fair Use' Verdict, Files Appeal

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  • Simple (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:36PM (#53847093)
    Boycott the fuckers! Do not use Java.
    • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @06:38PM (#53847645) Journal

      Boycott the fuckers! Do not use Java.

      I use Java all the time, and I don't send a dime to Oracle. How is not using Java going to hurt them?

      • by Motard ( 1553251 )

        You likely don't pay anything to YouTube either. But if we all stopped watching YouTube vids, YouTube would not be happy.

        The money is not where you think it is.

        • That's why I was asking. My question stands: how does not using Java hurt Oracle?

          • Re:Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

            by saloomy ( 2817221 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @09:43PM (#53848385)
            By not using java you hurt Oracle in two ways.

            1st. You learn something else. This means their technology gets a lower market share, and less development mindshare. You learn something else (or become more fluent in other languages). This ,means they have a less compelling product to sell that is slightly less a case of "everyone knows Java". This is especially true when it comes to new developers. When you go to get a job in enterprise, using something else means Java won't be their pic for licensing.

            2nd. The language gets less use and therefore less bugs are discovered, less optimization as real-world issues get passed back to the developers. Using Java less means Oracle has a less valuable language.
            • "their technology gets a lower market share"

              What market share? There is no money in it.

              " This is especially true when it comes to new developers."

              But they aren't buying anything either. There is no valid facts in your argument.

              • There is a lot of money around it; starting from support contracts to stuff Oracle built around Java, like its weblogic application server or the fact that you can run Java code in their database. Oracle can go to enterprise and sell them the entire software stack, from the db to the application server, assuring them that finding programmers will be cheap and easy because their language is the most used around the world. To add to that, if you were to build something successful around Java, you have to expe
        • That's because YouTube has ads and user preference tracking. Java does not.
      • I use Java all the time, and I don't send a dime to Oracle. How is not using Java going to hurt them?

        Oracle profit from Java Certification, Java Support, and Proprietary Java Extensions. While you may not use any of these, people working with your code in the future will likely require one or all of them.

        The reasons for dumping Java are the same reasons for dumping VB6: Ethics, Pushing bad coding practices, Slow, Buggy, Increasing hostility toward customers, Out-dated.

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      I already blacklist Oracle and will not give Oracle a cent of my money for anything. I also do not write any Java code nor do I have any Java stuff installed on my PC. (although the latter has to do with just how crap and bug-ridden the Java VM is as much as it has to do with how scummy Oracle is as a company)

  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:36PM (#53847097)
    And take studious notes.
  • Java sucks (Score:5, Informative)

    by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:39PM (#53847117)

    Use some other language. There are better languages out there.
    Sun, which developed Java, made it freely available so that it would get popular. That's why people chose it -- that's why it got the traction and support to evolve to where it is today. Ultimately though, people were only willing to pay what it was worth.

    • Re:Java sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

      by geek ( 5680 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:46PM (#53847155)

      Use some other language. There are better languages out there.
      Sun, which developed Java, made it freely available so that it would get popular. That's why people chose it -- that's why it got the traction and support to evolve to where it is today. Ultimately though, people were only willing to pay what it was worth.

      Her'es the thing with Java. It was designed for much different use than it's being used for today. It was meant to run on smart cards and specialized hardware. That's why it uses a JVM because you can port the JVM to whatever you want and the language will just work. But those uses today are no longer important. Java has ended up as a backend server language for some odd fucking reason where its performance is terrible and the constant revisions has made it impossible to maintain.

      Java today is a pointless language used only because other people are using it. There are so many better options that choosing java for a project today should be a fireable offence. Pick anything, C, Rust, Go, C#, ANYTHING. It will be better than Java.

      • Java today is a pointless language used only because other people are using it. There are so many better options that choosing java for a project today should be a fireable offence. Pick anything, C, Rust, Go, C#, ANYTHING. It will be better than Java.

        "Better" is subjective and in many cases even objective. Even the language examples you gave aren't universally "better" subjectively or objectively than Java. - and certainly not "anything". It all depends on your resources, needs and priorities.

      • Re:Java sucks (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @05:29PM (#53847373) Journal

        It was designed for much different use than it's being used for today

        Java, originally Green, was part of the 7* project at Sun. 7* was a portable, hand-held computer and Green was created as the language for programming it - particularly for programming the GUI applications. That doesn't sound to me too far away from Android's use of Java to me...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Green was the platform; Oak was the language that became Java.

