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Analysis: Android files likely to worsen Google's case

updated 09:50 pm EST, Fri January 21, 2011

Android Java file study hurts Google's chances

A dispute erupting over the legitimacy of claims that Google more directly copied Oracle code in Android may have been settled on Friday with a study. Following assertions that the files were just for testing and in some cases had already been deleted, Engadget's Nilay Patel argued that the technical issues were irrelevant and the files' very existence could make Google liable. Even if removed from the current code tree, inserted automatically or absent from current phones, the attempts to change the licenses may have violated Oracle's copyrights.

"Somewhere along the line, Google took Oracle's code, replaced the GPL [licensing] language with the incompatible Apache Open Source License, and distributed the code under that license publicly," Patel said. "That's all it takes -- if Google violated the GPL by changing the license, it also infringed Oracle's underlying copyright."

Even outside of the contested code, Oracle has already pointed to more direct examples that it contended were direct copies of the Java technology it owns following the Sun buyout. Google has accused Oracle of misrepresenting code to artificially strengthen its lawsuit, but the discoveries on Friday of raw details could leave it with few defenses.

Oracle in its lawsuit against Google has been pushing for royalties from every Android phone shipped and could significantly hike the prices of each unit sold. The findings could also damage Google's reputation if it's thought to have created its open-source code by using material without permission.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    bad, but I need to hear more

    Oracle may not make any argument based on a GPL license, and in the end, a court case is going to be based on the arguments.

    So, this analysis, is a bit off base - it really needs to be based on Oracle's case.

    I like GPL too, but its not been tested in court.

  1. patrix

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Well like this article says at the end..

    MacNN should do fact-checking instead of just copy-pasting c*** from all over the Internet!

    "Sadly, while sensational articles like Engadget’s and Mueller’s will get splashed all over the web and lavished with thousands of views and hundreds of comments, the boring truth will rate no such attention."

  1. Lifeisabeach

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Patrix, you misunderstand.

    From the get-go, this article states that there is a dispute over the legitimacy of the more recent accusations that Google copied more code. The article you linked to, while not directly referenced, IS part of that dispute. This article is going the next step and saying that the people arguing against it, for the reasons outlined in the article you referenced, may be wrong in their analysis.

  1. Lifeisabeach

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Does Google not have a creative bone in their orga

    Some time ago, I read an interesting analysis of VP8 (the video codec used in WebM) by a developer who found quite a bit of code that obviously was copy/pasted from H264. Now it looks like they have been doing the same thing with Android? Hello? Google? "Open source" doesn't mean "let's steal this other stuff and give it away for free"!

  1. Sebastien

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Proves Google *is* evil

    After all, why else would they claim they're not if they didn't have a feeling of guilt in the first place ;)

  1. write_thesis

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    quite an informative blog post. thanks so much

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