The Cybersecurity 202: The Supreme Court could decide the fate of mail voting in two swing states

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Pennsylvania Republicans, meanwhile, are already asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a ruling by the state’s highest court that allows ballots to be counted if they arrive up to three days later. 

In both cases, the ballots must be postmarked by Election Day.

The two cases dramatically raise the chances the U.S. Supreme Court could determine the course of the election

If the Wisconsin decision stands, it could dramatically reduce the number of mail ballots that get counted in the state. 

U.S. District Judge William Conley originally ordered the six-day window for late-arriving ballots after a chaotic primary early in the pandemic.

During that April 7 primary, thousands of people didn’t receive requested mail ballots until shortly before Election Day and others didn’t receive them at all. The state decided to accept ballots postmarked by Election Day that arrived up to five days later. 

A whopping 79,000 ballots arrived during that time

It’s unclear whether a similar amount will arrive after Election Day this time. On the one hand, far more people are likely to vote in the general election than in a primary and interest in mail voting has surged as the pandemic has progressed. 

On the other, both parties have been pushing their voters to cast mail ballots as early as possible to avoid any risk they won’t be counted. 

“People will vote late. That happens in every state in every election,” Richard L. Hasen, an election law professor at the University of California at Irvine, told me. “But now there’s going to be even more of a push for people to get their ballots in as early as possible, and that message seems to be getting through to voters.” 

Democrats could suffer more if ballots arriving after Election Day aren’t counted because more Republicans

Oracle and Google’s Supreme Court showdown was a battle of metaphors

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Google v. Oracle, a decade-long war over the future of software, neared its end in the Supreme Court this week as a battle of metaphors. Over the course of two hours, justices and attorneys compared Java — the coding language that Oracle acquired in 2010 — to a restaurant menu, a hit song, a football team, an accounting system, the instructions for finding a blend of spices in a grocery store, a safecracking manual, and the QWERTY keyboard layout.

“Prediction: The side that wins the metaphor battle will win the case,” tweeted University of Oklahoma College of Law professor Sarah Burstein.

The reliance on familiar analogies wasn’t necessarily surprising. Google v. Oracle covers a complex question: what elements of computer code can be copyrighted, and if that code is covered by copyright, when it’s still legal to use pieces of it under fair use. The argument dates back a decade to when Google reverse-engineered Java while building its Android platform. In the process, it copied the “structure, sequence, and organization” of some Java application programming interface (API) packages, which enable basic computing actions. Oracle sued, and after multiple trials and a coronavirus-related delay, the Supreme Court heard the argument this week.

After a morning of long-delayed oral arguments on Wednesday, both sides declared a win. Google head of global affairs Kent Walker said the court “confirmed the importance” of the legal rights protecting software interoperability, while Oracle general counsel Dorian Daley declared that the court would “agree with us that all software is covered by copyright.” Tiffany Li, a fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project, cautioned against reading too much into the proceedings. “It’s difficult to guess how a case will turn out based on the arguments,”

Supreme Court Weighs Copyright Fight Between Google and Oracle

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday considered a multibillion-dollar copyright battle between

Oracle Corp.

and

Alphabet Inc.’s

Google, with justices appearing to look for a resolution that would retain legal protections for software code without throwing the tech industry into disarray.

During about 90 minutes of oral arguments, the justices considered issues related to how software developers use application-program interfaces, or APIs—prewritten packages of computer code that allow programs, websites or apps to talk to one another.

Oracle has accused Google of illegally copying more than 11,000 lines of Java API code to develop its Android operating system, which runs more than two billion mobile devices world-wide.

Google’s unlicensed use of that code is no better than “if someone wanted to write a book that reproduced the 11,000 best lines of ‘Seinfeld’,” Oracle lawyer Joshua Rosenkranz told the court.