      • Projects written in every language will turn into something impossible to maintain over time. I have maintained old systems in many languages. They all become crap. People take short cuts all the time to solve some short term issue, which causes major problems down the road. No one wants to pay to rewrite crap code later, since they invested big bucks in creating it in the first place. Some "latest and greatest" language comes along, and everyone jumps on the bandwagon. The next one comes, and everyone jump
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Grandpa, Mom says you need to get off the computer, it's time for your nap.

      • I doubt there is a better language/platform/eco system for backend systems than Java.
        Anyway, to define better you would need to bring up features and a cost benefit analysis why a certain feature is better than another.
        I don't like Java as a language particular well, but as a platform it is the best thing that happened to the developer world ever. Program in Groovy, or Scala if you can not be bothered to use a modern IDE for Java.

        Your idea that Java has terrible performance on the backend is idiotic ... suc

      • Re:Java sucks (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @07:37PM (#53847935)

        Java today is a pointless language used only because other people are using it.

        That would be wishful thinking. Java is picked for new projects for the same reasons as always: you don't need to be a genius to master it and it does provide the software engineering features necessary for large scale projects, however clumsy they may be. You would be certifiably nuts to pick C for anything at enterprise scale. That would be a firing offense. Rust looks promising but unproven, maybe it will be a conservative pick five years from now. C# and Go requiring buying into, respectively, Microsoft's and Google's ecosystems. There is no reason to think that Microsoft intends to play the intellectual property game any nicer than Oracle does. Go is immature and has been crticized for lack of extensibility. Python is a viable choice for many projects, though it continues to suffer from inattention to performance and threading issues and idiosyncratic warts such as significant whitespace. Javascript is a horribly flawed language with huge support, mature JIT optimization, and a broad talent pool that make it a viable choice particularly for frontend work. As of today, there is no alternative that deals a knockout punch to Java, however much we wish there were.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        As soon as you said Java's performance was terrible, I knew you didn't know what you're talking about.

        All of the languages you put in your list against Java under perform compared to Java, with the exception of C. And no, C is not a better programming language that Java, unless you really like your development projects to move at a slower pace and your software to speak to you in segfaults.

    • We are talking about android devices.
      There is no competing language, platform to Java on Android.

      And in my genre, large scale enterprise software, I had no idea what else to use than Java. The eco system is just to good.

    • There are a precious few languages I can think of today that require you to pay money to get access to the platform and a compiler/IDE/interpreter.

      All the major implementations of JavaScript are free.
      C#, VB.NET and all the .NET languages are free.
      C, C++, and Objective C are free (many free implementations exist).
      Ada, Go, Haskell, Python, Ruby, Perl, PHP, Lisp, and virtually all of the hundreds of "esoteric" programming languages are free.

      Your argument is based around a false premise, that if someone is will

      • I don't know about MUMPS or Progress, but you can get F/OS COBOL compilers (not that I have to let one into my house, mind you). A lot of COBOL jobs do require using IBM mainframe software, though, and that is not available for free.

    • Also, to make your argument look even more silly, Java was already ridiculously popular before Sun open sourced the code. Before that it was (mostly) freeware, but companies of all sizes were also buying support licenses for proprietary Java back in the early days. Open sourcing Java just accelerated its popularity, because, in the early days of .NET, its competition was much more platform-constrained (Windows-only, before Mono) and pricey (required a Visual Studio license to unlock some features or, in the

  • Never ever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geek ( 5680 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:43PM (#53847139)

    Ever use Oracle for anything. Ever

  • Not plagarism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:45PM (#53847149)

    Oracle's brief also argues that "When a plagiarist takes the most recognizable portions of a novel and adapts them into a film, the plagiarist commits the 'classic' unfair use."

    All that goes out the window when the novel's author openly tells everyone to use the novel without charge, which they do. Then the author dies and the person who buys the rights to the author's estate unilaterally decides it can undo what the author did in the past and tries to charge back-royalties for past use.

    A more fitting description here would be "bait and switch."

    • That strategy works if you have much better lawyers than the other guy.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There's also the question of what "use" means here. Company A making cookie cutters can sue Company B that is copying its cookie cutters, but cannot sue company C that is selling cookies made using the cookie cutters. Was Android's use of Java of the type "copying the cookie cutter" or "using the cookie cutter"?

    • If Google had released their source code under the GPL (since Java is under GPL), this wouldn't have been a problem at all. It's kind of sad, actually.
      • If Google's use is legit, they can pass that on under the GPL. If not, they have no right to pass it on, so the GPL is irrelevant here. The important question is exactly what Java released under the GPL.

