1. Can I use not my module with GNU GPL in my android app, that showing adware or that i sell for money?
  2. Must i make my all app open source in that case?

Module: https://github.com/whyorean/playstore-api-v2

"playstore-api-v2 is Free Software: You can use, study share and improve it at your will. Specifically you can redistribute and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version."


2 Answers 2


Can I [show ads] or [sell my software for money]?

Yes. See GPL FAQ - Does the GPL allow me to sell copies of the program for money?

You can also show ads, but remember that the GPL requires you to publish source. So if a customer does not like the fact that you show ads, she is allowed to recompile your app without that feature enabled. Or she is allowed to hire a developer to do that for her. She is also allowed to replace your ads with her ads and then to sell her customised version for money. You sold her the software, but the GPL says that she is allowed to change it or to hire someone to change it for her, and to resell her version if she wants.

Must I make my [entire] app open source in that case?

If you depend on GPL software and include it in a way that it becomes a part of your program (e.g. as a module, library, etc.), then that whole program must be open source as well. There could be some exceptions to this, for example if you distribute multiple independent programs together. To find out if this applies, see the GPL Section 5 where it talks about "aggregates".


You can use any GPL-licensed software for any purpose you like - on he condition that you follow the license. This means you even have permission to use it in scams and software of dubious usage and moral standing, too.

In my understanding, on Android the term "module" usually refers to what commonly is referred to as library and not just an independent programme which you rely on and communicate with, but could do without. Thus the licenses of those must be taken into account.

Following the license means that you use the GPL (or compatible) license for your complete software, too. Thus no part can be kept proprietary. That means among others to make available the sources in a similar manner as the binaries and at no additional costs, and to make users aware of their rights. Of course it doesn't mean you have to share your api keys, but you should then provide a reasonable example setup which also compiles easily.

  • This only applies if the complete work is a derivative, in copyright terms, of the GPL code used. I confess to ignorance of what a "module" does, in Android terms. If it's the equivalent of a dynamically-linked library, I'd agree with you (though others might not). But I don't know, because I don't know what a module is or does. If you do, it would be helpful if you could outline that in your answer, and explain why you think using a module makes the app a derivative work, and so subject to the GPL in its entirety.
    – MadHatter
    May 1, 2020 at 7:30
  • Of course. Generally I believe that module is a kind of library. I added a link to the google docs where they specify that term. It might not apply to each definition - but from the question I believe that it does refer to what usually is understood as 'library' May 1, 2020 at 8:49

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