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Copperhead Privacy-Enabled Licensing

Posted by Team Copperhead on October 18, 2022

Embracing sustainability and protecting privacy

Building a software business takes grit. Surviving the trials and crises of bootstrapping a small business, while wrestling with giants like Google and the Android Open Source Project has yielded countless lessons for us at Copperhead. Perhaps the most important lesson has been that the business aspect of maintaining software is as vital as the code which defines the product itself. All great products follow the same cycle for success: develop, deploy, iterate. CopperheadOS, while a great product in and itself, continues to evolve based on the needs of the market and the requests from our partners. Businesses are built on recurring business, not only for revenue but also for support and feedback. The most important and prevalent ask from Copperhead Partners since we released CopperheadOS in 2015 was "how can we break down the cost of the product to a monthly, renewable, license?". This is an understandable ask. Copperhead Partners need to build their business and need to receive feedback from customers, both satisfied and not. Customers purchasing bulk devices and walking away from the sale, never again to be seen, does not help Copperhead or the Partner network to understand the needs of those customers.

  • Are they happy?
    • If not, what could we do to better keep those customers?
  • Do they have an idea on what could be done better?

In that respect, Copperhead has dedicated nearly two full years of development to our Licensing and Sales Partner Portal systems. This bespoke suite of software allows us to control access to the most recent updates for CopperheadOS and distribute them only to officially licensed CopperheadOS devices. Further, our third-party Sales Partners will have access to the Copperhead Licensing Portal where they will be able to generate official license keys to distribute to their end-user clients.

Does CopperheadOS have DRM or any privacy-breaking process for tracking licenses?

No. CopperheadOS devices are licensed using pseudonym-ID’s that cannot be tracked back to their source. Copperhead cannot target users. Access to Licensed features is purely based on a device being licensed or not.

Licenses are not based on any device identifiers and Copperhead has no access to device identifiers.


The most obvious question when determining how to provide monthly licenses on devices is how to keep those devices private. License renewals in cloud SaaS offerings are generally subscription-based which means the customer loses access to the service if they stop paying their bill, which is great for any service that wants to retain it’s customers privacy. Selling mobility solutions and Operating Systems is a more complex problem. We would know! Copperhead at one point was selling devices on a web store. Mobile devices are sold with a large upfront fee for the OS, device and support. Companies often offset the cost of hardware by selling user-data to advertising networks (or the OS company..). Copperhead combines the typical mobility deployment with the SaaS approach of restricting access to Licensed features without requiring access to the device.

"If you aren't paying for the Operating System, it is highly likely that you and your data is included in the price tag."

What does "Officially licensed" mean?

When you buy an Apple or Microsoft product, there are great pains taken to protect consumers from counterfeit or imitation products. These measures are also to ensure that the business which created the product being sold is not cut out of the revenue stream. Both of these factors play into the design of the CopperheadOS licensing system and Sales Partner Portal, but were far from the only consideration. The privacy of CopperheadOS users is also paramount, and Copperhead considers user data a toxic asset to avoid contact with.

  • Sale of licenses are handled by third-party Sales Partners and Distributors.
  • License IDs are pseudonymous identifiers generated by our secure back-end. Each is linked to a Key which is exchanged between the device and our Updates server, allowing or denying the download of over-the-air updates.

When you have an official licensed CopperheadOS device, you know for certain:

  • You have an official build of CopperheadOS
  • You will have access to the latest CopperheadOS Updates, which include cutting edge features and security patches.
  • You have access to live support through your Sales Partner and the Copperhead Support team.

As a tool for generating revenue we are confident that our Licensing Portal will keep CopperheadOS development not only funded, but growing. Working hand in hand with our Sales Partner network we can bring great privacy and security ideas to the market, while adding our own source available privacy focused features, optimizations and user experience.

Selling CopperheadOS

With new devices around the corner, the buy-in for CopperheadOS has never been a better deal. Find out how you can become an official CopperheadOS Sales Partner contact partners@copperhead.co, or get in touch with out Sales Partner network at info@copperhead.co.

Download our licensing information sheet

Privacy-enabled licensing