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Google liable for copyright infringement, jury finds

But jurors deadlocked on the issue of fair use

A jury has found Google liable for copyright infringement in its use of Java in Android, but has not managed to decide whether that infringement was protected by rules governing "fair use."

The verdict, delivered Monday after a week of deliberations by the jury, is a partial victory for Oracle in its lawsuit against Google. But Oracle will have to wait longer -- possibly for a retrial -- to see whether Google will escape liability by claiming fair use.

Google's attorney, Robert Van Nest, immediately told the judge that Google would file for a mistrial. Google's argument will be that the same jury must decide both the copyright infringement and fair use issues.

The jury also decided that Sun's public statements about Java might have suggested to Google that it did not need a license for Java.

But in another setback for Google, it decided there was insufficient evidence to show that Google relied on that information.

That means the jury wasn't swayed by a much-discussed blog post from then-Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz in which he congratulated Google on its release of Android, and said that it would be good for Java.

Google did prevail on some other issues in the case, including the finding that Google did not violate the copyright for Oracle's Java API documentation.

Developing story. More to follow.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is [email protected]

Read more about drm and legal issues in Computerworld's DRM and Legal Issues Topic Center.


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