Oracle v. Google Verdict Win for Software Developers, Reaffirms Importance of Fair Use

BY Heather Greenfield
May 26, 2016

Washington — A federal jury’s verdict today in a complicated fair use case is seen as a step in favor of interoperability – a principle that is key to the tech industry. The jury correctly found that Google’s use of the Java programming language in its Android phones was protected by “fair use.”

This litigation has been ongoing for several years, and was back in district court after the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the Federal Circuit’s problematic decision on the copyrightability of application programming interfaces  or APIs.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has fought for interoperability and fair use for more than 20 years. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“While the legal process may still be ongoing, this is an important win for software developers everywhere and it promotes innovation. The issue in this case, whether the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) is a violation of copyright law, has major ramifications for the entire technology industry. APIs are important building blocks for all software. Allowing copyright claims to block their use by third parties would have a chilling effect across the entire software industry.

“This ruling also reaffirms the importance of copyright’s fair use doctrine. Thousands of American businesses depend on the U.S.’s unique doctrine of fair use. Fair use is a key reason why our economy is an innovation leader.

“Thankfully, the jury correctly recognized this as fair use. We anticipate this decision being upheld on appeal. It’s the right interpretation of the law and the best outcome for the broader tech industry.”

For media inquiries, contact Communications Director Heather Greenfield hgreenfield@ccianet.org

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