Google Should Google What ‘Fair Use’ Actually Means
I just engaged in said Web search. (Though not using Google’s nigh-monopoly search engine, I’d like to point out.)
“(In US copyright law) the doctrine that brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder.”
“Fair use” - is me briefly excerpting from someone else’s writing to criticize it in my writing. Or report news, teach or issue reports about it in my writing.
As I am currently doing with this excerpted legal definition of “fair use.”
“Fair use” should exist almost solely in the realm of the written word. Because that’s the only realm in which it makes any real, consistent sense.
“Fair use” absolutely should not be applied to the realm of computer code. Because it is absurd to attempt to apply it to computer code.
You can not engage in criticism, news reporting, teaching or research - using lines of computer code. The notion is patently absurd.
Enter the King of Absurd - Google.
It is important to rightly define “fair use” - because it is this excuse Google is giving for stealing Java programming code from Oracle to build its Android operating system.
This copyright lawsuit - Google v. Oracle America - has now made its way to the Supreme Court. Where the Court will decide whether or not to overturn a lower court ruling - that said Google’s “fair use” claim is absurd.
That lower court ruled Google’s claim absurd - only because it is:
“A company is about to introduce an innovative new smartphone and is engaged in negotiations to license a software platform for the new mobile devices.
"But the licensing negotiations fail, and the smartphone is about to go to market.
“If you’re Google, you include Oracle’s Java software platform in your Android phones without a license, and when you’re sued for copyright infringement, claim ‘fair use.’”
We’ve said this many times before:
Google engaging in negotiations to license Oracle’s Java - means Google knew they need to license Google’s Java.
Failed negotiations to license - doesn’t abrogate Google’s need to license.
So Google did what Google almost always does….
Steal first - and force you to sue later.
Google’s last second “fair use” claim - is, in fact, absurd.
Again, the legal definition states:
“(B)rief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research….”
Was what Google stole - “brief” in nature? Of course not.
Google stole 11,500 lines of Oracle's Java code. To call 11,500 of anything “brief,” or “small” - or any other diminutive adjective - is absurd.
Was what Google stole - used for “criticism, news reporting, teaching,…(or) research?” Of course not.
Because you can’t use computer code to do any of those things.
Google used Oracle’s Java - to make what became the world’s most used mobile operating system.
Google is using Oracle’s Java - to make money.
Of course, Google making about a trillion dollars off of Android - is perfectly fine.
But Google doing so - while using 11,500 lines of Oracle’s code for which Google never received a license - ain’t all that fine.
This isn’t “fair use” - it’s grand larceny.
This first appeared in Red State.