Despite a lot of fun Motorola hardware leaks lately (even some love for AT&T), Moto would like to remind us that they aren't much friendlier than Apple when it comes to unintended dissemination of their intellectual property.

The recently leaked update to Android 2.2 for the DROID X has been quite a popular download for daredevil users, and apparently Motorola has taken notice. While the ROM is now undoubtedly in the hands of every modding and development community member who has any interest in it, that isn't stopping Motorola from issuing cease and desist letters (e-mails) to those hosting the file.

E-mails from Motorola's Director of Information Security Richard Rushing have been sent to sites like MyDroidWorld, who were kind enough to post the contents...

Pursuant to 17 USC 512(c)(3)(A), this communication serves as a statement that:

(1). I the duly authorized representative of the exclusive rights holder Motorola for Droid X Keyboard Software, know as “repackaged-signed.apk”

The follow URL contains the software which we have confirmed as Motorola Copyrighted Software

http://www.xxxxxxxxx.com/downloads/update.zip

(2). These exclusive rights are being violated by material available upon your site at the following URL(s):

http://www.xxxxxxxx.com/downloads/update.zip

(3) I have a good faith belief that the use of this material in such a fashion is not authorized by the copyright holder, the copyright holder's agent, or the law;

(4) Under penalty of perjury in a United States court of law, I state that the information contained in this notification is accurate, and that I am authorized to act on the behalf of the exclusive rights holder for the material in question;

(5) I may be contacted by the following methods:

Richard Rushing
Senior Director Information Security
Motorola

[email protected]
Office xxx-xxx-xxxx
Mobile xxx-xxx-xxxx

I hereby request that you remove or disable access to this material as it appears on your service in as expedient a fashion as possible. Thank you for your kind cooperation.

Richard Rushing
Motorola
Senior Director Information Security
[email protected]
Office xxx-xxx-xxxx
Mobile xxx-xxx-xxxx

At this point you may be thinking, "But Android is open source!" and indeed it is - the problem here lies in Motorola's additions to the Android OS.

Motorola is using the fact that the DROID X's keyboard is copyrighted software to make a legal argument that the download package as a whole needs to be removed from the website in question. This is well-within their rights as a copyright holder, though it doesn't exactly make them seem friendly. As an analogy, this is sort of like producing unauthorized commemorative NBA team dinner plates; even if you don't sell them, you're still violating copyright.

Motorola could have easily listed a dozen (or more) pieces of copyrighted software on the DROID X that are part of the update package. But, if they did list all the copyright violations it would be a bit like shooting themselves in the foot - a savvy modder could then remove the infringing software piece by piece, invalidating Moto's claim.

Really, it's hard to say if Motorola is just blowing smoke, as C&D letters are pretty effective at scaring their recipients with the possibility of litigation. Continued infringement by a noteworthy website would be the only way to see how far Moto's willing to go on this one - but frankly, I don't see this fight elevating beyond scary words.

Source: MyDroidWorld via Engadget