To create Android, which was released in 2007, Google wrote millions of lines of new computer code. It also used about 11,500 lines of code copyrighted as part of Oracle’s Java platform.
But the Supreme Court sided 6-2 with Google, describing the copying as “fair use.” The outcome is what most tech companies -- both large and small -- had been rooting for. Both Microsoft and IBM were among the industry heavyweights that had filed briefs backing Google in the case. They and others warned that ruling against the Mountain View, California-based company could have profound consequences, stifling innovation and upending software development.
Oracle had won backing from the movie and recording industries as well as publishers, which favor expansive copyright protections to protect their profits from books, articles, movies, TV shows and music. The Trump administration had also backed Oracle.
In his opinion for the court’s majority, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that Google “took only what was needed” and that “Google’s copying was transformative,” a word the court has used “to describe a copying use that adds something new and important.”
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