More of Google's disrespect for property rights: Android using Java code

I have note many times about Google's lack of respect for property rights, but it seems that Google is in more trouble now regarding its Android operating system.
"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. . . .

UPDATE: Even those defending Google seen to concede an important point here. Take this defense from a non-lawyer at ZDNET (thanks to Chris Graue for this link).

Sun published those files on its web site to help developers debug and test their own code. For some reason, the Android or Harmony developer who was using them decompiled and rebuilt them instead of just using the ones from Sun. Later an Apache license got incorrectly pasted to the top of the files, perhaps by some automated script. The solution to this earth shattering conspiracy? Replace them with the original files from Sun which have the correct comments. Or just delete them. . . .



Blogger Rob K said...

I think there's a whole lot more going on here than you understand and I think you're way off base. Have you read the GPL and do you understand what it does? Have you read the Apache license? Google gains nothing at all by replacing the license, and Oracle's damages are exactly nothing. Sun was giving these files away for free and none of these files were even used in the Android OS.

As a working programmer, I can think of several ways the headers could have been replaced in a perfectly honest mistake.

Aside from the mistaken header replacement, Google is in compliance with the terms of the GPL.

It's saber rattling on Oracles' part. They don't have a real case and they know it. Larry Ellison probably wants something else from Google and he's using this as leverage. Ellison's probably trying to scare people away from forking Java in an attempt to reclose it so he can charge for it, but it won't work. Sun GPL'd Java and that's that. He's closing the barn door after the cow got out. Ten years from now, I doubt there will be a single Java implementation still using any of Sun's original source. Ellison's behavior is the sort of thing that makes programmers mad and motivates them to do pure clean room implementations that are better than what they're replacing just out of spite.

1/23/2011 2:52 AM  

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