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Google used source files from Apache's Java project, despite appearing to have known that those files were illegally lifted without license from Sun's Java source.  (Source: Oracle via Engadget)
A total of 37 Android source files are exact or near-exact copies; Oracle (owner of Java) is suing

Google smartphones are the hottest things since sliced bread, but that may not do much to save Google from getting battered by rival software developer Oracle in the courts.  Oracle has sued Google, accusing it of including open source projects in Android that illegally copy proprietary source code from Sun Microsystems, Inc., a subsidiary of Oracle Corp. and makers of Java.

Strangely Google seemed to almost admit this when responding to the lawsuit, indicating that it knew the Apache version of Java it used was untested with Sun's Technology Compatibility Kit and thus did not have the rights to the decompiled Sun Java source code it used.  Google admitted to use the Apache code in Android anyways, complaining in the response that Sun and Oracle are trying to destroy openness by preventing licensing of open implementations Java source.  In an 

Now Florian Mueller, who runs the FOSSpatents blog, has offered up a whopping 43 more files that appear to be directly taken from Sun/Oracle without permission.  Six of the files belong in the adjacent directory to the copied files Sun/Oracle identified and displayed in court documents.  Another 37 files elsewhere in the Android source were directly copied from the Mobile Media API, which Google may not have had the rights to use.

While past copyright litigation against the firm and its partners (for example Apple's lawsuit against HTC) seemed unreasonable and tenuous, here Google appears to have knowingly used code that was owned by someone else, then justified that action by saying it didn't like the current licensing situation.

Google will likely play innocent and argue that Android is free and open, so it can't pay exorbitant court fines for infringing on Sun's property.  But, in reality Google is leveraging its dominant position in the mobile phone industry to raking in hundreds of millions in mobile advertising dollars.  After all -- Google Search is free, Gmail is free, Google Docs is free, and Android is free, but the company still seems to be making a whole lot of money.

Updated 1/21/2011

ZDNET’s Ed Burnett has posted an article in response to Florian Mueller’s analysis and has concluded that Google is in the clear in this case.

The second set of 37 files is actually zipped up into one file called MMAPI.zip and tucked away in a directory used for native code audio drivers for one particular type of chip set. Florian really had to go digging for this one. I double-checked the make files and it’s clear this file is not shipped with Android either. Somebody uploaded it by mistake and it should simply be deleted.



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RE: Lame
By semiconshawn on 1/21/2011 4:53:58 PM , Rating: 2
Right why should a company spend billions on writing software and then just not give it away? Better yet everyone else can just take it they dont even have to give it away. Its not protected like art its protected like IP because it is. 1 billion lines of code in an OS is not exactly the same as an equation in a text book.


RE: Lame
By joedon3 on 1/21/2011 5:01:50 PM , Rating: 3
True... but 37 lines of code in 1 billion is hardly stealing their work... It'd be like using the same color as Picaso and getting sued for it.


RE: Lame
By Hyperion1400 on 1/21/2011 9:28:57 PM , Rating: 3
37 files, not 37 lines. With that many files we may be looking at anywhere from a few hundred to 10,000+ lines of code.

But, Steve Jobs should take note! THIS is what a REAL copyright lawsuit should look like!


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