A Supreme Court ruling that sided with Alphabet Inc.’s Google in its 10-year legal battle with Oracle Corp. reaffirms the business model behind open-source software—sharing bits of computer code for free, experts said. The ruling on Monday said Google did not violate copyright protections when it used lines of Java computer code that allow its Android mobile operating system to connect to other software. Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems Inc., which created Java, in 2010.
Experts said the ruling affirmed the right of companies to freely use one another’s software to some extent, a practice that has been key to innovation and interoperability. Some voiced concern that the line between fair use and copyright infringement was unclear, and that it could make it harder for startups to make a return on their investment.