04
Mar
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Up until some recent events, it was quite hard to get through to Google regarding anything going on in the Android Market, be it stolen apps, copyrighted material, or getting any feedback regarding why your own app was removed. Sure, they still listened to DMCA requests and malware reports, but it seems that complaints by mostly large copyright owners saw any action, while reports by small-time developers getting ignored were getting abundant around the web.

The Android Market really doesn't need more bad publicity at this point, and Google knows that. Whether they will be beefing up their service personnel to handle complaints in an appropriate manner or not remains to be seen, but they are already quite a bit more sensitive to Market complaints, at least thrown by us into the atmosphere on Twitter.

Yesterday, we received a tip about a Market developer by the name of sherry who has published over a 100 book-apps (1 or more books per app) to the Market. A good portion of those books were still under copyright, essentially meaning they were pirated. Not expecting much, we relayed this information to the world in an open Twitter message to @google:

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Without expecting much, we went on with our day, but to our disbelief noticed that the pirated works started disappearing from the Market one by one. Within the hour, all 100+ of them were gone. I don't believe this would have happened even a week ago, but someone out there is finally listening, and it is a great sign. We never got an official reply from Google, and weren't really expecting or looking for one, but it is reassuring to see some life in the Market department.

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Before - 100s of applications listed by sherry

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An hour later

Let's hope that such fast response time is not an exception to the rule but rather a sign of things changing for the better in the Market.

Image credit: Venture Beat

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • http://trueacu.com acupunc

    Google needs to be more proactive instead of reactive. They can't let virus infected apps get into the market and they need a way to hold these "devs" accountable when they try such scams.

    Like you said, Google can't afford any more bad publicity about the market and the only way to ensure that is to be proactive.

  • http://www.slipshft.com Slipshft

    For all their programming genius they miss things, just like everyone does. Sometimes it is hard to see something when you are close to it. Things like this happen over in the Apple market, they just keep it quiet.

    For such a young application (Android Market), they are moving along quite well.

  • Douglas

    At the speed at which new content appears on the Market, the probability of getting some dubious content is high. I'm not sure that Google expected to have so many users and contributors in such a short time. I believe that they are adapting to the situation all things considered.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      I'm actually looking for better responses in general to Market complaints rather than proactivity, especially when it comes to existing Android developers.

      A bit of proactivity won't hurt either once the above is up to a certain standard - maybe give new apps rising in downloads a check and see if they're malicious/stolen.

      And finally, things like this piss me off tremendously, and they're still not taken care of.

  • jAndroid

    Glad someone is watching, but being so open is a double edge sword. I noticed apps by playgamesite were pulled for copyright violation, and within hours, they are republishing the same stuff as playdame.

  • http://www.pretentiousname.com Leo Davidson

    This is great news!

    For a while I reported apps (within the Market app itself) that were obviously pirate versions of things, but after I saw the same publishers spewing the same things day after day I stopped wasting my fingers...

    It's good to see that Google now appear to be reacting better and doing something to tidy up the Market mess. If they continue like this (and only target things which are obviously illegal/malicious) then it'll be a big improvement to how the market looks to users and developers alike.

  • mimichan

    If you are a developer, now you have a chance to block the rival's app from the Market.

    Tweet "that is pirated app", it is very easy.

  • http://www.toysdiva.com PixelSlave

    Yesterday, Engadget published this story:

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/03/03/disgruntled-android-developer-sounds-battle-cry-rallies-troops/

    Now, that developer turned out to be making an app that encouraging pirating copyrighted materials. But the communication b/w him and Google would sound very familiar to people who had deal with Google's customer service before (in general, not just related to Android.)

    I had a similar experience with Google Merchants team before. They deleted all my feeds by accusing the site I worked for is an affiliate site. They could easily find that we are not by going through our checkout process. Complaints to them was like talking to a robot. After over a months of fruitless communication, I complained to BBB. This proved to be much more useful. Our site's status suddenly got cleared in a matter of days.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Exactly (if you notice, I linked to this very same article in the beginning of the post) - I really hope this disregard is going to change. Sure, they are big, but they are also loaded with cash, which means they can afford to expand the service teams.

  • IAmTheK

    You might want to remove that engadget link. Turns out the app dev was def in the wrong. very clear to see.

    Thanks for the post though. We really need to all support actions like this. Spammers are killing the Market and it just makes it hard for me to recommend Android to my nan, technophobe friends or family.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      The link still serves its purpose, showing how hard it is to get a response out of Google. Sure, the guy's content turned out to be questionable, but the point stands.

  • the man

    hmms, this leaves a very interesting question. If a dev releases an app that can do what a paid can, is it considered piracy? This is mind boggling