The Jury in the Oracle vs Google court case has found that internet giant Google has indeed breached Oracle’s copyright but was unable to deliver a verdict on the issue of "fair use."
Oracle had been asking for $1 billion in damages but the judge presiding over the case said that the partial verdict meant there was "zero finding of liability on any copyright so far."
Google’s major defence, fair use, is "still in play", the Judge William Alsup said in court. This case is viewed as important because the fair use defence is thought to cover the use of software APIs so if this should be struck down it has wide ranging implications for software development.
The finding of copyright violation means that Oracle is limited to seeking so-called statutory damages which tops out at $150,000. Trivial for a cash-rich Silicon Valley giant such as Google.
Google’s lawyers have asked for a mistrial while Oracle’s lawyers petitioned for the judge to issue his own verdict on the fair use defence – presumably believing they’re in with a shot at Alsup declaring that fair use doesn’t apply to Java’s APIs.