Rimini, an enterprise software support provider, provides Oracle’s enterprise software updates to licensees of Oracle’s software. In doing so, Rimini competes with Oracle’s direct maintenance services. To obtain Oracle’s software, Rimini used automated downloading tools and copied the software from Oracle’s website. Oracle sued Rimini for copyright infringement and claims under the California Comprehensive Data Access and Fraud Act and the Nevada Computer Crimes Law. A jury found against Rimini on the claims and awarded Oracle $124 million. Rimini appealed, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus with respect to the California and Nevada state computer law claims.
Addressing the issue of copyright infringement, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s finding that Rimini infringed Oracle’s copyright by copying its software. The Court rejected Rimini’s argument that the licenses held by Oracle licensees gave Rimini the right to copy the software under the license of one customer for work done for other customers. The Court pointed out that licensees may hire a third party, such as Rimini, to maintain their software for them, but nothing in the licenses permits licensees to grant a non-party to the license a general right to copy proprietary software.
The Court reduced the amount of the award by approximately $50 million, reversed the permanent injunction against Rimini, and reversed the district court’s determination that Rimini violated California’s Unfair Competition Law.