Trump's DOJ and Sun founder McNealy back Oracle in Google's Android-Java fight

And some Oracle employees walk out over Larry Ellison's fundraiser for President Trump.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

The Trump administration's Justice Department has filed a brief in support of Oracle in its Supreme Court battle against Google over whether Java should have copyright protection. 

The Justice Department filed its amicus brief to the Supreme Court this week, joining a mighty list of briefs from major tech companies and industry luminaries – including Scott McNealy, co-founder of Sun, which Oracle bought in 2010, acquiring Sun-built Java in the process.  

While Microsoft, IBM and others have backed Google's arguments in the decade-long battle, McNealy, like the Justice Department, is opposing Google. 

McNealy called Google's description of how it uses Java packages a "woeful mischaracterization of the artful design of the Java packages" and "an insult to the hard-working developers at Sun who made Java such a success".

McNealy says Google "copied verbatim the declaring code and related structure of 37 Java packages for its Android smartphone operating system".

"Google took the declaring code and structure of the 37 packages specifically because that code was popular among developers and was what they would expect to use."

The Justice Department's position remains basically unchanged from a year ago, when it filed a brief to the Supreme Court asking it to deny Google's request for justices to review previous rulings that it did infringe on Oracle's copyrights on Java.      

The Supreme Court last year agreed to reconsider a 2014 decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that could have left Google with multi-billion dollar penalties. 

IBM argued in its January brief that computer interfaces are not copyrightable, while Microsoft has backed Google's arguments that what it did is essential for interoperability in today's technology.    

The Justice Department says Google's policy arguments are "unpersuasive".

"Petitioner has not identified any industry understanding that software 'interfaces' are per se uncopyrightable, and concerns about the interaction of copyright and emerging technology do not justify such an atextual rule," the Justice Department wrote.  

"Petitioner's policy concerns about interoperability are irrelevant here. Petitioner designed its Android platform in a manner that made it incompatible with respondent's Java platform."

It also argues that Google's "verbatim copying of [Oracle's] original computer code into a competing commercial product was not fair use".

Joe Tucci, former CEO of now Dell-owned enterprise storage giant EMC, threw in his two cents against Google. 

"Accepting Google's invitation to upend that system by eliminating copyright protection for creative and original computer software code would not make the system better – it would instead have sweeping and harmful effects throughout the software industry," Tucci's brief reads

Google and Oracle are set to make their arguments at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 24. 

As reported by The Hill – in what looks like billionaire back-scratching – just hours before Trump's DoJ filed its brief, Oracle co-founder and current chairman Larry Ellison hosted a fundraiser for the president at his golf course in California.  

Around 300 Oracle employees protested Ellison's support of Trump, stopping work this week, according to Bloomberg.  

The workers argued that Ellison's support for Trump violated Oracle's diversity, inclusion, and ethics policies, and harmed the company's image.

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