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Photo illustration: S3studio/Getty Images

Oracle pushed back Wednesday against Google's claims that the survival of software innovation rests on their long-running copyright battle, arguing an Oracle victory will ensure software makers enjoy copyright protections.

Why it matters: The Supreme Court is considering key questions related to software copyright and fair use — with billions of dollars in damages in the balance.

Driving the news: Oracle filed a response Wednesday to Google's opening brief in the case, which began when Oracle sued Google years ago over claims that Android software illegally used parts of Oracle's Java code.

  • Oracle argued in its brief that Google could have taken a Java license but instead committed an "egregious act of plagiarism and now needs to rewrite copyright law to justify it. It cannot."

Context: The companies have swapped victories in lower courts, with both the Trump and Obama administration siding with Oracle in advising the Supreme Court not to take up the case at different stages in the litigation.

  • Google, which marshaled a league of tech defenders to bolster its case, argues that an Oracle victory would upend software development and give copyright owners "monopoly power" over code to stifle competition.
  • But Oracle says software innovation has been exploding since it notched a win at a lower court in 2014. In a blog post, Oracle promised it will have “numerous” defenders, including the Songwriters Guild, filing supportive briefs.

What they're saying:

  • “Oracle’s position would undermine the practices that have helped developers build on existing technology and create new products," Google spokesperson Jose Castaneda said. "That’s why developers and businesses from across the tech industry have supported open software interfaces and opposed attempts to monopolize the creation of new applications."
  • "We are told that innovators who are granted constitutional and statutory 'monopolies' to their innovations are … wait for it … monopolists," Oracle executive vice president Ken Glueck wrote in the blog post. "Those living in glass houses shouldn’t throw kettles."

What's next: The Supreme Court will hear oral argument from the companies March 24.

Go deeper

Updated 42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.