No Writers for Hire, but These Guys Fit the Bill

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Maintaining that it never paid anyone to write about its smartphone war with Oracle, Google on Friday named 13 people and entities on its payroll who wrote about the case.
     The disclosure comes after U.S. District Judge William Alsup made a second request for names of people who have received money from Google and commented on the case.
     Among its current and former employees who blogged, Tweeted or otherwise commented during the Oracle-Google kerfuffle – now in its third year – are William Patry, Timothy Bray and James Gosling.
     Google’s response also devotes a significant amount of space to its former intern and current Ars Technica writer Timothy Lee, whom the company says Tweeted that he had not been on Google’s payroll since becoming a full-time journalist in 2010, though Google paid him earlier when he was in graduate school.
     Google took exception with Oracle’s thinly veiled accusations in its own response earlier this week that Ed Black, head of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, was shilling for Google.
     Black has been a vocal opponent of the copyrightability of application programming interfaces (APIs), a sticking point in Oracle’s claims over the Android operating system.
     “Oracle and its counsel had to have known that CCIA’s position on APIs pre-dated Google’s membership in CCIA – and in fact pre-dated Google’s incorporation in 1998,'” Google attorney Robert Van Nest wrote. “Mr. Black has publicly stated that Google did not ask him to write in support of its position, and that CCIA’s position that APIs are not copyrightable ‘goes back to the 1990s.'”
     In fact, Black joined a 1995 amicus brief filed by the American Committee for Interoperable Systems (ACIS) in the Supreme Court case Lotus v. Borland, arguing that interface specifications are not copyrightable, according to Google.
     The counsel of record on that brief lists Sun Microsystems attorney Peter Choy and Paul Goldstein – then and now a lawyer at Morrison Foerster, which represents Oracle in this case. Van Nest said that Oracle also belonged to ACIS.
     Sun Microsystems developed Java, and Oracle that programming language when it bought Sun in 2010. Oracle filed the massive copyright and patent infringement suit against Google weeks within weeks of the acquisition.
     Google’s Van Nest also rejected Oracle’s claim that Google money influenced a book by Jonathan Band, “Interfaces on Trial 2.0.”
     “Mr. Band has publicly stated that ‘Interfaces on Trial 2.0’ was accepted for publication in 2009 – before Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, and before the complaint in the case at bar was filed,” Van Nest wrote. “Moreover, much of the book was based on even older articles, in some cases with other Morrison & Foerster lawyers as co-authors.”
     The brief notes that the first edition of the book includes Oracle’s lead attorney Michael Jacobs in the acknowledgments.
     “At the time, Mr. Band was a Morrison & Foerster partner,” Van Nest wrote.
     Google also disclosed that it has paid digital free-speech advocate Electronic Frontier Foundation and open Internet advocate Public Knowledge, and that these groups have written extensively about the case. The Center for Democracy and Technology, Vortex Technology and the Competitive Enterprise Institute round out that list, according to Google.
     It remains unclear what Judge Alsup intends to do with the information, or if Google’s additions will be sufficient.

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