Google appealed to the fair use during the trial against Oracle for the use of Java APIs on Android, and the jury believed the argument of the company.
Throughout Thursday, a court in the Northern District of California declared legitimate the use of Android code protected by copyright belonging to Oracle. Google is free from any liability in the case, and will not have to observe the payment of up to $ 9 billion required by Oracle for breach of copyright.
The case revolved around a Java by Oracle API that allows external programs to interact in a simplified way with the Java software. Android uses this API for some time, and in 2014 a federal appeals court ruled that the complaint on Oracle’s copyright on specific code was completely valid. One element that could expose Google to a huge fine considering the sales volumes achieved by Android over the years.
Google in the last round of hearings argued that the implementation of Android API object of Oracle’s complaint fell within the so-called fair use provision of a law of the States establishing the unauthorized lawfulness of citation or incorporation of copyrighted material belonging to third parties. Ultimately, it seems that Google’s justification has been accepted by the jury, who found convincing the argument of the company.
The court battle was largely based on some e-mail messages sent by the founder of Android, Andy Rubin, who went on to develop the operating system after Google had acquired in 2005. In an email unearthed during Rubin the investigation seems to criticize the decision of another company to produce software using the same Java API discussed during the process, which at the time were owned by Sun Microsystems.
The results of the judgments on fair use depends very much on the case in question, so that on Thursday sets no legal precedent that could be used in future trials. However, the specific case between Google and Oracle is one of the biggest of its kind and, according to several US lawyers, could have a ” chilling effect ” for software developers, especially if judgments of this kind would start to become the practice.