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Jury May Be Deadlocked In Oracle-Google Trial

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the 12-angry-iphone-users dept.

Android 110

angry tapir writes "The jury may have reached a deadlock in the copyright phase of Oracle's intellectual property lawsuit against Google, although the judge cautioned against jumping to any conclusions. 'What happens if we can't reach a unanimous decision and people are not budging?' one of the jurors asked in a written note sent to the judge. The 12 jurors have been deliberating the copyright phase of Oracle's lawsuit against Google since Monday, and they need to be unanimous in any verdict they reach." According to Groklaw, Judge Alsup raised the possibility of a partial verdict — accepting the issues the jury can agree on and then retrying the rest. Google was less amenable to that than Oracle. Update: 05/04 21:05 GMT by S : The jury has reached a verdict on all claims but one. However, the judge sent them home for the weekend. On Monday they'll vote again and see if they can resolve the last claim.

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What a waste on money (5, Insightful)

tebee (1280900) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894251)

I can't help feeling this whole thing has be a gigantic waste of time and money

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894303)

Copyright lawsuits are a gigantic waste of time and money? The hell you say!

Re:What a waste on money (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894361)

Blame Oracle.

They're the assholes who bought the software with the belief that they could take away something that was once freely given, and ruin a nice thing for lots of people.

Re:What a waste on money (1)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894539)

Blame our shitty patent system. Oracle is just doing what any rational actor would do in a system where being "nice" has practically zero reward, and where anybody can shut you down and steal your money at any time. When defense is not possible, you must attack first.

That doesn't make Oracle any less shitty, and we certainly shouldn't forgive them for their actions, but they're a sociopathic institution, and yelling at them about it will have just as much effect as trying to make Ted Bundy feel guilty. It's futile. If you're looking to actually make the situation better instead of pointlessly laying blame, well, you need to fix the patent system. Anything else is less than temporary.

Re:What a waste on money (4, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894609)

Blame our shitty patent system.

This has absolutely nothing to do with patents.

--
BMO

Re:What a waste on money (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894773)

Blame our shitty patent system.

This has absolutely nothing to do with patents.

Not yet. Phase 2 of the trial is patents.

Re:What a waste on money (1)

Lisias (447563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39897967)

Phase 2 would not be a problem without the Phase 1 at the first place.

Re:What a waste on money (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894849)

Fine. Blame our shitty intellectual "property" system.

Re:What a waste on money (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894627)

This is now a copyright case. THe patents were ruled invalid in the case. THe case effects everyone in I.T. and Oracle is willing to ruin the whole industry so Elison can make a few billion more.

If the whole api and language is copyrighted on sytnax the whole world will change as everyone from car part manufactures to people who the phillips head can have 170 year monopolies and prevent anything from working together.

Re:What a waste on money (4, Insightful)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894883)

If the whole api and language is copyrighted on sytnax the whole world will change as everyone from car part manufactures to people who the phillips head can have 170 year monopolies and prevent anything from working together.

Not the whole world, the U.S. will drop back to somewhere around the stone age. The global rest will be somewhat relieved.

CC.

Re:What a waste on money (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895141)

Dvd Jon got arrested for breaking a us law in Norway. Trade laws and Nafta make this ignorant jury will determine your rights anywhere in the world.

This will make the fat cats much bigger and send everyone but China in the stone age. The fat cats will then use their money gained to lobby for new laws to prevent reform and ignore the electorate.

Re:What a waste on money (3, Informative)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#39897473)

Dvd Jon

Debatable, quote: "As stated, the prosecution did not appeal to the Norwegian Supreme Court, so the last ruling is seen as a resounding legal victory for the defendant. Norwegian consumer groups like Electronic Frontier Norway were delighted. Having been ethically convinced throughout of the legitimacy of their cause, they now have legal backing—at least in Norway. DVD-Jon and like-minded spirits, encouraged by the rulings, see themselves, and are seen, as crusaders of the open source movement." (http://informationr.net/ir/10-3/paper230.html)

send everyone but China in the stone age

Probably a then 'better' (not that I think China is an alternative to be preferred) model will find followers? Who wants stone-age money (which is virtual anyway by way of fractional banking, automated trading etc.)?

