Startup News Digest 3/30/2018

Our weekly take on some of the biggest stories in startup and tech policy. To receive this weekly digest in your inbox, sign up at

The Big Story: Federal appeals court sides with Oracle, against fair use for API software. The long-brewing legal battle between Google and Oracle took a turn this week that could harm innovation and cost Google billions. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that Google’s use of Java in its Android operating system was not protected by fair use exceptions in copyright law.

As Evan explained in our statement on the ruling, “this is a terrible decision for startups and tech innovators everywhere” and “a huge setback for commonsense principles of openness and creative reuse.”

“Congress and the courts have created a deliberate balance between maintaining a competitive marketplace and protecting software copyrights,” Evan said. “This decision threatens to upend that balance, limiting opportunities for innovators to build new interoperable products, undermining the viability of many software startups and diminishing the creativity that copyright law is meant to promote.”

Policy Roundup:

Court challenge before code solution.
According to an FBI internal watchdog report, the FBI pursued a court challenge to compel Apple to unlock an iPhone connected to the San Bernardino shooter before exhausting technical solutions to unlock the device.

Zuckerberg to testify. Following the controversy over Cambridge Analytica’s access to Facebook user data, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he will testify in front of Congress.

Court allows Backpage case to proceed. A federal court rejected a motion to dismiss filed by—the notorious classifieds website that was the target of recently-passed legislation that makes changes to online platform and speech protections—meaning the case against the site will continue.

SpaceX gets green light for Internet. This week, the FCC approved SpaceX’s application to deliver broadband service by satellite.

FCC eyeing security rules. Amid broader concerns about the national security impacts of tech products and services made abroad, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said this week that he will propose rules banning the use of government funds to buy equipment from companies that pose threats to U.S. communications networks.

Startup Roundup:

#StartupsEverywhere: Missoula, Montana.
The “Treasure State” of Montana is rapidly becoming a trove of high-growth startups and innovators. This week, we talked to Paul Gladen of the Blackstone LaunchPad, a university entrepreneurial education program brought to Montana with the help of Sen. Jon Tester. Paul believes an educational process that helps legislators understand the needs of the 21st century economy could accelerate startup growth nationwide, as was the case in Montana.

Neighbor to the north. Join Engine at 1776 next week for a panel on supporting women businesses on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border.