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Google defeats Oracle in the copyright lawsuit that experts were so worried about

It's kind of a surprise.

Alphabet CEO Larry Page
Kimberly White / Getty

A jury has ruled that Google's use of Java software — owned by Oracle — in the creation of Android constitutes fair use and is thus not a copyright violation.

This marks the end of the retrial of Oracle's initial 2012 suit against Google, in which a jury handed down a partial verdict.

Free speech and copyright experts have been up in arms about the case. The suit is fundamentally about whether the common Silicon Valley practice of using open source technology created by other corporations constitutes a copyright violation, as Oracle's lawyers have argued it does.

UC Berkeley law professor Pamela Samuelson recently told the New York Times that were Oracle to win, it could have a "chilling effect" on the work of software developers.

In a statement provided to Recode, Google said that today's verdict "represents a win for the Android ecosystem, for the Java programming community, and for software developers who rely on open and free programming languages to build innovative consumer products.”

Wall Street and investors were never really worried about how the case would affect Google's bottom line, and many anticipated that Google would lose the case.

Oracle does not plan to let the fight end here. The company says that it will appeal the decision.

This suit was notable not just for its potential impact on copyright law, but also for the technically dense topic that it covered. For this month's retrial, Google brought back a literal filing cabinet that it used in a courtroom jury to explain software APIs to the jury, back in 2012.

Today, the filing cabinet was in court to celebrate the verdict with the Google legal team.

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