The Supreme Court justices discussed on Wednesday, Oct. 7, possible solutions to the lawsuit that has been unresolved for years by Oracle against Google, claiming copyright in the creation of the Android operating system. 

According to the Associated Press, on Wednesday the highest court heard arguments on Google’s appeal of a lower court ruling that reopened the lawsuit in which Oracle sought at least $8 billion for copyright. 

The arguments were heard and discussed among the justices by teleconference due to the CCP Virus (coronavirus) pandemic, in a court that is downsized due to the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last month, until the Senate confirms Judge Amy Coney Barrett nominated by President Trump.

History of the conflict

The demand in question made by Oracle, is for the creation of the Android operating system that today is used in the vast majority of smartphone devices in the world. 

Google, to create Android in 2007, wrote thousands of lines in computer source code. According to accusations 11,300 of these lines of code belong to Oracle’s Java platform. 

Google, although it admits the use of those 11,300 lines, has always defended its actions arguing that what it did is a common and ingrained practice in the software industry, also emphasizing that the practice has been beneficial for technical progress worldwide.

On its side, Oracle, says that Google committed an atrocious act of plagiarism and sued the giant looking for compensation of more than $8 billion plus.

Oracle also claims that the more than 11,000 lines of code that Google used without its permission, infringed its copyright because the code system should be understood as a protected form of “expression,” similar to a literary work. 

Joshua Rosenkranz, who defended Oracle’s case, said a ruling in favor of Google would “decimate the incentive” for developers to create high-quality code. “That will hurt app developers and the industry in the long run, because who will invest the excruciating time it takes to refine code from the passable to the masterful if all of it can be stolen?” said Rosenkranz, as reported by The Hill.

The resolution of the unprecedented case raised by Oracle will undoubtedly be a historic milestone that will mark a before and after in the industry. Dozens of outside reports in Silicon Valley, opinions from intellectual property experts and others interested in how the court should resolve a dispute that will fundamentally reshape the legal and production forms of the technology industry, were generated by the controversial issue.

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