Jury in Google Oracle case flummoxed by too many folders

first_imgThe latest phase of the long-running Oracle versus Google Java case is taking place in a district court in San Francisco right now, and it sounds like Judge William Alsup has had just about enough of dealing with the lawyers from both sides. Having heard closing arguments yesterday, the jury is hard at work examining evidence to render its verdict. However, there’s a folder problem. Specifically, too many of them in the digital files presented to the jury as evidence. There are, in fact, so many folders that the jury is asking for help. Reporter Sarah Jeong is live-tweeting the trial while Judge Alsup attempts to control his temper as the lawyers from Google and Oracle try to come up with a solution to the folder problem. The jury is apparently faced with folder after folder of files, making it hard to find anything in particular. Even more hilarious, many of the files in these folders can’t be opened on the court’s computers at all. This entire mess is happening because of the weirdly technical nature of the case. Google used Java APIs in Android, which at the time were generally understood to be freely available (as would make sense for an API you wanted people to use). However, Oracle sued, claiming APIs are copyrightable. While the courts initially ruled against that, an appeals court eventually agreed that the Java APIs are copyrighted. Now, the case is about Google’s claim that the APIs in Android are covered by fair use. That’s what the jury is deciding on.Deliberating on this case basically requires regular people on the jury to examine source code. So, Google and Oracle submitted source code into evidence. Even when the jury navigates through the cruel maze of folders, they don’t have the tools they need to actually read the files. Alsup, clearly fed up with this nonsense, suggested maybe Google and Oracle should just print out all 15 million lines of code relevant to the case. After what was apparently a very strange few hours in court, Alsup ordered Google and Oracle lawyers to work together to create instructions on how to navigate through all the folders and open files. The instructions have to be extremely simple and ready by midnight so the jury can tackle it again tomorrow. So, right now someplace in San Francisco, there’s a room packed with lawyers and some very, very unhappy IT people attempting to craft instructions for viewing source code so simple that the laypeople on the jury can follow them. I do not envy them in this task.last_img read more

Read More »