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Google Handhelds Hardware Hacking The Courts

Google Serves a Cease-and-Desist On Android Modder 336

Posted by kdawson
from the doubleplus-ungoogly dept.
Several readers sent in word that Google has served a Cease and Desist order to Cyanogen, one of the most prolific Android modders: his CyanogenMod is enjoyed by 30,000 users. The move is puzzling. Gizmodo wonders what Google's game is, and Lauren Weinstein calls the move "not of the high 'Googley' caliber" that one would expect of the company.
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Google Serves a Cease and Desist On Android Modder

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  • License missing (Score:5, Informative)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Friday September 25, 2009 @12:22PM (#29540695) Journal

    Google Maps, Google Talk and Gmail and so on require a license to distribute them. Cyanogen doesn't have one. Google C&D's because of that. Case closed.

  • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:3, Informative)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Friday September 25, 2009 @12:26PM (#29540745) Journal

    Android itself is, but of course some software written for it can be closed or even, hold your breath, commercial.

    Google Maps, Google Talk and Gmail apps are closed software.

    And before someone jumps on the "but I want the whole thing to be open!!", its more open when developers have choices.

  • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:3, Informative)

    by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Friday September 25, 2009 @12:30PM (#29540787)

    Did you read the article? It clearly says that its todo with shipping google's closed apps like gmail/gmaps/etc. The OS is free but much of the software is not. Personally it seams pretty dumb to stop people handing out your free apps, but it is definitely within their rights.

  • Heres my 2 cents (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2009 @12:50PM (#29541003)

    Cyanogen has been modding for awhile without any trouble from Google. Recently he released a rom that was basically android 1.6 in full, including the new improved version of android market, way before the rest of android users will get it. I think thats what Google is mostly bent out of shape about, hopefully they can reach some sort of peaceful agreement that allows cyanogen to keep modding. His roms are great and make the g1 a powerful device.

  • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:2, Informative)

    by rjolley (1118681) on Friday September 25, 2009 @12:58PM (#29541089)

    "its more open when developers have choices."

    Not necessarily so for the user.

    That doesn't even make sense.

  • Re:License missing (Score:5, Informative)

    by BlueBlade (123303) <mafortier@gmai l . c om> on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:11PM (#29541221)

    Like the parent said, that only applies to trademarks and not to copyright.

  • Re:say what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by R2.0 (532027) on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:15PM (#29541283)

    "Does anyone really believe that Google is the "do no evil" company that it used to be, pre-IPO?"

    No, I don't believe that, because they never said that

    Their motto is "Don't be evil." There's a subtle, but I believe important, difference.

  • by Mascot (120795) on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:20PM (#29541333)

    This has nothing to do with developing for Android. It has to do with illegally distributing somebody else's software for the Android.

    Any developer too dim to realize the difference between those two, I don't think I'd want any software from anyways.

  • A few details (Score:5, Informative)

    by rickb928 (945187) on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:28PM (#29541461) Homepage Journal

    From TMONews [tmonews.com]:

    "20:03] google just cease and desisted me
    [20:15] cyanogenmod is probably going to be dead
    [20:16] i'm opening a dialogue with them
    [20:20] no they are talking specifically about the closed-source google apps
    [20:20] and how i am not licensed to distribute them
    [20:20] my argument is that i only develop for google-experience devices which are already licensed for these apps
    [20:20] so we'll see what they say
    [20:20] maybe we can work something out
    [20:24] maps, market, talk, gmail, youtube"20:03] google just cease and desisted me
    [20:15] cyanogenmod is probably going to be dead
    [20:16] i'm opening a dialogue with them
    [20:20] no they are talking specifically about the closed-source google apps
    [20:20] and how i am not licensed to distribute them
    [20:20] my argument is that i only develop for google-experience devices which are already licensed for these apps
    [20:20] so we'll see what they say
    [20:20] maybe we can work something out
    [20:24] maps, market, talk, gmail, youtube"

    Probably he will have to drop those apps. This will make loading Cyanogen a little more difficult. Next, will Google prevent him from using those apps to test his distro, or will they make it impossible to run them under his ROMs?

