[Editor Charlie sez: Challenging Google will break the Internet!! Again!! Everybody drink!!]
I freely admit that one reason I procrastinated when it came to digging into Oracle v. Google (now Google v. Oracle) is the fact that this nine-year litigation, now headed to the Supreme Court, deals with software. Unlike most creative arts in which I have some background and knowledge, software might as well be magic spells that make our devices run (or not); and although this form of authorship is generally invisible or incomprehensible to most of us users, the code-writers say it entails creative expression, and so does the copyright law since 1980.
This clash-of-titans lawsuit, which currently stands with two rulings (in 2014 and 2017) in Oracle’s favor at the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, will now ask the Supreme Court to settle two main legal questions: 1) whether the specific code (part of Oracle’s Java API) used by Google without a license in the development of Android is copyrightable in the first place; and 2) if that code is protected by copyright, whether Google’s use is protected by the fair use doctrine. I will actually address the legal narrative and issues in subsequent posts because on top of the triable matters and doctrinal debates, is a business and PR story that should probably be addressed first.