Android News

Google adds licensing service to combat pirated Android apps

July 27, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka

Android OS


Android currently has copy-protection services designed to prevent unauthorized use of applications, but that hasn’t stopped people from cracking those protections and distributing pirated apps. Android team member Eric Chu just announced that Google will be implementing a new way of protecting software through the use of licensing services.

Applications uploaded to the Android Market can now be updated to include code that authenticates the user’s right to use that particular app.  When launched, the app would make a call to the Market to ensure that a user has purchased the app and has a right to use it before performing any tasks. Applications targeting Android 1.5 or higher can include libraries that provide real-time authentication.

My years of computer use has taught me that people willing to steal software will find a way around restraints, but it’s good to see that Google is at least making an attempt to better secure paid apps. The current system isn’t working and it’s best to give developers another method to protect their work.

Developers interested in implementing the new tools should visit the Licensing Your Applications section of the Android Developer Guide.

Using the service, you can apply a flexible licensing policy on an application-by-application basis — each application can enforce licensing in the way most appropriate for it. If necessary, an application can apply custom constraints based on the licensing status obtained from Android Market. For example, an application can check the licensing status and then apply custom constraints that allow the user to run it unlicensed for a specific number of times, or for a specific validity period. An application can also restrict use of the application to a specific device, in addition to any other constraints.

[Google] thanks, Chris!