Even The Judge Wonders What Oracle Is Up To As It Asks For $0 In Copyright Damages From Google

from the procedural dept

Having lost both its patent and copyright claims against Google in somewhat spectacular fashion (remember when it was claiming billions in damages?), Oracle recently agreed in court that it was fine with receiving $0 in statutory damages for the short snippets of code that were copied. This even took the judge by surprise, who asked if there was a "catch" he should be aware of. The issue is one that is really more procedural than anything else: everyone realizes that the only thing that matters now is what happens in the appeal, and if Oracle happens to win the appeal, it can revisit the damages question. Either way, however, it is a bit symbolic to see Oracle "accept" $0 in damages. And, of course, there is still one more part to this round in district court, which is that Google is expected to seek attorneys' fees from Oracle as well -- meaning that Oracle's plan to get billions from Google may turn into not just a loss, but a really, really expensive loss.


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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 11:17am

    I'm clueless to the finer machinations of court procedures, litigation and such, however could it be that if they "accept $0 in damages", and if that's language that somehow actually gets into the court record, could, in some future legal action, some shlub lawyer later use the case as "proof we were awarded damages in that case" or at least THINK he/she could do that?

    As far fetched as that seems to be, with all the hack nonsense that goes on these days in the legal system, it just seems a possible motive.

     

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      Zimzat (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 11:37am

      Re:

      This is precisely what I was thinking. It wouldn't amount for much in a monetary comparison, but it would add to the number of victories for copyright infringement procedures even though they actually lost. 1-0 wins, or whatever their count is. They could then turn that into an extortion letter for any company that doesn't read the full ruling or pay attention to the news.

       

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      Almost Anonymous (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 1:06pm

      Re:

      Once it became evident that the judge was knowledgeable and wasn't going to buy Oracle's bullshit, Google knew it had a slam-dunk here. It wouldn't make any sense to "settle" at this point in the game if it could possibly come back on them, so I'm guessing that accepting $0 in damages is still a loss as far as the case is concerned. Even more so if Oracle winds up paying Google's legal fees, which I believe can only happen in the case of not just a loss but a trouncing loss.

       

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      Anonymous Monkey (profile), Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 1:58pm

      Re:

      basically, they are still striving for a "win"... "awarding" damages, even if for $0, still would show as a "win" of sorts.
      it's a bait-and-switch kind of thing.
      really sneaky and underhanded if you ask me.

       

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    A Dan (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 11:22am

    Typo

    "Goolge" should, as far as I know, be "Google".

     

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    Some Guy, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 11:48am

    Has Techdirt gone off its rocker? Forcing audio down my throat now when I visit the site ... Another great site turns to crap. I couldn't even read this article with the audio superimposed over my music stream. Yesterday it had an obnoxious banner superimposed over the existing obnoxious banner. I understand people gotta eat, but seriously ... I'm about ready to stop visiting, and this has been one of my favorite sites for a long, long time.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:18pm

      Re:

      i've never seen any of the banners you speak of. before blaming techdirt, i'd suggest at least finding out if the ads are indeed from techdirt and not malware. i've known techdirt to take advertising very seriously and don't want to be too invasive, so it doesn't sound like the techdirt i know. its possible they're not aware of it as well.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:58pm

        I've got ad blockers, flash block, etc...

        ...and one of the reasons for getting them was the "audiobombs" on techdirt and similar annoying features on other sites, where a careless hover is awarded by a loud ad or annoying pop-up.

        No big deal... doesn't bother me now.

        But just sayin'....

         

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      Rikuo (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:36pm

      Re:

      audio? What'chu talking about? Never has been audio...unless its from an ad that can be easily countered by Adblock+ or Noscript.

       

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      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:57pm

      Re:

      There's an ad on the right with audio that only plays on mouseover, and a banner on the bottom that has recently gotten larger (and was said yesterday they were working with company for a close or minimize button). Neither of these I find even slightly annoying (I generally run Chrome with no adblock).

      If you're getting more than those, you might want to check your browser or system for something else that is generating them.

       

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      MrWilson, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:58pm

      Re:

      Another great discussion interrupted by someone complaining about something that they have the power to change.

       

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      Some Other Guy (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 1:13pm

      Re:

      I'm going to guess that these are adverts you're talking about. Does your web-viewing platform support ad-blocking?

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:49pm

      Re:

      Has Techdirt gone off its rocker? Forcing audio down my throat now when I visit the site

      Er... where? If that's true it's certainly NOT intended. We've never forced audio on people on purpose. If you're aware of it happening, let us know so we can stop it.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:10pm

        Re: Re:

        Always wanted to thank you for having the class to do something about those things. Adverts don't bug me so much, but flashing banners and music blasting my ears out makes me so much less inclined to even consider a product...

         

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        Tom Forest, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:41pm

        Re: Re:

        It's the 'a word from our sponsors' Samsung ad. If the mouse hovers over it music starts playing then 3 seconds later a large pop-up appears.

