THE US SUPREME COURT has said that it won't hear Google's appeal in its case with Oracle, a decision that could see the firm forced to pay fees for using Java.
A brief note on the Supreme Court's website says: "The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied. Justice Alito took no part in the consideration or decision of this petition."
As it stands, Google is the loser in the long drawn out battle with Oracle that began in 2012. Oracle is complaining that Google, in its creation of the Android operating system, infringed on Oracle copyrights by using Java APIs without permission.
Google said in its defence that APIs cannot be copyrighted, and that an Oracle victory would obstruct "an enormous amount of innovation" because software developers would not be able to freely build on each other's work.
"Early computer companies could have blocked vast amounts of technological development by claiming 95-year copyright monopolies over the basic building blocks of computer design and programming," Google is reported as saying.
Oracle, on the other hand, argues that effective copyright protection is key to software innovation.
In May last year, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit remanded the copyright infringement lawsuit between Oracle and Google back to the US District Court for the Northern District of California, having ruled that it is possible to copyright API code.
"We conclude that a set of commands to instruct a computer to carry out desired operations may contain expression that is eligible for copyright protection," Federal Circuit Court of Appeals judge Kathleen O'Malley wrote.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has taken a keen interest in the case, and has said that an Oracle win would be bad news for software development and developers.
The digital rights organisation said in a post published in May: "The implications of this decision are significant and dangerous.
"As we and others tried to explain to the court, the freedom to reimplement and extend existing APIs has been the key to competition and progress in hardware and software development.
"It made possible the emergence and success of many robust industries we now take for granted - for mainframes, PCs, workstations/servers, and so on - by ensuring that competitors could challenge established players and advance the state of the art.
"In other words, excluding APIs from copyright protection has been essential to the development of modern computers and the internet."
Stop laughing at the back Iain iPhone
AI want to break free
Not making friends, but influencing people
But eager game streaming beavers will have to wait until 2020