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Saturday February 11, 2017 @04:54PM (#53847201) Homepage Journal

    The story at the time was that Oracle only paid so much for Sun because it thought that by hammering on Google for Android with Java licensing claims it could force Google into a patent cross-licensing deal for its distributed database patents, which Oracle needed to scale.

    Does this mean, then, that Oracle is still having trouble scaling? It suggests to me that Oracle would be a bad choice at this point for web-scale development. I honestly would have predicted that they would have their own solutions in place by now.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You could do much worse than an oracle backend running your stuff.

      The thing is very few projects do it. The reason? The cost. Oracle is so expensive you can drop 500k just on a couple of servers and some license and just be getting started with them. For once you use them you are fairly stuck with them. Along with the crop of very expensive consultants that you have to hire to make it work.

      The nosql branches of data storage are eating the only reason to use oracle. SQL Server is the 'well I want to be

    • FWIW with regards to patents:

      Each side brought thousands and thousands of patents, blaming the other for infringing. The judge said, "ok, each side choose your ~6 most important patents that are being infringed, and we'll compare." That part of the lawsuit finished with no clear victor (iirc), so the patent part of the fight ended. Now it's just the copyright portion going on.

      Why is Oracle appealing? Because it's billions of dollars, and they are going back to the 9th circuit court, a court that has alr
      • The Ninth Circuit ruled that interfaces can be copyrighted, and sent the case back down to see if Google is covered under fair use. I don't remember (which doesn't necessarily mean much) the appellate court providing a strong opinion on whether Google is covered.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @05:12PM (#53847285)

    Google reaped billions of dollars while leaving Oracle's Java business in tatters.

    What Oracle Java business? Or do they mean the one about trying to extort money from others using public APIs?

  • by sir-gold ( 949031 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @05:21PM (#53847339)

    In Oracle's 155-page appeal on Friday, it [...] said "Google reaped billions of dollars while leaving Oracle's Java business in tatters."

    It seems to me that it was Oracle that left Sun's Java business in tatters.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In Oracle's 155-page appeal on Friday, it [...] said "Google reaped billions of dollars while leaving Oracle's Java business in tatters."

      It seems to me that it was Oracle that left Sun's Java business in tatters.

      To be fair, it was Sun (specifically MyLittlePony [theguardian.com]) that drove all of Sun's business into the ground.

  • Son of SCO (Score:4, Informative)

    by ytene ( 4376651 ) on Saturday February 11, 2017 @07:50PM (#53848001)
    In many ways this case bears some remarkable similarities with the case brought by "The SCO Group" [a successor-in-interest, *not* the original Santa Cruz Operation company] against IBM, claiming not only that IBM had violated "TSG"-owned copyright, but that because in their view TSG owned the rights to code that IBM were alleged to have copied into Linux, somehow this gave TSG the right to charge every Linux user a "license fee" for the use of this unspecified code.

    The exact same greed lies behind the Oracle case against Google. No matter how ludicrous the case might seem to us as technologists, the plaintiff in this case [Oracle], with their dying business model, is asking a court to allow them to charge a "tax" on every Android device in the same way that The SCO Group sought to tax every user of the Linux kernel.

    To be fair, there are some important distinctions between the two cases. In TSG vs. IBM, the plaintiff flat-out refused to identify [let alone with the specificity requested by IBM] the actual code they were alleged to have copied. In their hope of getting in front of a jury and having their star lawyer [David Boies] pull some fast talking, TSG refused to specifying, saying basically, "The infringing code is in the Linux Kernel. Go look for yourselves..." With Oracle vs. Google, the "code" is precisely identified.

    However, *unlike* the TSG case, Oracle are taking exception to Android's use of the "language structure" of JAVA, which of course Google did to ensure compatibility with existing applications. This is interesting because of the potential legal repercussions of this case and not just because this is two of the biggest names in US Technology duking it out in a court of law. Oracle are trying to argue that the structure of JAVA can be subject to copyright. To put that in context, that is like saying that a publisher could copyright a book structure that comprised of:-

    Chapter 1
    Chapter 2
    Chapter 3

    and so on... Lay the issue out in such a simple form and it seems a bit absurd, but we would do well to remember that "the law may upset reason, but reason may not upset the law..." (Ieyasu Tokugawa, the Shogun of Japan). This is both important and scary for us as technologists, because it means that if someone can convince a jury that they "own" a data model or data structure that might be self-evident to us, they might get the right to ask for damages sufficient to bring down not just companies, but entire industries.