CC.

Re:What a waste on money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894901)

Assuming Oracle wins, people are expecting the copyright damages to be in the low seven digit range. This won't affect Google/Android's financials one bit, it's merely the principle of the thing.

Re:What a waste on money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39896045)

Damages is one thing; license (or the withholding thereof) for the future is another.

Re:What a waste on money (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894971)

Try to imagine all innovation as you know it stopping instantaneously and every copyright using on a prior copyright exploding at the speed of light.

I almost hope it happens and the resulting factorial of lawsuits 1) destroys oracle and bankrupts Ellison for being the greedy pricks that set off the MAD arms race that is the tech industry's "IP" and 2) shows the public how letting mickey mouse rape them for 170 years kills the "innovation" economy we are supposed to lead the world with on after we let all our manufacturing be off-shored. Since it's entirely built on a house of cards of dubious patents and pretend property and assets.

Re:What a waste on money (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39895713)

You need to read up on this some more before posting. Some of the patents were indeed ruled invalid. Not all of them. The case is running in multiple phases. The judge started with the Copyright part - where Oracle seems to think you can copyright an API. The jurors may be deadlocked on that because the judge instructed them to assume that you can copyright an API in their deliberations. The Patent phase will be coming directly after the Copyright phase ends.

Re:What a waste on money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894835)

Oracle is just doing what any rational actor would do in a system where being "nice" has practically zero reward, and where anybody can shut you down and steal your money at any time. When defense is not possible, you must attack first.

That's some funny rationality you have a claim on. If Oracle was "nice" and got zero reward, it seems like a "rationally" better outcome than sinking millions of dollars in lawyer fees and employee time wasted on legal compliance for a court case they are likely to lose.

Re:What a waste on money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894965)

How about I blame the patent system and encourage people who are influenced by my opinion to not buy Oracle. If enough people do that and let them know why I'll bet it will have an effect.

Re:What a waste on money (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39897165)

When just ONE department of the Canadian government is dropping over $10,000,000 a year on Oracle licences, products and support, what anyone of us can do by not buying Oracle products won't matter. Even worse is the department I work for is so badly tied in to the Oracle stack, we could never hope to get away from it. Don't get me wrong I dislike Oracle as much as anyone right now, but they care about large companies not individuals.

Re:What a waste on money (2)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895101)

Re:What a waste on money (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895155)

False alarm, they've been sent home at the hopes that a complete decision can be made after one more day of deliberation, e.g., Monday.

Re:What a waste on money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39895331)

trying to make Ted Bundy feel guilty

or Al Bundy to feel happy

Re:What a waste on money (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 2 years ago | (#39896741)

Oracle is just doing what any rational actor would do in a system where being "nice" has practically zero reward, and where anybody can shut you down and steal your money at any time. When defense is not possible, you must attack first.

Google is absolutely the last company you need to worry about bringing a flotilla of patent suits. It took a concerted effort by Microsoft and Apple to get Google to even start looking at patent portfolio purchases (c'est la vie Motorolla, we knew ye well, but now you're worthless except for the sweet IPs). Oracle wanted to take a chunk out of google . . . period.

Re:What a waste on money (1)

Lisias (447563) | more than 2 years ago | (#39897961)

[troll mode on]
Blame SCO Group.

Good old times. I miss that naïveness...
[troll mode off]

We missed the chance to avoid all this mess at that time. We should had ripped off the pants of the SCO for damages, and encouraged the "shareloosers" to sue the management for mischief.

Re:What a waste on money (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894407)

gigantic waste of time and money

When's the last time you saw a copyright lawsuit that wasn't?

Re:What a waste on money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894531)

gigantic waste of time and money

When's the last time you saw a copyright lawsuit that wasn't?

Every time the plaintiff was on our side. Duh.

Re:What a waste on money (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894561)

Stacker vs Microsoft.

Re:What a waste on money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894845)

That was patents.

