Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh joined the bulk opinion. Justice Amy Coney Barrett didn’t take part within the case, which was argued earlier than she joined the courtroom.
In dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., mentioned leapfrogging the primary query was a grave analytical misstep. “The courtroom wrongly sidesteps the principal query that we have been requested to reply,” he wrote, including that he would have dominated that the code was protected by copyright legal guidelines.
The bulk’s strategy was inexplicable, Justice Thomas wrote, and its rationale — that know-how is quickly altering — was odd, as change “has been a relentless the place computer systems are involved.”
Justice Breyer used what he referred to as a “far-fetched” analogy to explain what the contested code did. “Think about that you may, by way of sure keystrokes, instruct a robotic to maneuver to a selected file cupboard, to open a sure drawer, and to select a selected recipe,” he wrote. “With the right recipe in hand, the robotic then strikes to your kitchen and offers it to a cook dinner to organize the dish.”
Justice Breyer wrote that the 4 fair-use elements set out within the Copyright Act all supported Google. The character of the code, he wrote, “is inextricably sure along with a basic system, the division of computing duties, that nobody claims is a correct topic of copyright.”
Google’s use of the code, he added, created one thing new. “It seeks to broaden the use and usefulness of Android-based smartphones,” Justice Breyer wrote. “Its new product presents programmers a extremely artistic and modern instrument for a smartphone atmosphere.”
Nor did Google copy an excessive amount of of Oracle’s code. The 11,000 traces of code at subject, he wrote, amounted to 0.4 % of the related universe of code.