I'm developing an application for Android/Java. This application is a kind of password manager, so I'm storing encrypted passwords under the hood of a master password. There are a number of encryption algorythms DES/AES/BlowFish/TwoFish and so on. My intention is to develop application which is free of commercial copyright issues. So the questions are:

  1. If I use built-in Java encryption API's (e.g. DES/AES)- does it mean that I will be free from possible commercial interests of DES/AES alike copyright holders?
  2. Encryption algorythms sometimes are export limited, keeping in mind that I'm from Moscow/Russia - are there any implications of that fact?

Any other thoughts would be helpful.


As stated before, algorithms are not copyrighted, only individual implementations. Algorithms can be patented, however. You should read the licensing information for your platform to ensure that you are in the purview of their license grants. Presuming that you are, in effect, dynamically linking to an encryption library provided by the platform, you would not be distributing any encryption software at all, merely software that makes use of an existing capability. This may reduce some headaches for you but, as always, you should consult an attorney to get competent answers (and someone to hold accountable if the answers are wrong!).

  • Algorithms being patentable depends on your legal environment. Some places do allow patents on algorithms (the US) and some don't (the EU, its patent office notwithstanding). – Frank Shearar Dec 22 '10 at 12:23
  • Absolutely. I sometimes tend to forget that not every jurisdiction shares our insane view of what is patentable. That said, even if the originating jurisdiction does not allow patenting of algorithms, if the system is distributed in a jurisdiction that does there may be issues. – Aneurysm9 Dec 22 '10 at 15:04

IMO, algorithms are not copyrighted, libraries are. But if you are using something that comes by default from JAVA, then there will not be any copyrighted issues.

  1. IMO, you will be free, it is platform owner pain to resolve those issues. However GOST algorithm is not free.
  2. As far as i know, you must licence your business in FSB if you want to work with encryption as company, dunno if it applies to individuals. GOST algorithm is export limited. But Others, you have mentioned, are not.

Anyway I'd suggest to ask good lawyer about those issues, because i haven't tracked last changes in this field.

  • I don't care about those f*cked KGB issues :) And I don't plan to use GOST algorythm... Anyway thanx – Barmaley Dec 22 '10 at 10:06

IANAL. My take: You are only using what already exists on the platform. There can't be a copyright issue or patent issue or export issue for something that will be on the device whether or not your software is installed.

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