Re:What a waste on money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894419)

Welcome to america. You must be new here.

That's not 'wasting money'... That's 'job creation'.

This should not have gone to judge and jury (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894739)

Whether APis are copyrightable is a matter for professional bodies in computing to consider, such as the ACM and IEEE, not judges nor politicians. It's a technical matter.

And if this technical matter were decided at the professional body level, then this entire farce would have been avoided, because professionals in the discipline would not be stupid enough to deny interoperability by making APIs copyrightable.

Neither the judge nor (even less) the jury have the skill and background to make a sound decision in this area.

Re:This should not have gone to judge and jury (4, Insightful)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895337)

Whether APis are copyrightable is a matter for professional bodies in computing to consider, such as the ACM and IEEE, not judges nor politicians. It's a technical matter.

And if this technical matter were decided at the professional body level, then this entire farce would have been avoided, because professionals in the discipline would not be stupid enough to deny interoperability by making APIs copyrightable.

Neither the judge nor (even less) the jury have the skill and background to make a sound decision in this area.

Normally I ignore AC's but in this case you hit the nail completely on the head.

This is ta big problem facing our society now: that juries made up of laymen or judges are expect to rule on things they have no clue about and the time taken to educate them is simply unfeasible.

I have been developing software professionally for a decade or so (3 decades if you count when I first learnt basic) and I still have a great deal to learn. I would still have to sit down and draw on much of my experience when it came to deciding this case. I do not see how someone who has just completed coding 101 could really understand the full implications of their decision, let alone someone who has not even got that far.

I also do not think that a sensible decision is that likely if the jury are only able to base it on which witness the sound of liked better.

It would be like basing who runs a country based on a some sort of popularity contest. Oh crap, we actually do that as well :(

Re:This should not have gone to judge and jury (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895511)

So, you can make that argument about pretty much everything. Judges and juries don't understand programming, material sciences, biological sciences, physics, chemistry, electronics, avionics, Bernoulli's principle and pretty much anything beyond lunch time.

That's what experts are for. The bigger problem is that legislators don't understand that stuff either so they make batshit stupid laws. Don't know how you're going to get around that except perhaps nuke the place back into the 16th Century.

It's the only way to be sure.

Re:This should not have gone to judge and jury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39899087)

The problem you seem to have, apparently, is that judges and juries do it properly.

It's not the jury's job to question the evidence that has, you know, been accepted as evidence.

Does company X have a copyright on something?Did company Y use it without following the terms and conditions, thus violating copyright? If so, they are guilty. If not, they are innocent.

Once company Y fails to defend they did not violate the copyright(s) of company X, company Y is guilty.

No need to educate about anything, it's yes or no, black or white, no gray area exists. If the jury instructions tell them to deliberate a certain way, they must do it.

I am starting to think that the deeper issue is that many FOSS advocates want companies to invest their time and effort into something, without having to pay for the product. Then someone doesn't want to abide by the terms and conditions, the trend is to consider company X evil for their defense of the copyrights, to force them to open it up, open it up, open it up.

Might that suggest that at least some FOSS folks don't want to do any real R&D work, just let the corporations spend all the time and effort, then someone ends up violating the copyright to force it to be opened up for free, free, free?

Get used to abiding by license agreements, folks. Even just one Java installation requires accepting the EULA, which includes the license agreement. So if someone installed Java? They accepted the terms and conditions of the end user license.

Re:This should not have gone to judge and jury (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39895473)

Copyright is not a matter of social or industry benefit, it's a matter of law. Thus, it's a matter for judges (and juries) to determine if APIs are copyrightable under current law, and for Congress to decide if they should be and, since they obviously shouldn't, to fix the law they are (or if the law is sufficiently unclear that judges end up misunderstanding it to that effect).

We separate legislative and judicial powers for a reason, and you seem to be confusing what should be legal (legislative power) with determining what is legal (judicial power). Perhaps the argument you meant to make is that industry bodies, rather than Congress, should make copyright law, but that already happened, with the Mickey Mouse industry, and I thought most of us on /. were not pleased with the results?

