back to article Campaigners cry foul play as Oracle funds conservative lobby group supporting its court case against Google

Campaigners have reacted angrily to Oracle's decision to fund the Internet Accountability Project (IAP), a lobby group which has – surprisingly enough – supported Oracle's claim against Google in the US Supreme Court. The IAP, among others, has filed amicus brief supporting Oracle's position in the case. IAP said it wants to " …

  1. cornetman Silver badge

    > ...known for its conservative-leaning views on internet policy.

    Government interference in business doesn't seem to me to be a particularly conservative position.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      "Government interference in business doesn't seem to me to be a particularly conservative position."

      It's NOT. Well stated.

    3. HildyJ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Conservative?

      Frankly none of what is labeled as conservative these days is conservative.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: Conservative?

        'conservative' is what you'd call the opposite of 'activist'. By 'conserving' it implies sticking to the way things are being done already, or holding onto traditional values, or making changes slowly and with overall approval (rather than doing so rapidly, radically, and "in your face" if you don't like it).

        What IAP is calling "conservative" is most likely "right-wing". "Right wing" is as bad as "left wing", just different details. Same ulimate outcome, though: less freedom for all, more power and control by government.

        (bullhorn icon because it's kinda like a political stump speech)

    4. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Government interference in business doesn't seem to me to be a particularly conservative position.

      Depends what you mean.

      You can't have business without government interference. It's government interference that allows us to have a system of private property, and the legal personality that allows large companies to be formed with many owners and the ability to operate in a large scale way over the long term.

      Copyrights and trademarks are government intervention, as are the police to stop shoplifters and the court system to solve disputes. And competition law, corporate finance reporting law etc.

      Being conservative is about having a minimum of this to protect people from abuse of market power while allowing markets to be as free as possible.

      For example if you don't have copyright, then you don't have a way to guarantee monetising creativity - and if you don't have that, then you get less stuff created - because the creators have nothing to live on. This applies to films, music, books, software, design, research and many other areas. So it's a proper concern of government to poke its nose in here. The question is, how much?

      1. cornetman Silver badge

        > For example if you don't have copyright, then you don't have a way to guarantee monetising creativity - and if you don't have that, then you get less stuff created - because the creators have nothing to live on. This applies to films, music, books, software, design, research and many other areas.

        Oh God, let's not get into that.

        Wait, no lets. In what way does copyright provide a way to guarantee monetising creativity?

        If your stuff is crap, then no one is going to buy it. If it is good, and you're not a complete arsehole to your actual customers (I'm looking at you music companies), then people are probably going to buy it from you.

        Everytime I watch a DVD and have to sit through 2 minutes of warnings telling me what a complete twat I am for duplicating this DVD that I just bought, it makes me want to go out and shoot someone.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          cornetman,

          The reason that we have copyright is because before it existed authors would publish a book and find that other publishers would also publish their book - but without having paid them to do so. This limited the ability of publishers to pay authors.

          This is from a time before music could be sold in any way other than sheet music (or live entertainment obviously). And in fact sheet music was also ripped off. Hence copyright was invented as a way to allow authors/publishers to get paid.

          The system is not perfect. Gasp! The alternative has distinct downsides, as even a moment's thought ought to suggest.

          1. cornetman Silver badge

            The copyright debate had been done to death on these boards over the years.

            The debate though comes down to a single question: is the imposition on freedom and the bad societal effects of copyright (lost/orphan works, inversion of control between customer and supplier, complex law etc etc) worth the actual, provable benefits? I say no. Others disagree and I guess it depends on whether you personally benefit or not.

            It also calls into question the model which it defends, that is large up-front costs recouped by many subsequent sales in which you have a monopoly. There are many other models which are superseding that now and in some ways they are better, some ways less so, for instance crowd funding or the patron model.

            The main downside of copyright is the abuse to which large players are using it. Unjustifiable extension of term to insane levels, the extension of it to areas where it doesn't work at all (e.g. code), the unreasonable comparison with theft, the entitled ownership mindset that inhabits organisations that drive the push to expansion of copyright into other areas, the brutal persecution of paying customers. I could go on but I can feel my blood pressure going up. :(

            1. bombastic bob Silver badge
              Unhappy

              I didn't think anyone here would question the validity of a copyright of a COMPLETED work, such as an entire software library. What is at issue here is the patenting and/or copyright of an API, which is much like the patenting or copyright of a "general idea".

              Patents are supposed to be VERY specific and apply to a specific invention. Copyrights are for written works, etc. and "fair use" allows a portion of that work to be used by others without paying royalties.

              So the real debate is, can you patent an API? (I believe it is too much "a general case" and not specific enough to a specific invention for a patent to be granted). And can you copyright an API? (if the API were for a specific copyrighted work, such as a software library, and the library itself is copyrighted, then the API, a portion of that library, is subject to "fair use").

