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What the jury actually decided... | 697 comments | Create New Account
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What the jury actually decided...
Authored by: calris74 on Tuesday, May 08 2012 @ 12:09 AM EDT
Re: Q1 This question could have been worded more clearly.

A one word change and one word deletion would have done it. It should have read:

"As to the compilable code for the 37 Java API packages in question taken as a group:

"Has Oracle proven that Google has copied the overall structure, sequence and organization of copyrighted works?"

This question refers to copying the structure, sequence, and organization (that is, non-literal copying) of the compilable code of the implementation of the classes in the 37 packages. The SSO of computer programs (that would be the compilable code) is protectable, that of an "API" is not (yet). The term API is a red herring here and should have been left out for the sake of clarity. That is was left in is probably grounds for appeal if there is no mistrial on this count.

Once copying has been established, then fair use can be considered. If there is no fair use (or other exception to copyright that covers the copying and is pleaded), then and only then is there infringement.

Also, I'm not sure how the extent of the protected work is determined, but it appears to me that even if the jury had rendered a verdict of copying and no fair use on Q1, the decision would be appealable on the proper extent of the work to be compared, especially in light of the issues with the registration.
I respectfully disagree with your analysis of this point...

Question 1 was about the non-compilable component of the API (I'm not going to call it 'code'). Judge Alsup told the jury to assume that they should assume that such non- compilable components are covered by copyright (this is a point of law which he will decide - The jury is there to decide on facts)

I personally think this was a very smart choice by the judge. As he already explained, it was an attempt to 'appeal-proof' the trial. If he had decided as a point of law that the SSO was not copyrightable and it never went to the jury, a new trial would have been required if the appeal was successful. The irony is, it looks like even this safety-catch has failed.

So to use a text-book analogy...

In question 1A, the jury is asked if Google copied the table of contents, order of chapters and general concept of the chapter contents but not the literal text of the chapters - YES

In question 1B, the jury is asked if such copying constituded Fair Use - We don't know / Can't agree with each onther

In question 2A, the jury is asked if Google copied the preface of the textbook - NO

In question 3A, the jury is asked if Google copied one paragraph of one chapter - YES

In question 3B, the jury is asked if Google copied one entire chapter - NO

In question 3C, the jury is asked if Google copied the footnotes - NO

In question 4A, the jury is asked if Sun/Oracle behaved in such a manner that Google could reasonably expect they could copy the table of contents, chapter order and general concept of the chapter contents of the textbook - YES

In question 4B, the jury is asked if Sun/Oracle behaviour is the reason Google decided to copy the table contents, chapter order and general concept of the chapter contents of the textbook without buying a license - NO So it is very clear that if Judge Alsup decides (as a matter of law) that the table of contents, chapter order and general concept of the chapter contents of the textbook is not covered by copyright:
  • 1A (and 1B) become moot points
  • 3A is de-minimis (one ham sandwich)
  • 4A becomes a moot point
Now, Google wants a mistrial so they can get 1B and 4B turned into YES - Determination of fact, not law and by my understanding, pretty much appeal-proof. Even if judge Alsup rules that SSO is non-copyrightable, the verdict will bite Google if the Oracle appeal succeed - by then, calling a mistrial will be too late

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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