Mr. Rosenkranz said

Microsoft Corp.

and

Apple Inc.

spent billions developing their platform code, and Google should have done so as well. “The Copyright Act does not give Google a pass just because it would be expensive to re-create our expression,” he said.

Oracle previously sought as much as $9 billion in damages from Google, though that request is now several years old and is likely to increase if Oracle wins at the high court.

Google lawyer Thomas Goldstein told the court that copyright protections aren’t supposed to extend to basic computer code that relates to how software functions. The effect of Oracle’s proposed rule “would be to make the creation of innovative computer programs less efficient,” he said.

“The long-settled practice of reusing software interfaces is critical to modern interoperable computer software,” Mr. Goldstein said. Oracle, he said, was seeking to keep software developers “prisoners” of the Java platform and attempting to “block the publication of millions of programs on an

Today’s Supreme Court Hearing On A $9 Billion Case Involving Oracle And Google Could Reshape The Software Industry

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In a landmark moment in the history of the U.S. software industry, the Supreme Court held a hearing today on a long-running legal dispute that pits tech giants Oracle and Google against one another.

The case centers around whether or not a key foundation of today’s increasingly software-driven economy—blocks of code known as “application programming interfaces”, or APIs—is subject to copyright protection. Oracle claims Google infringed copyright when it used elements of the Oracle-owned Java programming language to build its Android operating system, which now powers billions of smartphones and other devices. Google denies the claim, which involves about 11,500 lines of code out of millions of new lines that it wrote to create Android. The two companies have been battling one another in the courts for over a decade, with Oracle demanding $9 billion in compensation.

The outcome of this epic legal fight matters because APIs, which enable different software applications to talk to one another and swap information, are essential for building larger systems. Developers at startups and large companies have been copying them for free for years and using them to knit together complex tapestries of applications that power online commerce platforms, advanced manufacturing facilities and other elements of modern digital economies.

If the Supreme Court ultimately rules Google did infringe Oracle’s copyright when it copied the Java APIs in question, it could trigger a tsunami of litigation as other companies seek payments for their APIs too. Google’s supporters, which include Microsoft and IBM, argue this will prove a costly headache for many companies. Some fear it will also have a chilling effect on startups and further boost the immense power of cash-rich tech platforms—including, ironically, Google itself—that are already under intense political and regulatory scrutiny.

“Huge corporations like

What Is Fair Use? Google vs. Oracle Brings Decade-Long Copyright Battle To Supreme Court

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KEY POINTS

  • Oral arguments were held before the Supreme Court over the copyright case between Oracle and Google
  • Google stands to pay Oracle nearly $9 billion for 11,000 lines of code in Android software if the court rules in Oracle’s favor
  • Big tech is throwing in behind Google while media and entertainment companies and the Trump administration is backing Oracle

The Supreme Court faces upending the tech industry by determining whether Google stole code from Oracle in building its Android operating system in a case that could redefine the meaning of the fair use doctrine. All eight justices on Wednesday grilled the tech giants’ legal teams as well the U.S. deputy solicitor general in a potentially far-reaching case.

Google said its incorporation of 11,500 lines of Oracle Java code constitutes fair use, while Oracle argued the action violated its ownership rights. The lawsuit has been working its way through the courts for a decade with Oracle claiming it is owed $9 billion for use of its code.

Google attorney Thomas Goldstein said Google used only the parts of the code that could not be changed but had originated the rest. Oracle attorney Joshua Rosenkranz said Google had other options, even if they were more expensive.

“The Copyright Act does not give Google a pass just because it would be expensive to recreate our expression,” Rosenkranz said.

Along with Microsoft, tech companies like Mozilla and IBM threw their support behind Google by arguing tech companies need the freedom to build new programming platforms without worrying about licenses and copyrights.

Several news outlets, entertainment companies and the Trump administration, however, put their weight behind Oracle, arguing these industries rely on the enforcement of strong copyright laws.

“We are told if we agree with Oracle we will ruin the tech industry in the