Apple Now Taking Legal Action Against App Store Piracy

Apple Now Taking Legal Action Against App Store Piracy

Apple has begun an attack on App Store piracy. The popular resource for cracked iOS apps known as Apptrackr recently said that Apple has begun sending large amounts of takedown notices, thereby forcing Apptrackr to relocate many of its servers and implement more steps for its users to avoid legal ramifications.

In a note to users of Installous, a Cydia app for downloading and installing pirated apps from the App Store, Apptrackr frontman “dissident” explains Apple’s attempts at crippling the piracy service and how Apptrackr supporters can help keep the resource running.

Captcha checks had to be added when downloading cracked apps so that Apptrackr can avoid the legal implications of hosting direct links to pirated software. The site’s servers have also been moved to different countries. Other piracy hosts have attempted to avoid the courtroom by also moving servers to regions outside of the United States.

The cost of international server hosting has forced Apptrackr to introduce mobile advertisements. The site noted that it can no longer survive on donations alone. New hosts will also be added soon to help distribute cracked apps to the masses.

It’s unclear as to how intently Apple will continue to legally pursue Apptrackr.

  • prof_peabody

    you’d have to be a pretty desperate looser to even bother with Installous and Apptrackr.  I can’t imagine there are many people who care about their problems with Apple.  

  • benWV

    Go Apple, Go. C’mon folks. Most apps are so damn cheap. Go ahead and spend the 99 cents on Angry Birds already.

  • robgilgan

    I have no issue with jail breaking and buying or d/ling other free apps. But stealing stuff from the App Store? Can’t abide that action. Pirates are losers.

  • OMFGitsJUSTIN

    Sure the lot of you are saying “Pirates are losers” or “stealing is wrong” but do you know how much of this could of been avoided if Apple added a “trial” function to all apps? I bet people would much rather download a $30 logmein app illegally just to make sure it works before forking over the cash for the legit version. Same with games. How many times have we normal folk bought an app and said “Well that was a waste of cash”.

    Before people on here start pointing fingers, maybe they need to look at a potentialy larger picture. 

  • ericthehalfbee

    That’s the lamest excuse ever and one of the most common used by crooks *ahem* trial users.

    This is why reviews exist. Spend a few minutes and learn about what the App does before plunking down your cash. At least for the $10 and up Apps. For the $0.99 Apps I buy them based solely on the rating. If I don’t like it, who cares? It’s only $0.99 to find out.

  • Phil

    We work hard on the apps, the last thing we need is some ass downloading my app that took me months to make for free. If you’re not willing to pay 99› for a damn product, then the fact that you stole it makes you a loser like a loser who steals from the dollar store. 

  • Atienne

    yeah, yeah, You are one of those who said that the only reason they pirate music is because it’s so expensive, and then when the price dropped on iTunes, or when groups initialized a pay as much as you want to DL our new album, people still pirate it anyway. The average donation for the NIN album was less than a dollar. Really, a dollar?

  • aardman

    If I opened an online site selling or even giving away stolen property, the feds would be on me like white on rice two seconds after I go live.  But if it’s apps that are stolen, the app developer or  Apple, on its behalf, has to go through this whole rigmarole of sending take down notices and all that bureaucratic crap.  Yes, I understand there’s a safe harbor provision blah, blah, blah.  But there should also be the equivalent of RICO that can be used on websites that are so obviously trafficking in what they know are pirated apps.

  • Lisa Gomez

    Well you can call me Captain Hook of the App game! hah

  • Lisa Gomez

    well in the case of a bad app, some poor sucker had to have bought the app first in order to give it the bad rating, essentially taking one for the team. Ive been that poor sucker before and let me tell ya it does not feel good. If the trial system existed, this wouldn’t have to happen. So until then, Installous is my trial system.

  • Debateable

    Copying and stealing is not the same thing. Not saying it’s okay to copy, but saying it’s stealing is bs. As a developer you cannot expect that every copy made equals a lost sale, that’s just not how it works in reality. Chances are that if your program was copied then that person wouldn’t have payed for it in the first place, even if there wasn’t a copy available.
    One can argue that the more copies are available the more advertisement you get and the more you actually sell.

    Some copies are losses, but the question is if you actually sell more than you lose because of the copies made?

  • Kenny LaFromboise

    Yea and we can all trust the reviews right?  Because there is NOBODY in the world that gets PAID to review apps…

  • Al

    I’d like to have the ability to dl trials of apps too. Yet devs already can sorta do that with limited free versions, as many indeed do.

  • Al

    I’m sorry but I feel that much of what you say could also apply to the limited free versions, which many devs put out.

    They too are an advertisement, which drums up demand for the paid product — yet it is legal, done by the dev himself, and arguably many times more effective than pirate copies as they are playable on 100% of iOS devices and in the App store.

  • Vera Comment

    Why isn’t it stealing? Item has a price you need to pay to get it legally, you don’t pay that price, yet still acquire the item. Explain how that’s not stealing. I don’t buy your argument about “wasn’t going to pay for it anyway”… because THAT DOESN’T MATTER. You have something you didn’t pay for.. if it’s NOT stealing, what is it?

  • Mike Rathjen

    Copying is a violation of copyright law, not theft. It’s quite a big difference actually.

