Judge orders Oracle and Google to disclose if they paid bloggers

August 8, 2012
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    The lawsuit between Oracle and Google is not yet over, and Judge Alsup orders the two parties to disclose if they paid bloggers or journalists to cover the trial. This may prove important in the next trial, considering that Oracle is planning to appeal Judge Alsup’s verdict.

    Here’s the text of the order:

    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. Although proceedings in this matter are almost over, they are not fully over yet and, in any event, the disclosure required by this order would be of use on appeal or on any remand to make clear whether any treatise, article, commentary or analysis on the issues posed by this case are possibly influenced by financial relationships to the parties or counsel. Therefore, each side and its counsel shall file a statement herein clear identifying all authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have reported or commented on any issues in this case and who have received money (other than normal subscription fees) from the party or its counsel during the pendency of this action.

    This disclosure shall be filed by NOON ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 2012.

    Back in April, the controversial patents blogger Florian Mueller, from FOSSPatents.com admitted that he was being paid by Oracle as a “consultant” (after admitting he was paid by Microsoft earlier). Mueller had received money from  Oracle while he was covering the Oracle vs Google case. As critics pointed out, some of Mueller’s posts were more or less biased in Oracle’s favor. Larry Ellison’s  company wasn’t able to convince the jury or the judge of the merits of its case, and Google eventually won the trial. The verdict of the trial practically dismissed Florian Mueller’s and other watcher’s assessment of the case, both prior and during the lawsuit.

    Google has so far confirmed that it’s going to comply with the judge’s latest order, but Oracle wasted no time in accusing them of paying bloggers as well. One of the blogs that ended up on the winner’s side is Groklaw, which was also on the right side of the argument when SCO went after Linux vendors a few years back.

    It’s certainly possible that Google made some donations to Groklaw or other media outlets, but, to me, Groklaw appears to be a pretty objective blog that simply gets it right most of the time, and likes to help companies against bogus patent infringement accusations. This time that company happened to be Google.

    We’ll find out soon enough, on August 17, if either company paid other bloggers. I think it’s important to know, just to see where the loyalties lie in the complex tech world.

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