The Open Source Initiative is proud to join OSI affiliate members Creative Commons, Mozilla Foundation, Software Freedom Conservancy, and Wikimedia Foundation along with other small, medium and open source technology organizations in filing an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the Google v. Oracle case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
In Google v. Oracle, Oracle successfully convinced the appeals court that Google’s reuse of a limited number of Java declarations in its creation of the Android operating system is a copyright infringement and that a jury finding it fair use was mistaken. The brief asks that the Court reverse this decision and confirm that, as has been the common understanding for decades, API interfaces are not copyrightable and that their reuse by others is a fair use under copyright law.
OSI believes that this case is critical to the future of open source software. Allowing the appeals court’s decision to stand will allow proprietary companies to create expansive walled gardens where, not only their own programs but any program that interfaces with them, will have to be licensed under the company’s proprietary license, at their pleasure. OSI believes this outcome will give an unfair advantage to incumbent industry players and prevent the development of new markets and new technologies at a time when software is fundamental to the distribution of knowledge, free and fair elections, serving the underprivileged, providing healthcare, and the world economy in general.
Thus far a remarkable 28 amicus curiae briefs have been filed, 26 in favor of the petitioner and 2 in favor of neither party. The briefs of those supporting Oracle are due by February 19, 2020.
Please note, petitioner Google, Inc. is a current sponsor of the Open Source Initiative. Sun Microsystems, acquired by Oracle Corporation in 2010 and now the respondent Oracle America Inc., is a former OSI sponsor.