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Copyright fair use or something else? Case perhaps not done yet.

Executives from the Oracle Corporation love a recent federal court decision in their company's favor, and are now eager to garner a maximum recovery that is estimated to be in the many billions of dollars.

Conversely, high-end principals and shareholders of Google lament the ruling, which puts the company on the giving end of all that money. Google is reportedly considering its next-step strategy in the matter, with supporters thinking that an appeal to the U.S. Supreme might ultimately be in the cards.

If it is, SCOTUS justices ruling in the wake of last week's decision reached by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit will be squarely focusing on the "fair use" allowance granted under federal law in copyright matters. A provision in the U.S. Copyright Act allows parties to make limited use of others' protected works for specifically enumerated reasons that promote the public's interest.

That is precisely what Google claims to have done when it used Oracle-owned Java programming software to run an operating system for mobile devices. The company claims that its use never went beyond appropriating more than a small fraction of Oracle code. As an in-depth Bloomberg piece on the case reports, Google warns that the case ruling unchecked "would harm development of new software programs and lead to higher costs for consumers."

Oracle strongly refutes that notion, of course. It counters that the court's decision was necessary to curb the outright stealing of third-party property and to lend confidence to entrepreneurs expending time, effort and money to bring new ideas and products to market.

The tribunal reversed a lower court ruling in Google's favor, stating that there was "nothing fair" in an appropriation used to directly compete against an original application.

Perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately decide that.

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