         

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      Brent (profile), Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 7:05am

      Re:

      Install AdBlock. I think its available on almost every browser now. I didn't even know this site had ads. (sorry techdirt)

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 11:05am

        Re: Re:

        It would be nice if those ad-blockers allowed text ads through. I don't mind a kilobyte or two for an ad, but javascript, images, let alone flash, are far too much of my resources to devote to selling me something. If I am looking, and if it is relevant, a correctly placed and well timed text ad might lead to me at least considering buying that.

         

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    Mr. Smarta** (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 11:51am

    Settle instead of lose?

    Could it be Oracle just wanted to say in the future that they "settled" rather than lost? Losing outright would mean everyone could use snippets of code or whatever. Settling means they didn't actually lose, but they could seek damages from anyone else.

    Not sure if I'm really reading this correctly.

     

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      Almost Anonymous (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 1:11pm

      Re: Settle instead of lose?

      I don't buy that this is considered a settlement. As you noted, that could leave the door open for future lawsuits by Oracle, perhaps even against Google again. It just doesn't make sense for Google to convert what was clearly a major win, and an awesome precedent, into a whimpering settlement, so I don't think that's the case here. I think at most it is a way for Oracle to save a teeny tiny bit of face.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 11:59am

    I think Oracle should get $0,000,000. They deserve the extra 0s for all the hard work they put into this lawsuit.

    On a side note, I see the Oracle guy just bough a Hawaiian island. Are they going to be prepping their appeal from their new volcano based lair?

     

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      Disgusted, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 9:50pm

      Re:

      So much for performance based pay. You can be stupid enough to captain your ship onto such obvious rocks, and yet well renumerated enough for those efforts that you can buy Hawaian Islands.

       

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    That One Guy (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Can you say 'legal precedent'?

    Seems to me that what they're going for here is a legal precedent that shows that they 'won', by getting a settlement out of google.

    If so it wouldn't matter that they didn't actually get any money out of the deal, they still have a case that they can go back to and point to the fact that they 'won', which would be worth much more money than they could expect from google at this point.

     

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    Mr. Oizo, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    0 would be fine too

    Was that $ really necessary in the title ? I mean, it doesn't matter anymore what unit it is it is the same in all of them. Pure american imperialsm we are witnessing here.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:22pm

      Re: 0 would be fine too

      it is necessary. if they said zero, you'd have no clue what they said they want zero amount of. so, yes, it is absolutely necessary. zero dollars = $0, not 0%, or 0degC. Plus its in the US, so if you're complaining that its the same as 0 EUR or 0 AU, etc, well, you're dumb, cause that's making it needlessly complicated. We're in the US, we'll use the US unit for representing money instead of them saying "0 generic dollars".

      honestly, this comment is kinda dumb from any and all angles. I'm sorry, but it is.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 1:03pm

        Stupid question...

        Stupider answer.

        Zero dollars is not an amount of dollars, and it is absolutely and exactly equivalent to NOTHING at ALL.

         

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          MrWilson, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 1:10pm

          Re: Stupid question...

          Sure, it's just semantics, but it's significant in certain scenarios. If you had $12 and you spent $12, you now have $0. Just because having no money is the same as having nothing of some other unit, you still wouldn't say, "spending $12 of $12 leaves you with 0 frogs..." Unless you were just trying to be absurd.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 1:38pm

          Re: Stupid question...

          Trust me when i say that you definitely want zero dollars to be an amount of dollars and not exactly equivalent to nothing.

          For instance if zero were a simple indication of nothing at all, exactly and absolutely nothing, then strange things like a lack of oxygen might crop up spontaneously.

          At that point i'd expect you'd find that zero dollars is significantly different than nothing.

           

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          Anomalous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2012 @ 8:46pm

          Re: Stupid question...

          Maybe Oracle should get NULL dollars.

           

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    Doug D (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    Maybe Oracle is counting on the verdict being stored in an Oracle database somewhere -- their software can then corrupt the data in the AMOUNT column more easily if the rest of the row has the right structure.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 2:33pm

    Oracle wants the precedent that they "won" the case for copyright infringment its to set up future lawsuits and ask for a ton of damages. In similar cases they can say ah we won so they can win another related case against a not so smart company. Not to mention they can also try to alter the damages later so long as they establish that Google "infringed". Really its a ploy to make it that Oracle "won" so they can use this in future lawsuits to troll.

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 5:13pm

    The Biggest Winner In All This Is David Boies

    The guy seems to have built a successful career out of getting clients to pay him lots of money to lose cases for them: previously SCO, now Oracle.

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 8:31pm

    They’re Not Asking For Zero Dollars ...

    ... they’re asking for zero billion dollars. You think this is the kind of $0 you can just whip out your wallet and not pay? Hell no. This is the kind of $0,000,000,000 that only big corporations and rich kids can afford to call up their bankers to not pay. This is not your ordinary-Joe-and-Jane petty-cash zero, this is your team-of-lawyers-and-financial-funds, special-letter-of-credit-delivered-by-armoured-car-courier, big-ass now-we’re-talking-real-money zero.

    Mark my words, even in giving up damages, Oracle is determined to make it sting for Google to not pay this.

     

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