Re:This should not have gone to judge and jury (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39897763)

Copyright is not a matter of social or industry benefit, it's a matter of law.

From which it logically follows that law is not a matter of social or industry benefit.

Re:This should not have gone to judge and jury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39898553)

Law is, or at least is intended to be, a layer of indirection over some notion of social benefit, on the basis that judges (or, as GGP suggested, industry bodies, or who the hell ever) can't directly apply a principle of social benefit or justice with an appropriate degree of consistency.

Re:What a waste on money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39896895)

I can't help feeling this whole thing has be a gigantic waste of time and money

I agree. If google hadn't broken the law in the first place none of this would be a problem right now.

Re:What a waste on money (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | more than 2 years ago | (#39897569)

don't hate the players; hate the game.

Nobody give a... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894255)

Screw US' pathetic legal "system"...
The World couldn't care less...

They should've.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894333)

They should've invested their litigation money on penguin burgers. That certainly has a better chance of bettering humanity than copyright lawsuits. And look at McDonalds, just think of the money to be made.

Madness (2)

evafan76 (2527608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894369)

If this case isn't proof that the US Patent and Copyright System need reforming, I don't know what is...

Re:Madness (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894417)

Sterilize all newborn nigglets so we don't have to suffer the whining from niggers about Popeyes runnng out of chicken buckets. [youtube.com]

Re:Madness (1)

jesseck (942036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894427)

This is not proof that the patent and copyright systems need reform... This is proof our justice system works. That's how I would spin it.

Re:Madness (1)

matunos (1587263) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894671)

...for billion-dollar companies.

Why even? (-1, Troll)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894387)

This wouldn't be an issue if there were an odd number of jurors.

Re:Why even? (4, Informative)

ntsucks (22132) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894433)

Unanimous means all jurors, not a majority.

Re:Why even? (1, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894893)

Well if there were an odd number of jurors, and we made them fight to the death in a pit with improvised weapons, then the winner would be unanimous.

Re:Why even? (1)

LostOne (51301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895135)

You do realize that it is conceivable that the last two combatants could kill each other or the survivor might not live long enough to issue a verdict? And odd or even, if you have to fight until there is only one left standing, you have the same potential problem.

Re:Why even? (1)

Fned (43219) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895483)

You do realize that it is conceivable that the last two combatants could kill each other or the survivor might not live long enough to issue a verdict?

Just replace "hung jury" with "exsanguinated jury."

Re:Why even? (2)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 2 years ago | (#39896753)

I offer to serve on this jury as tribute!!

Re:Why even? (1)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895869)

Doh, make them write their verdict on a piece of paper before fighting. And if they both die, just rinse and repeat, bring 12 more and have them fight too. Pane et circem with actual results. Everybody wins.

Better yet, have 6 people from one company fight 6 people from the other company fight to the death. Likely, you'll see a severe reduction of trials fairly soon.

Re:Why even? (1)

LostOne (51301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895995)

Not only would you see a reduction in trials but you would have an immensely popular sporting event....

Re:Why even? (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 2 years ago | (#39896171)

Maybe there would be a reduction in the length of trials, but surely there would be an increase in the number.

Re:Why even? (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 2 years ago | (#39896301)

Ellison vs Page + Brin...

Round One, FIGHT!

Re:Why even? (1)

DarkTempes (822722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39896489)

More likely you'd see companies hiring and training gladiator teams and the companies with the best and most popular teams (read: most money) would go about decimating all competition.

And nothing changes.

Re:Why even? (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39897233)

You do realize that it is conceivable that the last two combatants could kill each other or the survivor might not live long enough to issue a verdict? And odd or even, if you have to fight until there is only one left standing, you have the same potential problem.

Not if you implement your combat system to fit the requirements. Serialize all attacks (they never happen simultaneously), and make delivering a deathblow and delivering a verdict be a single atomic operation. That way, if someone dies while delivering the verdict, the deathblow is rolled back and their previous opponent becomes alive again.

