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Jury Determines Google protected by “Fair Use” against liability for its unauthorized use of Java APIs

In a stunning decision on May 26, 2016, a jury found that although Google was found guilty of copyright infringement, it would not be subject to billions of dollars in damages because the “Fair Use” Doctrine, as codified at 17 USC Section 107, shields Google from liability as a complete affirmative defense.

The question before the court, as certified in the Special Verdict Form, was “[h]as Google shown by a preponderance of the evidence that its use in Android of the declaring lines of code and their structure, sequence, and organization from Java 2 . . . constitutes a “fair use” under the Copyright Act”. The Jury answered “Yes”.  Oracle claims it will appeal the decision.

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