Oracle has now amended the lawsuit it filed against Google back in August, stating that they believe that 'approximately one third of Android's Application Programmer Interface (API) packages' are 'derivative of Oracle's copyrighted Java API packages' and related documents.
Is this another "SCO"-style lawsuit, without any merit, or did Google really steal Oracle's code? It's certainly not black-and-white…. there are a lot of twists and turns to this lawsuit that are already being hotly discussed.
Specifically, what Oracle is claiming is that, 'the infringed elements of Oracle America's copyrighted work include Java method and class names, definitions, organization, and parameters; the structure, organization and content of Java class libraries; and the content and organization of Java's documentation,' according to the amended lawsuit.
Oracle also alleges that, 'In at least several instances, Android computer program code also was directly copied from copyrighted Oracle America code'.
So again, is this another "SCO"-style lawsuit that has no actual merit, or did Google really steal portions of Oracle's code? So far, things are very, very unclear.
If in fact Google really copied things from the Java source (like actual source code or documentation), they might be screwed. On the other hand, there's the slight matter of Sun having released the vast majority of their API implementation as open source.
One of the things that Oracle appears to be saying is that using the same header files (the APIs) is infringement. The fact is however, that to make a "work-alike" system, the strings in the header files (the APIs again) need to be the same. They end up looking the same even if you create them from scratch by following the published specs.
For example, if you have tons of getters, setters and other small functions, it's easy (and frankly, even expected) to have the same implementation in all cases.
If Oracle wins this case, it sets a very dangerous precedent. This is because any project that implements an interface defined by another entity would potentially be violating copyright – and this includes every single PC in existence because they all include and use a BIOS that implements the behavior of the IBM-copyrighted PC BIOS.
Stay tuned. The one thing that's for certain is that no matter what happens, an army of lawyers are going to make a fortune out of this.