Re:Why even? (1)

noh8rz3 (2593935) | more than 2 years ago | (#39897677)

or if we removed a juror to make the pool have an odd number, and the juror we removed happened to be the one that was holding out... then the issue would be solved.

Re:Why even? (1)

Motard (1553251) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894449)

It doesn''t matter. The verdict must be unanimous.

Re:Why even? (0)

findoutmoretoday (1475299) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894605)

An unanimous jury, how do they do that? Elsewhere we vote , 6-6 you're free, 8-4 you hang, 7-5 the judges give a decisive vote.

Re:Why even? (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894983)

In my experience on a criminal jury, we went back to the deliberation room, talked it over for an hour or two, all agreed on a clear answer (we had the victim's testimony, and enough other evidence to convict even without the victim's testimony), and walked out with a verdict. Granted, it was an easy case to decide, but the system worked quite well.

The rules for criminal trials in the US are typically: 12-0 you hang, 0-12 you're free, anything else is a mistrial which means you go free for now but the government can try again if they want to. The assumption (popularized in films like Twelve Angry Men) is that if 1 juror has a doubt, it's better to let the suspect go free than wrongly convict somebody.

Re:Why even? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39895339)

The rules for criminal trials in the US are typically: 12-0 you hang, 0-12 you're free, anything else is a mistrial which means you go free for now but the government can try again if they want to. The assumption (popularized in films like Twelve Angry Men) is that if 1 juror has a doubt, it's better to let the suspect go free than wrongly convict somebody.

The relevant assumption is actually that jurors are reasonable, and that if one of them has a reasonable doubt, when he explains it slowly and in words of few syllables, the others will agree. Conversely, if he raises an unreasonable doubt (e.g. one fueled by racism, alien conspiracy theories, and the like), the other 11 should be able to make him listen to reason. In fact, it turns out not all humans are reasonable, and the voir dire process doesn't select in favor of reasonability, so... life sucks, watchagonnado?

Of course, the criminal standard for proof being beyond reasonable doubt, rather than the more equitable standard in civil cases, is about the notion it's better to let a guilty man go than to convict an innocent.

Re:Why even? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39896223)

>The assumption (popularized in films like Twelve Angry Men) is that if 1 juror has a doubt, it's better to let the suspect go free than wrongly convict somebody.

Because sometimes that one is actually thinking and notices things the rest just go along. Twelve Angry Men really points that out. As everyone, but one said guilty from go without considering the evidence.

Re:Why even? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894453)

This wouldn't be an issue if there were an odd number of jurors.

Except that the jury's decision must be unanimous.

Re:Why even? (2)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894545)

civics fail

Re:Why even? (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39898715)

Perhaps he's not an American. There are other countries where jury trial is decided by majority.

Re:Why even? (1)

matunos (1587263) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894643)

Specifically if there were one juror.

Judge may have confused them (4, Informative)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894673)

The judge declined to decide in advance whether the APIs are copyrightable at all, but has reserved that decision to himself. In the interest of judicial economy, in the face of an almost certain appeal--no matter which side wins--the judge decided to instruct the jury to assume the worst case: that the APIs are copyrightable, and can be infringed. That way, if the appeal overturns a point of law, the issues of fact won't need to be retried. No need for a new jury. Unfortunately, this may have given the jury the idea that Google was definitely guilty of something.

Note that all existing precedent is against the notion that APIs are copyrightable. And that even before the recent EU decision (which the judge has asked the parties to brief him on). Oracle's argument for why their/em API should be considered special basically boils down to "it was hard!" But the SCOTUS recently reaffirmed that "sweat of the brow" is not a valid argument for copyrightability.

Re:Judge may have confused them (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894801)

And we then have the case where if Judge Alsup's ruling gets overturned, then Google has an appeal based on improper jury instructions.

If you cannot reach a unanimous decision... (1)

ZaDeaux (647798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894733)

..break out your Initech Jump to Conclusions Mat.

