An illuminated Google logo is seen inside an office building in Zurich, Switzerland December 5, 2018.
Arnd Wiegmann | Reuters
The Supreme Court on Monday sided with Google against Oracle in a long-running copyright dispute over the software used in Android, the mobile operating system.
The court’s decision was 6-2. Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not participate in the case.
The case concerned about 12,000 lines of code that Google used to build Android that were copied from the Java application programming interface developed by Sun Microsystems, which Oracle acquired in 2010.
Oracle sued Google over the use of its code and won its case twice before the specialized U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The Supreme Court reversed the appeals court’s decision.
Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote the majority opinion in the case, reasoned that Google’s use of the code was protected under the copyright doctrine of fair use.
“We reach the conclusion that in this case, where Google reimplemented a user interface, taking only what was needed to allow users to put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program, Google’s copying of the Sun Java API was a fair use of that material as a matter of law,” Breyer wrote.
Breyer was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.
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