Brussels / 1 & 2 February 2020


Oracle v. Google: What are the implications for FOSS?

All the merits briefs for Oracle v. Google will be filed a couple weeks before FOSDEM 2020. This will be a rundown of the positions argued by various groups - how are the parties positioning the questions presented? What are the various amici arguing? Are there any positions that will be particularly impactful for FOSS groups and users?

On Friday, Nov. 15, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Oracle v. Google. It is hard to overstate how impactful this decision will be on FOSS. For the first time in a generation, the Supreme Court will be evaluating how copyright and software interact - and they will be discussing it in the context of GPL-licensed Java.

Right before FOSDEM, all the briefs by all parties will be due. As we sit in Brussels, the court clerks will be reading the various briefs and creating a "bench memo" for each justice, summarizing the arguments being advanced by both Oracle and Google, as well as the points raised by different amici.

This presentation will be a verbal "bench memo" for those in the FOSS community. Rather than advance a particular view, we will try to understand the scope of issues being argued, and how they may affect Free and Open Source Software in the United States - and worldwide.


Photo of Van Lindberg Van Lindberg