Re:If you cannot reach a unanimous decision... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894851)

somebody stole my stapler

Re:If you cannot reach a unanimous decision... (1)

ZaDeaux (647798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894911)

Oracle should have filed more TPS reports

Re:If you cannot reach a unanimous decision... (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895131)

not sure why but i feel i should post something here........

expected (2)

FunkyELF (609131) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894805)

You had the previous 2 CEO's of Sun contradicting each other and the current Oracle CEO not able to give a yes or not answer to "Is Java free".

How are 12 Joe-Six-Pack's supposed to come up with a yes or no answer to something explained to them through car analogies?

Re:expected (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894871)

Not to mention a jury selection process that has ensured that there is absolutely no one on the jury with any industry experience capable of making an informed decision, under the veil of "Bias".

Re:expected (2)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 2 years ago | (#39896111)

People say that, but judges don't really allow that, and sometimes they allow very few (or none) to be kicked off without cause (though generally it's a couple each side, out of a pool of 100).

They real skew is that for trials over 3 weeks, judges allow pretty much anyone not employed by the government, or a large company to say, can't do it. You end up with mostly unemployed people, and retirees. With the economic condition as it is though, there tends to be some engineers in the pool even after the hardship dismissals. Often times the judge will ask the lawyers to use their freebies to get the hardships dismissed.

Judges do not like to dismiss educated people, and usually trust them when they say they can be unbiased (to the dismay of lawyers).

Re:expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39896095)

I wouldn't put too much credit in the ability of a CEO (or anyone, even lawyers) to understand the copyright law as it pertains to this situation. At least the Jurors would be less biased than a CEO.

Re:expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39897011)

Free or not Java still blows goat balls.

I bet there is an iPhone in there (-1, Flamebait)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39894855)

All it takes is one Apple Fanboi to screw the whole thing up!

Re:I bet there is an iPhone in there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39895535)

You forgot to post your drivel as an AC

Re:I bet there is an iPhone in there (0)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895727)

You forgot to post your drivel as an AC

Relax, Sparky, it was a joke. No reason to get MacPanties in a iWad over it.

See, the joke is that Apple fanbois hate all nonApple products and want to destroy all companies other than Apple so we are all forced to use Apple products and world will be a better place.

I hate it when I have to explain a joke, especially when it seems that everyone else got it.

Re:I bet there is an iPhone in there (-1, Troll)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39896163)

You are just such a complete moron it's scary.

Please do the world a favour and never communicate again.

shi?t? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39895105)

Copyright Misinformation (4, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895233)

I have been following the trial closely through Groklaw and have observed many interesting things about the progress of this case. Oracle's case has been rather nebulous from the beginning and rather reminds me of the SCO vs. IBM case in many ways including the question of whether or not they actually have the right to sue. Oracle has changed its position several times on several issues from the beginning of this case. In one instance, Oracle agreed to drop one of its claims associated with a patent which was under appeal at the USPTO. It had been rejected recently after it was re-examined. And since the case was still going to trial on schedule, Oracle agreed to drop its claim associated with that patent. But after the trial started, the USPTO approved the patent appeal and then Oracle sought to reinstate its claims against Google for the patent it had agree to drop. In my opinion, it just goes to show Oracle's understanding of what "agreement" means. They already agreed to drop the patent issue. The judge accepted the agreement and wrote "...it is so ordered." DONE is DONE. Oracle may have felt "it won't hurt to ask will it?" Well, yeah, it might... and it did. The judge was annoyed as having to remind Oracle of its agreement and denied its request.

During the copyright phase of the trial, Oracle was pretty "confusing" when it came to its assertions about what is copyrightable. Even people who might be inclined to side with Oracle and knows a bit about copyright law would likely have been astounded at some of their claims. Nevertheless, they made their assertions which were countered by Google. But the thing is, some people are always inclined to err on the side of the plaintiff when they don't understand something or if they believed what Oracle said and simply shut out what Google had to offer as a counter. (This is typical in cases of "belief.")

And the judge already saw this happening even while the trial was in progress. Immediately after the jury went off to decide how to rule, the judge set about trying to manage how a hung jury would be handled or mitigated. He did NOT waste any time on the matter. And this well-timed ruling by an EU court lead to the judge asking questions of Google and Oracle on the matter as the question was rather relevant to the Oracle v Google case.

