Mossoff: Google’s Absurd “Fair Use” Excuse For IP Theft

Writes Adam Mossoff in Newsweek on why Amidst Chinese Aggression, U.S. Cannot Afford to Dilute Its IP Laws:

The fact that Google copied Oracle’s software code to build Android, its smartphone operating system, is not disputed by anyone—not even by Google. Both the Obama and Trump administrations recognized, in their respective court filings, that Google directly copied 11,500 lines of computer code “from a rival software platform, inserted them into a competing, incompatible platform [Android] and then marketed the infringing product” to consumers. But Google is now arguing before the Supreme Court that the software code it took is not copyrightable—or alternatively, if it is, that the “fair use” doctrine should permit its illicit copying.

As it was first developed, fair use is a limited exception for education, parody, news reporting or other transformative purposes. For Google to argue that its undisputed copying of computer code for its own commercial gain is “fair use” is absurd.

Moreover, software code is clearly protected under American copyright laws. U.S. copyright law has expressly protected software code since Congress enacted in 1980 the Computer Software Copyright Act. What followed was a technological and commercial explosion in personal computers running all sorts of software programs—as well as the explosive technological growth in the software that runs on the internet and in our mobile devices.

….For the sake of global security for U.S. creators and innovators, the Supreme Court should hold Google accountable for copyright infringement.