judge ordered Oracle, Google to “Name their Abettors”
With the epic legal battle between Google and Oracle winding down, Judge William Alsup today made an unusual demand: the parties need to tell the court who its paid advocates are.
Alsup is worried that Google and Oracle 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 information could “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.”
We know of at least one blogger who fits the description: Florian Mueller of the FOSS Patents blog disclosed in April that he counts Oracle as a client. If Oracle and Google comply with the order, we may discover that others involved in the public debate are on the take from one of the parties in the case.
But it’s not clear that such an order is constituent with the Constitution. At least one legal scholar, Eric Goldman of Santa Clara University, has questioned whether the order is constitutional. Watch this space for more details on the constitutional implications of the order.
Full text of the order included below:
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. It is so ordered.”