If you can ignore the protesters who, to be fair to them, probably don’t know what the U.S. Supreme Court actually does, you’ll see that the copyright battle of the century has at last landed on its doorstep.
It’s the long-awaited Google v. Oracle, wherein the latter accused the former of stealing 11,500 lines of code from its celebrated Java program to develop the Android OS.
Sun Microsystems (acquired by Oracle in 2010) agreed to grant Google a three-year license to its code for a total of $100 million, according to the lawsuit, but Google chose not to pay and argued that it was not copyrightable.
In the 10 years since Android, Google jumped from the #102 spot of America’s biggest companies to #11.
In giving us a preview of what may be to come, the Justices’ initial reactions have been very negative toward Google, with Justice Neil Gorsuch noting that Apple and Microsoft have "been able to come up with phones that work just fine without engaging in this kind" copyright theft.
Despite all the services that Google globally provides for no fee — at least no visible monetary fee to the user — the tech giant has fallen very far from its lofty heights of "Don’t be evil."
The online echo chamber threatening to tear our society apart is largely to blame on Google’s tailored searches, with The Wall Street Journal confirming the company indeed manipulates search results based on political biases.
Their Ministry of Truth-eque "Community Standards" have squashed free speech among Americans on YouTube but helped Russian trolls.
Google executives have been caught plotting against democratic elections.
The innocently named "Project Nightingale" has been hoarding millions of Americans’ private healthcare data.
And Google was accused of sharing the "crown jewel" of its artificial intelligence with the Chinese government.
With the Supreme Court now joining the fight, it appears that Google is indeed surrounded.
The seemingly indefatigable U.S. Attorney General William "Bill" Barr has come down hard about Big Tech’s size and pervasiveness.
Fifty attorneys general — that’s almost all of them nationally — have put Google under investigation for anti-trust. For abusing its market position against competing platforms, the European Union (EU) fined Google €1.7 billion because Google was exploiting its dominant position to force websites to use only its Ad Sense, preventing rivals from having a chance to innovate and compete.
The Trump administration Department of Justice has submitted a friend of the court (amicus) brief against Google.
The Obama administration DOJ did the same thing a few years ago.
Longtime Senate Judiciary legend Sen. Orrin Hatch (my old boss) wrote this month that Google was asking the Court to throw out decades of copyright protections, noting that "The future of the software industry — and of American innovation — depends on the Supreme Court upholding these essential protections."
Entire industries are adding their voices to the choir — the recording industry, news outlets, book publishers, the healthcare sector, the telecommunications industry, airlines — are urging the Court to hand Google a loss for fear that "their intellectual property could be next on the chopping block."
What’s at stake here is not merely the 11,500 lines of code that Google (allegedly) stole from Oracle. If the Google avoids the swift hammer of justice, will they be able to appropriate innovative code from small upstart, Pied Piper tech companies?
No one can compete with Google, and if the Court doesn’t take them down now, no one ever will be able to.
Jared Whitley is a long-time politico who has worked in the U.S. Congress, White House, and defense industry. He is an award-winning writer, having won best blogger in the state from the Utah Society of Professional Journalists (2018) and best columnist from Best of the West (2016). He earned his MBA from Hult International Business School in Dubai. Read Jared Whitley's reports — More Here.
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