In a statement issued today on the U.S. Supreme Court’s April 5 decision in the Google v. Oracle case, in which the Court ruled 6–2 that Google’s copying of Oracle’s Java code was permissible under the fair use doctrine, Copyright Alliance CEO Keith Kupferschmid stated the following:
“Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of Google in the decade long Google v. Oracle case has the potential to unduly broaden the fair use doctrine, as applied to creators of computer programs as well as individual creators and small businesses that do not have the means to compete with internet behemoths like Google.
“While we believe that the Supreme Court decision was wrongly decided, we are heartened that the Court made very clear that its decision is not only limited to software—and thus, should not be applicable to other types of copyrighted works—but it’s also limited specifically to declaring code and not to other forms of software. As such, the decision here should have very limited applicability to other fair use cases that may arise in the future.
“If yesterday’s decision is misinterpreted by lower courts, we are concerned that software could be subject to more limited protection than other works, which Congress has expressly refused to do. We are hopeful and optimistic that district courts and courts of appeals will heed the Supreme Court’s words that this case does ‘not overturn or modify its earlier cases involving fair use’ and therefore interpret the Supreme Court’s decision narrowly in keeping with well-established precedent.”