The Android community received a shock when Qualcomm issued Digital Millennium Copyright Act take-down requests against 116 GitHub code repositories, affecting many Android developers. Although all of the requests have since been withdrawn, the possibility of further action being taken remains.
A number of well known entities were affected by the take-down requests, such as electronics giant Sony and the popular CyanogenMod ROM. Even files that were uploaded by Qualcomm themselves were included in the action.
The DMCA complaints were actually submitted by Cyveillance, a separate company that specialises in – amongst other things – digital asset protection. Cyveillance were acting on behalf of Qualcomm, and given that some of the latter’s own files were affected, probably using some form of automated copyright infringement detection.
A spokesperson for Qualcomm has explained the withdrawal of the take-down request to Ausdroid, stating:
“Since issuing these requests, we have been advised that at least one of these files may, in fact, not be Qualcomm Confidential.”
It is worth noting that the company spokesperson referred to ‘at least one’ file which they are now satisfied does not infringe Qualcomm’s copyright as originally thought. Given the large number of take-down request submitted, there remains uncertainty over the status of most of those files originally targeted.
Qualcomm’s spokesperson went on to explain that the company may now seek to contact GitHub project maintainers where concerns still remain.
“At this time, Qualcomm is retracting all of those DMCA take-down requests, and will be either reviewing such files further for possible approval for posting, or reaching out collaboratively to the project maintainers for assistance in addressing any remaining concerns,” the spokesperson stated.
Whilst the situation therefore remains unresolved, it is nonetheless encouraging that Qualcomm have stated they are looking to work collaboratively where concerns still remain. The company spokesperson also apologised to the recipients of the DMCA notices over the approach taken.