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Google’s use of Java code was fair use, SCOTUS rules in Oracle copyright battle

April 5, 2021

Google did not violate copyright law when it copied a portion of Java programming language for use in its Android platform for smartphones, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in a 6-2 decision.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote the majority opinion holding that Google’s use of the code was fair use.

Google copied about 11,500 lines of code, out of 2.86 million lines, from the Java SE program owned by Oracle America Inc.’s predecessor, Sun Microsystems. About a hundred Google engineers then worked for more than three years to create the company’s Android platform software.

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