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May 07, 2012

Oracle v. Google: Partial Verdict?

By Julie Griffin, Contributing Writer

After more than 25 hours of deliberation over the Google (News - Alert) v. Oracle case, the jury was dismissed Friday and encouraged to take the weekend to decide on the last of the four questions.

The jury was unanimous in answering all questions expect for one, and if they cannot reach an agreement today after reconvening in the San Francisco courthouse at 8 this morning, the judge will take the partial verdict and move onto phase two.

Until a verdict is reached, an answer to the remaining question is unknown. Many familiar with the trial believe the partial verdict will have an impact over the future of cloud computing.

Oracle (News - Alert) is accusing Google of breaching copyrights for using their version of Java script as APIs in their Android platform.

“If APIs can be copy-protected, that would be incredibly destructive to the internet as a whole for so many different reasons,” George Reese, CEO at eStratus Networks, told Wired. “But with respect to cloud, in particular, it would put any company that has implemented the Amazon APIs at risk unless they have some kind of agreement with Amazon on those APIs.”

A European court has ruled that APIs cannot be copyright protected, and U.S. District Judge William Alsup, the judge in the Oracle-Google case has given both parties until May 14th to write proposals on how the European decision should affect the case in the U.S.

Among the many reasons copyrighting APIs will affect cloud services is that copyrights can last up to 20 years. Amazon is a company that many have wanted to base their APIs off of, so many people are eager to hear what Amazon’s stance is in this situation.

Unfortunately, the company has refrained on commenting on this issue. Joyent’s CEO, Jason Hoffman (News - Alert) states, “No one actually knows outside of Amazon what their attitude is toward the stewardship of their APIs and what people can do with them.”

Edited by Braden Becker
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