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WH yet to take sides in legal battle between Google, Oracle

WH yet to take sides in legal battle between Google, Oracle
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The Obama administration is still deliberating over a case that will see it take sides in a battle between tech giants Oracle and Google, according to a Friday report from Reuters.

The two companies are battling over whether Oracle has a right to copyright elements of the Java programming language, which was used in developing parts of Google’s Android operating system for smartphones. Google says it should not be forced to pay licensing fees.

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While a federal judge initially ruled in favor of Google, that decision was reversed on appeal. Google has now asked the Supreme Court to review the case, and the court in turn asked the administration for its position on whether it should hear the case.

Reuters reports that the antitrust regulators at the Federal Trade Commission have expressed an interest in learning more about the consequences a ruling in favor of Oracle would have on competition. Some White House advisers on technology are also reportedly in favor of the court taking Google’s appeal — an outcome that would be viewed favorably by Google and its supporters.

But other administration officials are reportedly not sold on Google’s case. The solicitor general’s office has been resistant to some of their arguments, according to Reuters.

The administration likely needs to make a recommendation to the court this month.

The case gets at critical questions about whether computer code can be copyrighted. Programmers frequently expand on others' work, and some worry that a decision in favor of Oracle would make it harder to do that.