This is FUD. Dual licensing pertains to the entire implementation of the software or library. According to the trial result, if you took a piece of GPL software and reimplemented it completely, maintaining API compatibility, it would be “fair use.” Ignoring dual licensing would not be. That was the whole point. Of course, the API shouldn’t be copyrightable in the first place, because copyright isn’t supposed to extend to APIs:
Copyright protection is therefore not available for ideas or procedures for doing, making, or building things; scientific or technical methods or discoveries; business operations or procedures; mathematical principles; formulas or algorithms; or any other concept, process, or method of operation.
Oracle crapped the bed by getting a court to overturn a good verdict, forcing Google into this ridiculous fair use defense… but the GPL is not under threat from the idea of uncopyrightable APIs.
I wonder to what extent the jury’s decision was de facto based on the silliness of APIs being copyrighted, despite that not really being legally what they were deciding. Google couldn’t argue to the jury that the API wasn’t copyrighted, because the court had found otherwise as a matter of law, but their various exhibits really hinted in that direction anyway, something like: ok yes this is technically copyrighted, but look, it’s just a series of names on filing cabinets, surely naming your filing cabinet the same thing for compatibility purposes must be fair use. Which has a heavy coloring of “and it’s ridiculous it’s even copyrighted” unsaid but strongly implied. I could imagine it’s much easier to convince a jury that something is fair use if the jury is skeptical it’s even legitimately copyrighted in the first place.
Definitely FUD. Their was a lot more subtlety to this decision than “you can copy anything and claim fair use”. The specifics DO matter. Copying API declarations / function signatures / etc. is apparently fair use, at least in some cases. Nothing even guarantees this fair-use defense would hold up in a separate case with different details. But more to the point, this case wasn’t about the actual implementation code at all (barring the thing about rangeCheck, which was trivial). It’s not like Google were accused of copying the entire JDK library source code or anything. If that had been the case, the outcome would likely have been different - and rightly so.
With such a poor grasp of the issues at hand I’m not surprised that Oracle lost.
The only surprise is that Ars Technica actually agreed to publish it.