Feeds

Qualcomm fires DMCA shotgun at alleged code thieves on GitHub – including itself

Takedown notices issued to dozens of accounts

Reducing security risks from open source software

A company claiming to represent Qualcomm has shut down a number of repositories on source-code sharing site GitHub under provisions of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) – including at least one repository belonging to Qualcomm itself.

In a letter published by GitHub this week, web intelligence outfit Cyveillance claims to have been authorized by Qualcomm to issue takedown notices to sites that unlawfully publish its copyrighted works – in this case, its source code.

"Cyveillance has recently discovered the unauthorized publication, disclosure, and copying of highly sensitive, confidential, trade secret, and copyright-protected documents on the below web site," the letter reads, referring to GitHub. "Specifically, we have confirmed that the documents whose locations and filenames identified below are confidential and proprietary to Qualcomm and were posted without Qualcomm's permission."

The letter goes on to list links to 116 files that Cyveillance claims are infringing, scattered across some 45 different GitHub accounts.

Judging by the filenames, however, it's hard to see how all of them could infringe Qualcomm IP, because they're all over the map. Some of them are C source code files, while others are written in C++, C#, Java, Objective-C, and even XML. One even appears to be a config file.

Even stranger, one of the repositories that has been flagged is "qcamain_open_hal_public," a source code tree belonging to GitHub user "qca" – otherwise known as Qualcomm Atheros, a division of the very company whose IP its source code is alleged to infringe.

Of course, it's possible that someone managed to sneak Qualcomm trade secrets into all of these documents, regardless of what language they were written in or who purports to own them. But there's no way to determine that now, because in keeping with its policy, GitHub has already taken down the repositories in question. Even if just one file was named in Cyveillance's letter, the whole repo has been made inaccessible.

Under the provisions of the DMCA, developers who feel their files have been wrongfully taken down can file a counter-notice with GitHub, asserting under penalty of perjury that their code is legit and non-infringing. At that point, if Qualcomm doesn't file a lawsuit within 14 business days or so, GitHub is free to reinstate the files.

Qualcomm has yet to respond to The Reg's request for clarification on the matter. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.