Supreme Court weighs the future of software in Google-Oracle case

The Supreme Court justices appeared highly aware Wednesday that their decision in a copyright dispute between Google and Oracle could have far-reaching consequences for Silicon Valley, but after an hour and a half of arguments it was not clear which company’s dire warning they most seemed to believe.

Each of the court’s eight justices grilled attorneys representing Google and Oracle, as well as the U.S. deputy solicitor general, in a case that could upend the tech industry’s understanding of who owns small but essential chunks of code that allow different programs and platforms to connect.

Questions for Google: The justices lobbed some of their toughest questions at Google’s attorney, Tom Goldstein, scrutinizing his argument that Google copied code from Oracle because it had no other option. Google has asserted that the code is necessary for developers to create applications for its Android operating system and that these application programming interfaces, or APIs, are widely used without a license.

“Cracking the safe may be the only way to get the money that you want but that doesn’t mean you can do it,” Chief Justice John Roberts said.

Roberts added that when the code in question was first created by Sun Microsystems and later acquired by Oracle, there was more than one way to write it. He and several other justices surmised Google copied Oracle’s code because it was already popular with developers and more expedient than writings it own.

Justice Neil Gorsuch said, “The argument strikes me very much as, ‘I wish to share the facilities of a more successful rival because they’ve come up with a particularly elegant, or efficient, or successful highly adopted solution in the marketplace,’ and ride on their innovation.”

Questions for Oracle: Oracle’s attorney, Joshua Rosenkranz, pushed the idea that declaring it legal to copy

TikTok Fate in the Balance as Judge Weighs App Store Ban | Business News

By ANNE D’INNOCENZIO and MATT O’BRIEN, AP Business Writers

NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers for TikTok pleaded with a U.S. federal judge on Sunday to delay the Trump Administration’s ban of the popular video sharing program from app stores set to take effect at the end of the day, arguing the move would infringe on First Amendment rights and do irreparable harm to the business.

The 90-minute hearing came after President Donald Trump declared this summer that TikTok was a threat to national security and that it either sold its U.S. operations to U.S. companies or the app would be barred from the country.

TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is scrambling to firm up a deal tentatively struck a week ago in which it would partner with tech company Oracle and retailer Walmart and that would get the blessing of the Chinese and American governments. In the meantime, it is fighting to keep the app available in the U.S.

The ban on new downloads of TikTok, which has about 100 million users in the U.S, was delayed once by the government. A more comprehensive ban is scheduled for November, about a week after the presidential election. Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said he would make a decision by late Sunday, leaving TikTok’s fate hanging.

In arguments to Judge Nichols, TikTok lawyer John Hall said that TikTok is more than an app but rather is a “modern day version of a town square.”

“If that prohibition goes into effect at midnight, the consequences immediately are grave,'” Hall said. “It would be no different than the government locking the doors to a public forum, roping off that town square” at a time when a free exchange of ideas is necessary heading into a