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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

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”