But Oracle's misinformation isn't limited to asserting what is copyrightable, what portions are copyrightable and all that (and it turns out that Google contributed to Java's code!! How interesting that Google can contribute code to Java and then get sued for it!) it turns out that Sun's CEO blogs were characterized as "unofficial." This claim, of course, is in sharp contrast the the SEC filings Sun had presented in the past. So the blog WAS, in fact, official in function and content. (It's probably not perjury though...Oracle simply didn't know... maybe...)

Google has played their side pretty openly. They didn't hide anything in their case and remained rather consistent in their defence and restated their case consistently throughout. Oracle, on the other hand continues to be elusive and imprecise with their case. Their case had crumbled significantly during pretrial motions and have tested the patience of the judge on numerous occasions. Meanwhile, Google remained cooperative and responsive to the judge and the case. (Seriously, Google wore an extremely white hat in all of this... I rather expected a bit of wriggling and resistance on Google's part, but I just didn't see it... so please, if anyone has an opinion to the contrary, visit Groklaw and show me an example of Google playing games with the legal system. I could be wrong, I just don't think so in this case.)

So any jury in a case of copyright infringement is already challenged by the likes of MPAA and RIAA cases. The jury most often wants to side with the plaintiff as we have seen in the past and grants ridiculously large and punitive awards. And we have seen the transcripts of these trials and the preposterous claims which are made. Juries buy some ridiculous crap when it's handed to them by plaintiff attorneys. And seriously, juries most often like to be able to rule "guilty" on anyone. Trial by jury is EXTREMELY risky and quite often represents the least "legal" judgement in the justice system. (Only use a jury unless you know beyond an unreasonable doubt that you are innocent.)

Anyway, the judge seems to have seen it all coming and has already started acting against it. The judge knows this is an important case and doesn't want to see a jury mucking it up... and neither do I.

Re:Copyright Misinformation (3, Interesting)

dcigary (221160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39896151)

...Oracle, on the other hand continues to be elusive and imprecise with their case....

This basically sums up my 20 years of experience with Oracle Salesmen.

The unspoken rule of thumb with Oracle sales is that there is no "list price" on anything. You price it for whatever you think you can sell it for.

This whole affair doesn't surprise me one bit that Oracle hired a team of lawyers that operate exactly like they do - get as much as you can get, and offer elusive and imprecise information during the negotiations.

Re:Copyright Misinformation (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 2 years ago | (#39898193)

jurys tend not to side with the riaa why they do this whole settlement scam. they lost more cases then they won. and the ones they did one they all but admitted they downloaded the songs.

What's wrong with this, IMO (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895333)

Instead of asking them to assume that the API was copyrighted as a factor in their decision, the jury should have simply been asked to come to a decision about whether Google copied the API or no. Whether it is copyrighted or not is superfluous to whether or not they copied it... it is only relevant to the issue of copyright infringement. Whether they copied it or not is superfluous to whether or not the API should be subject to copyright. Either way, it's a non-sequitor.

not true, copyright feeds into the decision (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39895913)

The question as to whether or not they copied the API is not at issue, Google has admitted to copying a subset of the API. The question the jury is deciding is whether or not this is fair use under copyright law, or whether it falls into the other areas where copying is allowed.

Re:not true, copyright feeds into the decision (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39897257)

If something is copyrighted, it's pretty hard to consider copying it 100% verbatim as "fair use"

Re:not true, copyright feeds into the decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39898419)

Well it's good that nothing remotely like that has been alleged or demonstrated. Troll harder.

Re:not true, copyright feeds into the decision (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39898921)

Not trolling... just saying the truth. Google copied the Java API. They apparently even admit as such.

The amount of copying that they did, IMO, would be well beyond any allowance of fair use, were copyright applicable. I don't think that copyright should be applicable to a language API, however.

