How Not to Copy: What is Fair and What is Fair Use?
These issues of fairness and fair use are played out in the recent Oracle v. Google decision. In a convoluted case that has gone up to the Supreme Court once and will again, the Federal Circuit finally was able to make a ruling that the blatant, verbatim copying of computer code is not a fair use. At issue were the copying of 37 Oracle programs or apps, constituting over 11,500 lines of code, by Google for their use in the Android operating system for smart phones and other uses… In the Federal Circuit’s final analysis of the four factors, they again noted that Google could have written their own code or properly licensed with Oracle, but instead chose to copy. “There is nothing fair about taking a copyrighted work verbatim and using it for the same purpose and function as the original in a competing platform.” Accordingly, the Federal Circuit held that Google’s use of the Oracle code was not a fair use.