              Any restrictive deviation beyond what I just mentioned would simply be a FEEDING TROUGH for BOTTOM-FEEDING L[aw[YERS. And you know the L[aw]YERS are the ONLY ones who WIN this kind of CRAP!

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        "You can't have business without government interference."

        Calling reasonable regulation 'interference' implies that all businesses are inherently DISHONEST, and require 'interference' (through regulation) to protect us poor saps from those *EVIL* *CORPORATIONS*.

        I don't buy that kind of viewpoint at ALL.

        'Regulation' does not equal 'Interference'. 'Regulation' creates order out of what might become chaos, such as requiring all businesses to register in the form of a 'business license' [to verify zoning laws, etc.] or limiting the occupancy of a building for fire safety reasons. That's really not "interference" when it's done properly.

    5. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      "Government interference in business doesn't seem to me to be a particularly conservative position."

      Most definitely, it is NOT conservative.

      What we have here, perhaps, is a "Conservative in Name Only" organization. I read their main page, and from what it says, they SOUND like a decent bunch of people interested in OUR privacy and not letting "big tech" get away with manipulating elections, etc..

      Yet shilling for Oracle's lawsuit against Google over the Java API is *NOT* "conservative"!

      If IAP claims to be CONSERVATIVE and PRO-PRIVACY and even PRO-FREEDOM (I did not see that specifically, but 'conservative' would imply that), then they can NOT uphold the concept of an API patent or copyright, without being HYPOCRITES.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    ''unlikely to be seen as fair''

    When has acting fair stopped corporations recently ? They will try to get whatever 'justice' that they can buy, the $25,000 - $99,999 is pretty small beer given what they could get if they sway the judges the right way.

    Most large corporations are out of control and care little for the consequences on the rest of us.

  3. JohnFen

    It's just Oracle being Oracle

    You can safely assume that if Oracle is doing something, that something is terrible.

  4. EricM

    "They go after many respected think tanks and call them 'Google shills' while themselves getting money directly from Oracle"

    Well, after all, accusing the other side of what you are guilty doing, is, in fact, an as widely used strategy as is buying support from groups that are portrayed as being neutral and interested in "public wellbeing".

    A classic comms strategy, albeit dishonest and opportunistic ...

    10/10 on the Oracle scale, I' say .

    Let's hope the judges see through this ...

  5. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Flame

    Who expects honesty and decency from Oracle ?

    The title says it all.

    1. RM Myers Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Who expects honesty and decency from Oracle ?

      I agree. But then again, if you had said, "Who expects honesty and decency from Google" I would also have agreed.

      1. EricM

        Re: Who expects honesty and decency from Oracle ?

        ""Who expects honesty and decency from Google" I would also have agreed."

        Agree, and I must say I'm not into this topic for Google. or for honesty and decency for that matter.

        But if Oracle wins this case, the whole software industry which, since its inception, always was based on the fact that APIs are not copyrightable, will suffer heavily under lawsuit after lawsuit.

        1. Spanners Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Who expects honesty and decency from Oracle ?

          suffer heavily under lawsuit after lawsuit

          This will not concern many "conservatives". An awful lot of them are, agressively, technically ignorant and uninformed.

          1. Mike 16 Silver badge

            Re: Who expects honesty and decency from Oracle ?

            Another possible reason for "conservatives" to be unconcerned is that a lot of the (most active) ones are lawyers, who can monetize outrage via lawsuits or cut-and-paste legislation to benefit a specific class of people they just happen to be members of. (Look Fred Phelps for example)

            Much like "liberals", that way. Neither label really means much anymore. Liberals are much more about "Free Beer" than "Free Speech", while all conservatives seem to want to conserve are their own hard-won (aka stolen by their predecessor) privilege.

            Maybe we _should_ welcome our insect overlords f they promise to eat the current lot.

          2. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Who expects honesty and decency from Oracle ?

            'conservative' - I do not think that word means what you think it means.

            Conservative != 'right wing' [see my other posts in this area]

            'right wing' does a lot of what you seem to accuse conservatives of doing, and 'right wingers' are probably the 'technically ignorant and uninformed' ones you mentioned...

  6. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Trollface

    Orlowski?

    So, what's he doing over at the IAP, anyway? Anyone heard from him?

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Orlowski?

      Now that you ask, I wonder what he's been up to. Nothing recent on his Wikipedia page (though he'd be the first to tell us not to trust it), and it doesn't look like his personal site's been updated in ~5 years.

  7. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Does the IAP actually do anything?

    I have some respect for some of the amicus briefs supporting Oracle, even if I disagree with them overall. That's not the case with IAP's brief, which is just 20 pages of "Folsom! Hey, what about Folsom, dudes?". Yes, that's terribly original and insightful.

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