Re:not true, copyright feeds into the decision (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39898711)

Google has admitted to copying a subset of the API

More like, "has never denied". "Admitted" makes it sound like they were forced to reveal it; on the contrary, they copied it openly, publicly, and were praised by Sun for doing so. Until Sun got bought and the new owners decided they wanted to retroactively change the rules (shades of SCO).

Vote for Oracle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39895813)

Just to screw the entire tech industry, I know if I was on the Jury I would vote in favour of Oracle just for that reason alone :)

Re:Vote for Oracle (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 2 years ago | (#39898219)

dunno im not there and don't have all the facts.

those jurors have a tough job (2)

ffflala (793437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39897025)

I don't envy that jury at all. Google is claiming "fair use", which is really a difficult, and nebulous concept. Hell, it's a rough subject for law school students to grasp in copyright courses.

At first look, fair use doesn't seem that difficult. US Copyright law identifies four factors to be used to determine whether an infringement is excused as "fair use":

1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

Problems: each of those factors already starts out as a vague kind of grey area, and while some examples are provided in the legislative history, none of those is further defined in the statute. On top of that, there's a rather large amount of case law focusing on what each of the four factors really means in any given context.

While it's easy enough to armchair lawyer yourself and just blow through a fair use analysis, that's simply not how it works at trial. Determining whether or not it's fair use when there is already solid precedent for your context is tough enough -- making that decision on a novel concept is just a motherfucking bear.

Those jurors have an easier job than you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39897733)

You're making this too complicated.

One thing they could do is blow off the judge's instructions to assume APIs are copyrightable. They don't have to play along with the jury-tampering. Just decide Oracle or Google based on whether or not they think infringement happened.

Also, juries don't need to read case law. All precedent is irrelevant. I think even the 'four factors' aren't in any statue?

Re:Those jurors have an easier job than you think (1)

ffflala (793437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39897875)

Keep this in mind:

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. --H. L. Mencken.

Your response is just what I meant by "armchair lawyering." I'm not making it complicated; the fair use defense is complicated. Copyright law in general is complicated.

While jury nullification (here in the more limited sense of disregarding jury instructions) might sound like it would be an easy hack, it's exactly the kind of shortcut that works only from the armchair. If they were to do as you suggest, the judge could (and probably would, since it would so clear that they disregarded the instructions) issue a "judgment notwithstanding the verdict" -- IOW, the judge has the discretion to ismiss the verdict of the jurors.

Case law and precedent is relevant b/c it is how the judge needs to present the concept of the four prong analysis of fair use. And yes the four factors are in the copyright statute, at 17 USC sec. 107.

Re:Those jurors have an easier job than you think (0)

luther349 (645380) | more than 2 years ago | (#39898261)

they can disregard anything they like its not there job to be the judge of the law. its to judge the facts and the recent facts are api are not copyright in the eu. and all of the api google used was gpl code. im sorry but the judge is way off base hear not that it matters how this goes anyways we all know its going to appeals.

Re:Those jurors have an easier job than you think (1)

ffflala (793437) | more than 2 years ago | (#39899631)

Judge Alsup is in fact very much correct. Like I said, it's not simple. Fair use is a defense that excuses actions that would otherwise be a violation of copyright.

By car analogy: a car running a red light is breaking a traffic law, but if that car is an emergency vehicle with its lights on, while it's still technically breaking that traffic law in a sense, it's not a civil offense. The judge is just asking them to start out by first deciding if it was an emergency vehicle. Later the jury will decide if the car even ran a red light in the first place.

Google has at least two avenues to win: (1) it was a violation, but since it was fair use it's completely excused (emergency vehicle running the light), or (2) it wasn't even copyright violation in the first place (didn't even run the light.)

How is a jury supposed to decide this? (4, Insightful)

Beeftopia (1846720) | more than 2 years ago | (#39898773)

You have two multibillion dollar companies hiring the best lawyers money can buy, both arguing complex legal and technical issues. And a group of yokels you picked at random off the street - a group that can afford to sit through a long trial - is supposed to correctly decide the case on its merits?

I think the jury system, while laudable in its intent, is terribly flawed.

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