    The funny-if-you-can-look-at-it-that-way observation to make is that Oracle are not the only company gunning for Android. Microsoft have already threatened multiple smart-phone manufacturers with patent infringements, claiming that some portion or other of Android violates some of their intellectual property. Unfortunately, deals struck in those cases always include a confidentiality clause, so we don't yet know what Microsoft have been using to extract their pound of flesh. But it does seem remarkable to me that Microsoft appear to have been more successful by attacking the hardware developers than attempting to go after Google, while Oracle have tried that and now lost multiple times.

    Let's hope that Oracle and not permitted get away with what looks for all the world like a shake-down...
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      The SCO case had a "business model":

      1. Create baseless lawsuit and lots of FUD about the legality of Linux
      2. Collect "license fees" from companies that benefit from the FUD
      3. Pay CEO/lawyer-brother salaries based on the billions they'd allegedly win
      4. Flop with no real legal reprecussions for the lack of merit

      Microsoft got what they wanted. The McBrides got what they wanted. The stock holders got the chance to cash out on a failing company. The rest were suckers and victims.

      In the Oracle case I think Oracle

      • I like your car analogy but for a different reason. If ever car maker used wildly different designs for their controls (say random pedal placement, or gears in different positions on a manual gearbox) then cars would be dangerous because moving from one to another would require extensive retraining... ( In fact, just like you can get a pilot's license, but still have to get type-approval for each different aircraft you want to fly). Your point shows the huge gulf in standards we apply when moving from the
    • The SCO case was about whether IBM was using any code the SCO held the copyright to, which, legally, is a matter of fact. (Eventually, it turned out that SCO never did have the copyrights it claimed, but it still managed to keep the lawsuit undead.) In this case, everybody knows Google is using Oracle's copyrighted code, and the question is whether it's fair use, which depends on the law.

  • I came prepared. [dimensionsinfo.com]

  • In about 80 years of programming languages, there have been a few examples of companies which have managed to turn programming languages and runtimes into something which turned a profit, but generally not many and not for long.

    COBOL - Microfocus and a few other have turned a buck on COBOL but mainly because no one really wanted to bother implementing and supporting a competitor. In reality, COBOL support is what is turning a profit, not the language itself. Oh and Microfocus never tried to own the language
  • SCO also refused to accept they had a lost case.

    Let's see how they accept the bill at the end.

  • They tried to put a lot of poison pills in Java 8 (9?) with multiple inheritance and such. And, as a result, most people stopped updating from Java 7 and some of the largest projects switched to OpenJDK (which targets JDK 7 compatibility). Now that they have decided to completely dismantle all the IP they bought from Sun (effectively end of lifing Solaris by removing future versions from roadmap and such), I guess they decided it's time to write off what they can and try to extort someone else for the los
  • Here is the text of the appeal [regmedia.co.uk], in case anyone wants to read it.
  • Of course the appeal is one-sided in favor of Oracle, but this quote is such sneaky strategy [regmedia.co.uk]

    :

    Throughout six months of discovery on remand, Google produced 200,000 pages of documents. Not a single page mentioned ARC++. Then in the final week, after it became impossible to use them in depositions, Google dumped 350,000 pages on Oracle

  • Google reaped billions of dollars while leaving Oracle's Java business in tatters.

    Oracle did this all by themselves.

  • "When a plagiarist takes the most recognizable portions of a novel and adapts them into a film..." ... then you know Disney is around. Most of their famous cartoons are based on stories that were out of copyright. They made movies out of them and have been getting the government to keep extending copyright so their products never lose it. Therefore I'm not able to create anything based on the original stories in which they based their movies on or else they'll sue my ass off saying I took my idea from thei

    • One of the amusing things about the Lego Batman Movie was the cast of supervillains from the Phantom Zone. Some of them were named, such as Lord Voldemort and King Kong, and some of them weren't quite, like the "English robots" that looked awful like somebody made Daleks out of Legos.

  • Oracle has long-since given up competing on performance, innovation or even on price. They no sue their competitors, customers and innocent bystanders anytime Uncle Larry needs to buy a new island. If there was ever a case for the public to censure a company for its actions by actively refusing to use it's products, surely Oracle has earned that. To those companies still in the Oracle camp, you lie down with dogs, don't complain about fleas.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire

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