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Judge Wants Clarity on Google’s Influence Peddling

Google and Oracle were supposed to turn in their separate lists last Friday

District Court Judge William Alsup hit Google upside the head Monday when he told the company that "in the court's view, Google has failed to comply with the August 7 order" to disclose which bloggers and journalists it paid to write about the Java trial.

Google and Oracle were supposed to turn in their separate lists last Friday.

Oracle told the court it had a consulting relationship with FOSS Patents author Florian Mueller, a fact that was already well known.

Google told the court that "Neither Google nor its counsel has paid an author, journalist, commentator or blogger to report or comment on any issues in this case. And neither Google nor its counsel has been involved in any quid pro quo in exchange for coverage of or articles about the issues in this case," provoking the judge to retort that "The August 7 order was not limited to authors ‘paid...to report or comment' or to ‘quid pro quo' situations. Rather, the order was designed to bring to light authors whose statements about the issues in the case might have been influenced by the receipt of money from Google or Oracle."

"Just as a treatise on the law may influence the courts, public commentary that purports to be independent may have an influence on the courts and/or their staff if only in subtle ways," he observed. (Pity this guy didn't run the SCO trial.)

Google now has until Friday, August 24 to name names.

"Google suggests that it has paid so many commenters that it will be impossible to list them all," Alsup wrote. "Please simply do your best but the impossible is not required. Oracle managed to do it."

Alsup has not given a reason for the exercise.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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