An eight-year court battle is about to come to an end with Google forced to pay $8.8 billion for violating copyright laws .
In late 2009, Google dismissed copyright laws when it used Oracle’s open-source Java software to build its wildly successful Android platform. The company immediately took them to court with the issue still remaining undecided. That said, it appears that the suit is coming to an end this year, in Oracle’s favour.
Six years ago, one jury determined that Oracle’s Java was not protected by copyright law and therefore, that Google hadn’t done anything wrong. Of course, Oracle filed an appeal and in 2014, another court overturned the ruling. Two years passed and Google was found innocent under the law’s fair use doctrine but Oracle didn’t budge. Their last appeal is about to be the last one in this case, since a Federal Circuit judge panel declared on Tuesday that “there is nothing fair about taking a copyrighted work verbatim and using it for the same purpose and function as the original in a competing platform.”
Google could ask the judge panel to reconsider their verdict or present their case in front of all the member judges of the court. Even then, the loser could put up a final fight at the Supreme Court.
At the moment, Oracle is seeking $8.8 billion from Android’s maker. The issue is not just money-related, though; in fact, it poses another problem, as Google briefly stated: “This type of ruling will make apps and online services more expensive for users.” Oracle’s APIs are, in fact, available to computer and mobile app developers free of charge but NOT to companies trying to build competing platforms or wanting to embed them.
After all, Android has gained more than $42 billion from advertising using unaltered copyrighted code from Oracle. That wouldn’t sit well with any creator, we believe.