  • Guest

    I bought Dropzone off the manufacturer’s website for $14 bucks. After losing my laptop, I now need to buy it again – off the Appstore. But not for $14 bucks – as a European, I get to pay $16 bucks for the privilege of *repurchasing* my $14 app.

    Had I used a warez site, the app designer would have my original $14, I would have a copy of his software, and I would have managed to avoid the real pirate in this transaction – Apple.

  • cjlacz

    Why not just redownload it off their site? They have a link as well as the app store purchase option.

  • Dilbert A

    Yeah, you’re not making any sense.

  • Dilbert A

    It’s semantics. It’s dishonest.

  • Dilbert A

    I’m sorry but “larger picture” my ass. You either have integrity or you don’t. A companies business practices have nothing to do with the personal choice to take from others.

  • Guest

    I do apologise. Sadly, rendering the post as a comic strip for you is beyond my skills. Perhaps vocalising as you read might help, or running your finger beneath the words.

  • Guest

    The site version is not the App Store version, and not maintained. He has a long blog post about it (in which those who are unhappy with a 120% recharge are, apparently, ‘haters’). I’m not having a go at him, really (unless he chose the European price) – as I understand it, Apple heavily controls what discounts he can offer, and their 30% cut limits the price reduction he can offer. 

  • cjlacz

    Sounds like you could of used the old version (or does it not work on the new machines?). I can understand your frustration though.

    Even if it was a bit late, he should of offered a limited time discount. As he explained in the last point many developers get higher sales and if he’s got a good app I’d expect he make back the money from extra sales or in the near future.

    I just totaled my purchases from the app stores from December a couple days ago and it’s a depressingly high number. I’ll say one thing for the app stores, developers get a lot more of my money than they ever did before.

  • richlyon

    I don’t want to criticise the Dropzone guy – he serves only as an example. It is Apple (the originator of these legal actions ) I’m interested in. 

    There are many things which are legal, but unfair. Crippling my DVD remote to force me to watch 10 minutes of trailers before the film I bought is legal – but unfair. Imposing a 120% recharge on a product with zero transaction cost is legal – but unfair.

    Pirate sites are interesting because they provide choice. By exercising a choice, we (consumers) are given the ability to generate a signal – “this is unfair” – that can only otherwise be sent by not purchasing, and is then indistinguishable from the signal “this is uninteresting”. 

    Play fair, and I’ll buy from you. Play foul, and I won’t. Since it is easier (I can assure you) for Apple to retain my custom by improving their fairness rather than their legal budget, that is good for me and good for Apple.

    Of course there are many (and perhaps a majority) who won’t purchase from you if even if you play fair. But since they won’t buy your product anyway, they have no influence rational decision making.

    So I’m a person who, like you, spends a large amount on software. I’m also a person who thinks the software market is strengthened (for consumers) by the existence of pirate sites.

  • Debateable

    For something to be stolen, the owner no longer has the item/thing in question. If a car is stolen the owner no longer has a car, if an apple is stolen from a store the store no longer has that apple to sell.

    You cannot steal software by copying it, the developer still has his/her software, he/she can continue to still sell it. A developer(no matter which industry producing digital works), in tune with reality, cannot claim that for every copy made of his/her software he/she has lost a sale, that’s just not the way things work in the real world.

    I’m not trying to condone software piracy, but software piracy is not stealing it is a violation of copyright period. The reason various industries try to claim it’s stealing, is because in reality, people care less about a violation copyright than stolen property, so what they are trying to do is change the public opinion about copyright violations by comparing it to theft.

  • Debateable

    You can’t really compare it to the free version, i’m talking about advertisement as exposure, if a couple of people have an illegal copy of some game or software on their devices, chances are that people they know learn about the game/software and they wan’t it as well, but are buying it simply because they don’t want the hassle of jailbreaking and not being up to date ios wise. They would never have learned about that piece of software it if was trial ware, trial ware would be deleted before really getting any exposure, unless the full version is bought, however that would rule out many of the people using illegal copies, many of them would never buy the software even if they didn’t have access to an illegal copy.

  • Debateable

    It’s not semantics law wise. Copyright violation is not theft no matter how much the industries wants to make it appear so. There is a clear distinction law wise.

    You’re right about it’s semantics in the terms of how bad we think copyright violations is compared to stealing.

    Dishonest is debatable.

  • ericthehalfbee

    You mean Installous is your system to continue being a thief. Don’t try to disguise your stealing as a “trial”.

  • ericthehalfbee

    Yeah, we all know when an App has hundreds (or thousands) of reviews they must all be paid. I know when I see an App with 3 reviews all 5 stars it must be good.

    And nobody ever thinks of going to more than one independent review site outside the App Store before buying.

    You’re just a thief, admit it. And you’re looking for excuses to justify stealing.

  • Dilbert A

    Of course you would say it’s debatable.

    /s

  • Dilbert A

    No, it’s not that I don’t understand the words you used, it’s that I can’t understand why an adult would whine about not receiving a free product replacement from and entirely diffident merchant.

    That’s in addtional to the fact that you say you “lost” the original.

    I don’t expect a reasoned response since you’re clearly butt hurt over $14.

  • Nick Betting

    Right, and everything with wings can fly.

  • richlyon

    OK. Sorry you found it so upsetting. Glancing at your comments below, this is obviously quite an emotional issue for you.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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