    Somehow, this is beginning to look like the end of Google the Nice. The beginning of the open Google the Evil.

    Kinda sad, but now that Android is important, the game changes.

  • Re:License missing (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:40PM (#29541595)

    Quit being such a fucking LOOSER (rhymes with GOOSER) and learn how to spell "lose" (rhymes with "news") correctly.

  • Re:License missing (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:53PM (#29541749)

    He included the applications in the ROM. He is distributing closed source apps, that specifically are meant to only be distributed by Google themselves.

  • by argent (18001) <peter@slashdot.2 ... com minus physic> on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:56PM (#29541785) Homepage Journal

    This isn't any different from the Second Life client where third party packagers have to leave out certain closed-source components that Linden Lab uses. When you use them, you take the SL client downloaded from Linden Lab, and add the updated open source components. Most open source clients include an installer now that copies the closed source components from your original SL directory into the new application.

  • Re:License missing (Score:3, Informative)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:04PM (#29541881) Homepage Journal

    Trademarks have nothing to do with distribution, or at least not in the way you think.

    If I buy a Nike T-Shirt. It has a Nike logo on it. If I sell it to you, did I just commit trademark infringement? No? Why not?

    I can write Gmail, Gmail, Gmail all day long and Google can't sue me so long as I'm referring to Google's product and I'm not using it to imply that I am the provider of or affiliated with Gmail or Google in any way.

    Now if the binaries are modified in anyway, they are NOT Gmail and Google Maps and Google Docs. At that point, I'm trying to pass off a derivative work as Gmail or Google Maps. Now I'm infringing on copyrights and trademarks!

  • Re:GPL Violation? (Score:3, Informative)

    by aristotle-dude (626586) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:12PM (#29541983)

    I thought Android was supposed to be Free Software / Open Source Software?

    The original copyright holder is not bound by the GPL as long as they are either the only contributor, have all copyrights assigned before a change is accepted or has agreement from all holders of copyright. The GPL only applies to other people who are not the original authors. But this is not about open source code but rather coded source google apps distributed with android.

  • by hidden (135234) on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:19PM (#29542091)

    At least on the Rogers Dream (Canadian version of the G1) Cyanogen and similar are the ONLY way to run the phone well..

    With the stock firmware timestamps are broken (as in text messages showing up in the wrong time zone, making the sorting of a conversation all wrong) and Performance is miserable.
    By contrast Cyanogenmod more than solves these problems, transforming it from a badly flawed phone that makes Android look really BAD, to an excellent that makes android look great.
    I'm not exaggerating when I say that, given what a poor job rogers has done resolving serious bugs like the timestamp one, I would never buy another android phone from Rogers, if I were going to be stuck using the stock firmware. However, as long as the modder community remains in play, I am a happy user who would be happy to buy a new device that came out.

    I guess my point is, if google starts to shutdown the modders, they really are actually pushing customers (well, at least one) away.

  • Re:License missing (Score:3, Informative)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Friday September 25, 2009 @07:53PM (#29545359) Homepage

    If I sell or give you a genuine boxed copy of Microsoft Windows(tm), what law am I breaking?

    Possibly none. Microsoft might have a different opinion on the matter.

    But these guys aren't selling you a genuine boxed copy of the Google apps. They're selling you unlicensed copies which carry the Google trade dress, including logos and other collateral.

    You say, "So what? They're the same apps" -- which is exactly why trademark exists in the first place. Because it has registered trademarks, only Google is permitted to conduct trade using those marks. It doesn't matter if the binaries are bit-for-bit identical. Google gets to say whether the apps are "authentic" or not.

  • Re:License missing (Score:3, Informative)

    by dangitman (862676) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:04PM (#29545689)
    WTF? How do they pronounce it in other English speaking countries? I've heard plenty of British people say those words, and they still rhyme.

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