In the US, juries decide facts, judges interpret the law
Posted May 8, 2012 1:04 UTC (Tue) by JoeBuck
Parent article: Google guilty of infringement in Oracle trial; future legal headaches loom
IANAL, but I'm paraphrasing what I was told by a judge when I was on a jury pool: juries decide what the facts of a case are, judges lay out the rules about what they are to decide (for example, a judge will explain what premeditation is, and the jury has to decide whether a killing was premeditated).
As I understand it, the jury was asked: assuming that APIs are copyrightable, did Google engage in copying? The jury, of course, replied "yes": we all know that they had to do this to implement Java. They were asked a second question: given some rules that the judge explained to the jury about fair use, was the Google copying (if any) fair use? In this case, the jury answered "we can't decide" (they couldn't agree).
So it's hard to say based on this that Google lost. Had the jury clearly said that the copying wasn't fair use, they'd be in trouble.
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