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‘Cash for comment’ journos, bloggers under spotlight in Oracle-v-Google

Alsup demands disclosure

Court gavel

An unknown number of bloggers and hacks are feeling a little sweaty around the collar today, with a US judge ordering the disclosure of financial relationships that might have affected published articles and comment in the Oracle-versus-Google lawsuit.

The order follows FOSS Patents’ blogger Florian Mueller’s voluntary disclosure that he had a consulting relationship with Oracle.

In this (PDF) order, Judge William Alsup has ordered both parties to ‘fess up to which journalists and bloggers might have received money from them – excepting only income that’s derived from normal subscription fees.

“The Court is concerned that the parties and/or counsel herein may have retained or paid print or internet authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have and/or may publish comments on the issues in this case,” the order states.

The parties have until August 17 to provide the information to the court.

Judge Alsup stated that even though the epic case is almost over, disclosure of any cash-for-comment possible influence “by financial relationships to the parties” will be important to the nearly-inevitable appeal.

Oracle effectively backed down in the current proceedings after Judge Alsup’s decision that APIs can’t be copyrighted. In June, it accepted zero damages from Google, after a ruling that its patents weren’t infringed by the Android operating system. ®

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