Google’s Android Contains Legal Landmines for Developers and Device Manufacturers

Google has plenty of Android-related legal troubles in its lawsuit with Oracle, but the current lawsuit not Android’s only potential problem. Google’s handling of Linux code also raises issues. That’s because Linux is released under GPLv2, which requires that any code based on Linux also be released under GPLv2. However, because GPLv2 isn’t particularly business-friendly, Google released Android under the Apache Software License. While the company justifies the practice because the code has been altered, it may not be enough to pass legal muster.

Edward J. Naughton writes, “In short, I have serious doubts that Google’s approach to the Bionic Library works under U.S. copyright law. At a minimum, Google has taken a significant gamble. While that may be fine for Google, because it knows about and understands the risks, many Android developers and device manufacturers are taking that same risk unknowingly.”

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