On the 5th April 2021, the Supreme Court decided that Google’s use of Oracle Corp’s software code to build the Android operating systems does not violate U.S copyright law. The Court’s decision overturned the ruling made that the inclusion of the software code in Android did not constitute fair use under U.S copyright law.
Fair use in the U.S is where brief excerpts of someone else’s work, may under certain circumstances, be used by someone else without the need for permission or a payment to the copyright holder.
Oracle’s software is a building block for many apps and digital services. This is then used by Google to enable software companies to make applications for smartphones easier. The argument was between the standard practice of application programming interfaces (API).
An API is where you use an application on a mobile device. The application then connects to the internet so that it can send data to a server which the server then retrieves, interprets and presents the information back in the prescribed form.
The decision was made so that Oracle alone would not be able to lock the code limiting the future creativity of new programs. This decision spared Google from damages between 8 billion dollars and 30 billion dollars.
For many technological companies this ruling provided a form of relief as it prevents API companies from being able to charge or prevent rivals from using this coding which would discourage further future inventions.
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