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.
The update server for Nexus devices has been disabled until we can find a way forward from the ongoing license violations.— CopperheadOS (@CopperheadOS) November 10, 2017
It's not okay to disrespect our non-commercial licensing terms for those official builds by flashing and selling it on hundreds of phones. That's over now.
On Sunday, OTA updates returned:
We've enabled over-the-air updates again to avoid impacting our remaining customers on Nexus devices and other legitimate users. However, downloads on the site will no longer be available and we'll be making changes to the update client for Nexus devices. https://t.co/jJTI6fpy5b— CopperheadOS (@CopperheadOS) November 11, 2017
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. ®