In order to maintain the "open" aspect of the platform, the onboard Android Application distribution system (Android Market) CAN NOT be the only method for getting third party apps on the system. Sure it's convenient, but there must be several other ways to do it, including direct web download via the on board browser and copying the install package to the device (via USB, bluetooth file transfer, sd card, etc). While the Android Market store may not regulate what apps can go up, lawsuits filed by companies who feel that a particular application steps on its space might force Google to take an app down. The question of Google's responsibility under the law as a distributor of applications is an interesting one. Under the DMCA, a copyright holder can file a "take down" notice with a content distributor asking them to remove content they feel is in violation. Likewise the original publisher of the content in question can file a "counter take down" response with the distributor, and in effect force the content distributor to republish the material. The process of "take down"/"counter take down" gives the content distributor safe harbor from lawsuits both filed by the copyright holder, and a lawsuit filed by the original publisher for NOT putting the content back up once a "counter take down" notice has been filed. Of course the copyright holder is free to pursue the publisher, but at this point it cannot bring the distributor into the suit. However, software is not just about copyright, it is also about patents, and the best of my knowledge, the DMCA ONLY covers copyrighted martial. I am not sure under what legal framework the Google Lawyers are operating, but my guess is that they almost assuredly have a "when asked, we'll remove" policy in regards to applications in the Android Market. Anything less would, I think, open up Google to being a co-defendant in legal actions brought ageist third party developers with regards to patent infringement. Having said all of that, the end run here would be decentralization. Have an Android Market, but unlike the iPhone, allow users to download and install APK files from anywhere and install them. That way if there is a question about the legality of an application, it will force the plaintiff to go after the publisher/programmer, which is A LOT harder than sending a form letter to one place and in effect obliterate the application. Decentralized distribution is the only way to protect open source from software patent trolls and copyright absolutist.