Oracle-Google judge wants companies to disclose any paid relationships with press, bloggers

Open-source blogger Florian Mueller previously revealed his relationship with Oracle

The judge overseeing the lawsuit between Oracle and Google over the Android mobile OS wants to know the names of any writers who have a paid relationship with either company.

"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," Judge William Alsup said in an order filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. "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."

Both Oracle and Google must disclose by Aug. 17 the names of "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," Alsup added.

Florian Mueller, a prominent blogger on open-source and patent issues who has followed the case closely on his blog, previously disclosed that he had formed a consulting relationship with Oracle. "As an independent analyst and blogger, I will express only my own opinions, which cannot be attributed to any one of my diversity of clients," Mueller said.

It wasn't immediately clear Tuesday whether Alsup was aware of Mueller's relationship with Oracle, or had an inkling that others besides Mueller may have similar arrangements with either Oracle or Google.

Google didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger declined comment.

Oracle sued Google in August 2010, alleging that Android violated a number of copyrights and patents Oracle holds on the Java programming language. While Google largely prevailed in the case, Oracle is planning an appeal.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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