In a long awaited decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that Google's verbatim copying of 11,500 lines of Oracle's copyrighted Java code was fair use. (https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/20pdf/18-956_d18f.pdf)
In its decision, the Court assumed that the code was copyrightable, an issue disputed by the parties, and focused on whether Google's copying constituted fair use. In a key consideration of fair use, the Court determined that Google's copying was transformative, creating a different task-related system for a different computing environment (smartphones) and platform (Android).
Ultimately this ruling expands the fair use defense for would-be software copyright users, loosening a copyright owner's control and potentially lowering valuations and licensing opportunities.
For an insightful discussion of the case, see: https://www.iplawtrends.com/google-v-oracle-and-the-future-of-copyright-in-apis/
Overall, the Court’s opinion shows that a six-vote majority is concerned about monopoly power in technological platforms. Although its decision centered on “fair use,” its language will breathe new life into the affirmative defense of copyright misuse. Ironically, now the more successful a technology company may be in making its platform dominant, the less protection its code may now get from courts.