Copy protection has always been a concern in the Android Market, primarily because applications can be sideloaded onto phones without a root or other modification from the end user. In a brief announcement made today, Eric Chu has made clear that a new method for protecting the work of paid app creators will be implemented long-term, with the plan being to "replace the current Android Market copy-protection mechanism over the next few months." This new "licensing service" is available now for those that want in, providing developers with a secure mechanism that can ping a Market License Server upon launch in order to see if a particular app was indeed purchased legitimately. It's hard to say how exactly this will affect usability (specifically in offline scenarios), but it's certainly an interesting twist to the whole situation. Expect to hear lots of growling on both sides as more and more apps opt to take advantage.