Oracle says it would never give money to any outside blogger or journalist who writes about its ongoing litigation against Google – except Florian Mueller, that is. On the other hand, the database giant says Google employs an insidious "network of influencers" that it uses to "shape public perceptions" about the suit.
Oracle made its accusations in a statement filed in response to Judge William Alsup's request that both companies disclose any paid relationships they may have with journalists, bloggers, and other media commentators, as Groklaw's PJ Jones reports.
In Google's own statement, the online ad slinger says it has no specific relationships to report:
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.
Oracle also denies that it has any paid relationships with the media, with the exception of Mueller, who disclosed his relationship with the company in April.
According to Oracle, it retained Mueller – who describes himself as "an award-winning intellectual property analyst-turned activist" – as a consultant on "competition-related matters," and that it did so after he had begun writing about the case. Jacobs further describes Mueller as "a frequent critic of Oracle."
Both companies admit that their own employees may have commented on the case in blogs, but both say that they have not paid any of their employees to do so and that they don't keep track of what their staffers post.
Google goes on to acknowledge, however, that "a large volume of material" has been written about the case, both in print publications and on the internet, and that some of the authors of that material may have indirect relationships with the Chocolate Factory via its philanthropic works or its participation in trade groups.
One can almost picture Oracle attorney Michael Jacobs' accusing finger trembling as he shouts, "A-HA!"
In Oracle's statement, Jacobs characterizes those same indirect relationships as a deliberately orchestrated strategy designed to "advance Google's intellectual property agenda."
"This network is extensive," Jacobs writes, "including attorneys, bloggers, lobbyists, trade associations, academics, and bloggers, and its focus extends beyond pure intellectual property issues to competition/antitrust issues."
Oracle even goes so far as to cite examples. One is Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, which Oracle says is funded "in large part" by Google. Another is Jonathan Band, co-author of the book Interfaces on Trial 2.0, who the database giant says belongs to other Google-backed trade associations.
At press time, neither Black nor Band had responded to requests for comment from El Reg.
Oracle beats a familiar drum
In its statement, Google writes that it publishes a list of the trade associations and political organizations that it funds on its US Public Policy Transparency Page, but that it has not paid any of these organizations to comment on the case, even if their members have done so.
"It would be extraordinarily difficult and perhaps impossible for Google to identify all individuals who have commented on the issues in the case and who are also affiliated with one of these organizations," Google's attorney, Robert Van Nest, writes.
Perhaps Oracle could help Google with that. In 2000, it notoriously hired private investigators to comb through trash during Microsoft's antitrust trial to find links between Redmond and various industry and political organizations. At the time, Microsoft issued the following statement:
Oracle's attacks on trade associations and public policy groups are disingenuous and hypocritical. Obviously, Oracle has funded or supported numerous groups that have attacked Microsoft in recent years, such as ProComp, the Progress & Freedom Foundation, the Software & Information Industry Association, and the Computer & Communications Industry Association. While we do not agree with the views or tactics of these groups, we respect their right to express their views.
Oracle has not disclosed what trade organizations or political groups it funds currently, if any. ®