CopperheadOS stops updates to thwart knock-off phone floggers

Hardened Android vendor found third parties eating its lunch

The folk in charge of the hardened Android distribution CopperheadOS have run into problems with licence violations. Over the weekend, they temporarily disabled over-the-air updates for Nexus devices, and pulled some downloads from their website.

The company complained it discovered a knock-off business – people taking its OS images, flashing them onto Nexus phones, and selling them outside its licence terms.

The operating system is licenced under a non-commercial Creative Commons licence (here, for example), but the company found people flashing and selling Nexus phones by the hundreds.

The CopperheadOS business model is either to onsell Pixel or Nexus devices with the operating system pre-installed, or for customers to buy their own phone and send it to the company for flashing. Third parties can also sell the hardened OS – if they negotiate a licence with the company.

On Sunday, OTA updates returned:

As the Tweet notes, the company also disabled the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X links on its Website, although an individual with sufficient skill can still get the source code from the GitHub repos. ®


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