Android Piracy is insane!

Posted on Sábado, enero 5, 2013 in NEWS, Opinions, Uncategorized

At least we got the chinese translation for free …

As developers with many years in business we know that piracy is unavoidable. Sure, every developer knows that Android is the mobile platforms with more piracy. It’s open nature and the little diligence that Google put into protecting the developers has made it piracy heaven.

When planning the launch of our last game Ninja Joe, we decided to launch a paid version in iOS, Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Blackberry and a free ad-supported version in Android. We were expecting lots of pirate sites to distribute our game in the next days after we published in Android. Sure it happened! But they were distributing our ad-supported version, so no problem.

 

 

But recently we discovered another kind of piracy:

Some pirates uploaded our game to other Android stores, like this http://www.anzhi.com/soft_582840.html

Ok, that is impersonation, that is more serious, they can sell our game in those stores and make money with our work. But to some degree we were expecting something like that to happen in obscure Asian stores. Something like that would not happen in well-respected stores like Google Play, right?

… right?

 

Yesterday we shockingly discovered that:

Some pirate uploaded our game to … Google Play! WTF!

 

Pirated version: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amnesiagames.ninjajoe.velociraptors.apps

Our https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amnesiagames.ninjajoe.velociraptors

 

It is really irritating to see how easily the pirate could upload our game using his own account. It would be trivial for Google to include some simple checks in their system:

-          The name is almost the same: Ninja Joe  VS  Ninja Joe Super (the pirate version).

-          The domain is almost the same: com.amnesiagames.ninjajoe.velociraptors VS com.amnesiagames.ninjajoe.velociraptors.apps (the pirate version).

-          The screenshots ARE THE SAME. Is it so difficult to check if the same image is already uploaded for another game???!!!!

-          The apk files are the same. This is REALLY annoying. This is an obvious check. (we uploaded a new version since, the pirate still hasn’t “updated” his version).

-          The website of the developer is not working. ARE you checking anything at all???

-          The same pirate uploaded other 72 pirated versions of other games. Ok, some behavior checking wouldn’t be bad either, don’t you think?

 

We reported this to Google today. Let’s see how much do they take to act on it. It would be so much easier for everyone (including Google) if they put some obvious anti-copycats checks when uploading apps.

 

EDIT: After writing this report we:
1) emailed the pirate.
2) reported the copycat using and Android handset and the report option
3) filled a copyright reporting form at google
Guess what was faster? …The pirate! He deleted the copycat entry at Google Play in a matter of hours.
So far the only thing we got back from Google was an automated email saying that “Due to the hight volume of claim we receive … we’ll answer you only if your claim is valid y viable” (liberal translation from the spanish email).
Conclusion: they put a lot of effort in OTHER areas, NOT in helping developers protect their property. It seems so negligent to me, that the only explanation is that they don’t act properly because the whole piracy business gives them more downloads and number of apps in their store. Bad practice.

EDIT2 (10-01-2013):
Google sent us an email saying that the could not find the pirate content. I replied; you were too slow, the pirate took it down first. Can’t you see his history? You coudl see how many pirate copies he submitted. Also I sent them a summary of the trivial checks they should be doing.

by Alejandro Woywood – CEO of AmnesiaGames

2 comments on “Android Piracy is insane!

  1. little-vince on said:

    Hi Alejandro.
    Sorry to here about what happened.
    I’m just an Android fanboy who sees that the quality of apps available for Android is no where near the standard of the apps available for iOS. This article shows a prime example of why developers aren’t embracing Android; and for good reason.
    Why spend so much time and effort on an app that is just going to get stolen and pirated?
    I would highly-recommend linking Google this article in hope that they might improve their app ecosystem to make it safer and more appealing to developers.
    That way the developers can get the recognition they deserve and the end-users can enjoy better apps for their device.
    Regards.

    • admin on said:

      Thanks for your comment vince. It’s really hard to contact someone in charge of this at Google. I tried through the removals process. I also posted this to the forums, hopefully they change their attitude towards piracy. They are hurting themselves by allowing this.

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