Not meaning to offend anyone but; to me a jury system is the most backward way of justice. Simply grab a random group of people of the street to essentially make life impacting decisions based on the theatrical performance of a lawyer.
It's like saying; Hey guys, we're short on brain surgeons, we're going to introduce brain surgeon duty. Everyone can cut meat, right?
That is because the jury system has been emasculated.
The Constitution in large part tries to lay out a minimum effective government, with as many checks and balances as possible to prevent that government tyrannizing the people.
Trial by jury was yet another check. If Congress and the President pass an unfair law, the courts are obliged to enforce it. But nobody can question a jury to know why they came to the decision that they did, and so juries are free to declare someone innocent if the law is bad. This is called jury nullification and is an honored part of the jury system. Surviving documents make it clear that this was the reason that the jury system wound up in the Constitution.
But the check has not worked as designed. In the 1800s employers sought, and got, anti-union laws. Juries refused to enforce them. The companies were clever, they sought and got laws requiring judges to misinform juries about their rights. You are only to decide on fact, you are not to decide on the law, etc. When they tried cases using unpopular laws and juries had received these instructions, the juries convicted people.
Those jury instructions have been modified over time, but still exist in some form. So much so that if someone states the honest truth it sounds radical. And that honest truth is that the jury system is supposed to a protection from bad government, and not a fairer way of determining the facts.
Have you ever been on a jury? I kinda thought that way too, then I served as a juror for a serious criminal case. I was very impressed with the result of the selection process (nice mix of race/gender/class that pretty accurately represents the city) and the seriousness with which nearly all the jurors took their task. People really wanted to get it right.
Just one data point, but I believe there are studies to back this up -- people have far more confidence in the jury system if they have been on a jury.
Maybe criminal cases are different. I was a juror recently for a civil case, and while I agree the jurors took their task seriously, most of them lacked the analytic intelligence required to rationally weigh the evidence. It came down to whose lawyers told the more emotionally compelling story.
The whole experience left me with much less faith in the jury system.
"We have a criminal jury system which is superior to any in the world; and its efficiency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve men every day who don't know anything and can't read." -Mark Twain, 1880
I can't speak for everyone, but for me, flip the names on the case and I'll take the same side on the issues as I do now. What Oracle's argument has pivoted into is catastrophic if they win with it. It makes our patent mess look pedestrian. It's so catastrophic that I don't think there's any chance of it actually staying in their favor, even if it takes direct legislative action, but ye gods will it cause an epic, industry-stalling mess in the meantime.
Agreed. But the experts that have told me this have been both "plaintiff's experts" and "defense experts" (this is in pharmaceutical product liability) and they maintain this opinion about their juries irrespective of winning or losing.
The problem isn't with the jury system, it's with the fact that juries aren't allowed more freedom to function as they should. The purpose of a jury is to act as a buffer between government and defendants. Before the government, or a plaintiff using government's power, can impose on a defendant imprisonment or a fine, a jury of his peers must agree to it. If a law or its application is unjust, a jury should prevent it's application. See the Fully Informed Jury Association: http://fija.org/
The jury is given a lot more guidance and instruction than what you see on those forms. The judge spoon feeds them the law and the experts spoon feed them the technical information. And of course the judge retains substantial discretion to set aside the conclusions of the jury. The stuff about "theatrical performance" is more TV than reality. It's very important as a lawyer to be able to explain complicated concepts to the jury in a way they understand, but that's clarity not theatrics.
The jury is mostly there to weigh the credibility of the witnesses and experts. E.g. do we believe this Google witness when he says he didn't know about X? We do this for a very sensible reason, which is that it makes the legal system credible. It's very easy to lose faith in the judicial system because you don't trust judges, etc. It's easier to put your faith in a jury of your peers. And at the end of the day, as a dispute resolution mechanism that's what the judicial system depends on: faith that it will render fair judgments.
According to Groklaw the jury has not indicated an issue with question 4, but rather with one of the 3 first
Their (groklaw) quote is:
"Judge Alsup tells them they don't have to reach agreement on question 4. That's just advice for him, because he has to decide that in the end. No, they tell him they are at an impasse on one of the first three questions on the form."
Yes - for those not following the trial, the judge has told the jury that SSO are copyrightable, and if the jury finds against Google, then the judge will decide whether or not SSO actually is copyrightable. So he may render their decision moot.
Basically he's giving the jury a chance to render a narrower verdict rather than answer the broader SSO question outright.
How so? Any jury, technical or not, should find 1A for Oracle.
"Has Oracle proven that Google has infringed the overall structure, sequence and organization of copyrighted works?"
As far as I can tell nobody disputes that Google lifted the Java API's structure, sequence, and organization from Sun, and the judge told them to consider SSO copyrightable. Most programmers think it's ok to rip off an API because otherwise the world will burn, or something, but 1A is asking what Google did not whether it was illegal.
My bet is the jury is held up on the fair use, either for implementation (1B) or documentation (2B). These are vague questions that can easily go either way. My bet is that they find 1B for Google (implementing the API is ok) but find 2B for Oracle (reprinting the API SSO is not ok). You have to implement the API to make it compatible, but you don't have to republish the API.
I don't think either side disputes that Google implemented a portion of the Java API, which they copied from Apache Harmony. But they certainly seem to disagree on what qualifies as a meaningful definition of SSO, with Oracle arguing that both the entirety of Java and individual packages qualify as SSO.
So it would change nothing. In which case, why have them copyrightable at all? If companies aren't going to take advantage of it anyhow, it seems additionally pointless.
Fundamentally, the main reason to copyright something is to restrict others' use of it. Letting companies restrict their APIs' use would be unfortunate, so if it there is really no effect either way they should not be copyrightable.
SCO/Calderra would have loved to be able to claim ownership of libc for all *nix OSes. That's the kind of thing this case could be moving towards. Im sure somebody would love their tithes for SQL, too.
Why do you assume the Jury has no technical knowledge? Lawyers often seek engineers and technical minded people in voir dire for technical cases. Not subject matter experts, but a programmer or mechanical engineer has a high chance of being sought after by both sides.
I understand there could be a bias, but on the other hand these people are making interpretations of the law that could have very large consequences for a long time. Self described non-geeks are going to have very little knowledge and potentially little care of those consequences
The judge should have filtered for bias in other ways