25
Jan
fbi doj

Software piracy sucks. Ask any developer: app piracy is a major problem on Android, and more so on Android than on other mobile platforms, thanks to the relative ease of installing applications outside of the Google Play Store. But the United States Department of Justice is not turning a blind eye to mobile piracy. The Department charged four men with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement earlier this week in Georgia's northern federal district court.

Kody Jon Peterson, a 22-year-old from Florida, was charged with one count on Thursday. Thomas Allen Dye (21) and Nicholas Anthony Narbone (26) from Florida and Thomas Pace (38) from Oregon were charged separately on Friday. Peterson was involved with the "SnappzMarket Group" starting in May 2011, and the others formed the "Appbucket Group" in August 2010. The charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

nexusae0_seized

According to the Department of Justice's report, Snappzmarket.com and Appbucket.com disseminated over one million stolen copies of Android apps each. Both website domains along with Applanet.com were seized on August 21st, 2012 as part of the investigation, which the report says is the first time that the DOJ's power to seize domains has been used to fight mobile piracy. The investigation was carried out by the DOJ with help from the FBI's Atlanta field office. FBI agent Ricky Maxwell had this to say:

The protection of intellectual property is the cornerstone of a free market that rewards innovation and forward thinking. The federal charges presented in this case illustrates the problems facing technology based companies in particular but also highlights the FBI and U.S. government response to those engaged in such wholesale criminal activity involving the piracy of copyrighted products.

Though both websites were particularly well-known as easy sources of pirated apps, taking them down will probably do little to dissuade pirates, many of whom are located beyond US jurisdiction. Even now it's depressingly easy to find unauthorized and cracked APK files scattered across the Internet. Here's hoping that this is only the first part of a larger anti-copyright infringement campaign.

Source: Justice.gov

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • aefr

    I wish Google would at least monitor the apps submitted through the play store more regularly.

    It hurts the name of the brand to see spam apps in the official store

  • Cory_S

    You have to wonder if people who download pirated apps would be paying customers even if pirated apps didn't exist. My time is worth so much more than a dollar to download an app which wont receive updates, and probably require a cat and mouse licensing game. Not to mention it's just really pathetic.

    But, then again there were several people at my last job who made 150K+ who thought I was nuts for buying apps when I could pirate them free. They were also a member of the same ethnicity, so perhaps it's cultural.

    • Nathan

      What ethnicity?

      • NOT RahmEmanuel

        You really want to know what ethnicity he's talking about? That well-known group of international lowlifes who always demand top-dollar pay for themselves and their kin, but then refuse to give others the same respect?

        Ok, I'll tell you -- scroll down.
        .
        .
        .
        .
        .
        .
        .
        .
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        Cheapskates
        .

    • MoeizW

      Yeah, what ethnicity?

      • Cory_S

        If I say which then it's racist, but otherwise no one can call foul :P

        • MoeizW

          You big racist tease.

          • NOT RahmEmanuel

            LMAO

            Man, that's the worst kind. I like my racism raw and uncut. :)
            .

        • supremekizzle

          They were Jewish, weren't they?

          • David Margolin

            can confirm... am jewish... am pirate

          • Jellyface86

            Where does Judaism come into the picture.!?

          • supremekizzle

            Awe, c'mon man. The gentleman above hypothesized that ethnicity might play a factor in why people with a healthy salary might pirate apps. He refused to disclose the true ethnicity of said people, so I took a stab at guessing. Using my deductive reasoning skills, I guessed that they were Jewish due to the monetary stereotype surrounding the Jewish people. I mean, stereotypes don't just materialize from thin air.

          • Mike Harris

            Well, yeah... that one did.

          • http://dribbble.com/nickchamberlin Nick Chamberlin

            Jews tend to make more money and tend to be more honest, they were probably Pakistani.

          • supremekizzle

            Whoa buddy. Stereotypes ain't cool... Mmmmmkay.

    • g

      The original lame pirate argument

    • HopelesslyFaithful

      thats the thing as i stated in my post. Stopping piracy will not great more sales if the two points i made are not fixed. I can tell you i wouldn't buy something that wasn't worth a value to me so if i pirated it or not i still wouldn't buy it

    • Guest123

      I've known people who though, "I shouldn't have to buy software because my 'device' should have come with everything I need for it. . ."

      Like you, mobile apps are generally cheap and not worth the hassle to pirate, but some people are inherently cheap.

      • Primalxconvoy

        When it comes to basic functions then I can see their point. When I started to use android, i was frustrated that most of the basic functions from my featurephone were either missing from or better than my new smartphone.

        I was lucky that most of the apps needed to bring the smartphone in line with my featurephone were free at Google play.

        • Cory_S

          That's on the OEM, not the dev. If my car didn't come with AC that doesn't justify stealing one from a mom and pop shop down the road because my car should had come with it.

          • Primalxconvoy

            Doesn't matter. The consumer sees that value hasn't come with a new product and acts accordingly. The responsibility to curb piracy is this not the consumer.

    • Samvith V Rao

      I am certain they were Indians. I have tried to encourage my friends (middle-clas/rich) not to pirate. Despite having the means to buy apps, they still refuse to do so. It really saddens me.

  • Al Taylor

    When the only way to pay was using a credit card alot of people were prevented from getting the apps legally. How do you pay for an app of you don't have a credit card. In some countries they basically don't exist for the average person. Hopefully with google play cards available outside the States app sales will increase and piracy will decrease.

    • Nathan

      Good reason.

    • Alejandro Loayza Barazorda

      I second this, here in my country is a pain in the ass to buy an android app. I tried with 2 debit cards, 1 credit card and 2 digital cards, and nope, google don't want my money. The only way is with a credit card from a specific bank... but what if I dont want one from that bank or if a dont want one at all. Is reallt frustrating :(

    • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

      There's another problem that I came to know of recently. All purchases from play store have to go through Google Wallet. My (and several other users') wallet account was suspended 2 months ago. And I couldn't buy anything from play store; even though I had balance in my play store credit and my carrier supports carrier billing. No wallet, no purchase.

      • http://dribbble.com/nickchamberlin Nick Chamberlin

        What in gods name did you do to get your Google wallet suspended?

        • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

          It's not just me. Around December last year, Google suspended wallet account of hell lot of people. Here's the Google Groups discussion.

    • a

      Theft with an 'excuse' is still theft.

      • Ahmato27

        Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor, isn't that considered theft? Yet it's such an iconic childhood story.

        Heck I bet your government is stealing from you right now, and then criminalizing you for claiming it back.

        Don't get me wrong, piracy is wrong, but I don't understand every individuals story to judge their actions. As long as I'm doing the right thing that's all that matters.

        • MeCampbell30

          So you not paying for apps for your own gratification is at the same level as stealing from rich people to feed the poor in the face of an oppressive government? Yeah, ok . . .

        • Tíghearnán Carroll

          You can't compare an app pirate to Robin Hood dear lord. Putting APKs on a website for greedy, cheap assholes to download is not even closely comparable to Robin Hood, do you even know what pirating actually is?
          Also, it's unlikely that anyone with a Smartphone and an internet connection is "poor".

      • abobobilly

        Prove it to me that "Pirating" is "theft".

        No one "likes" to pirate. I pirate apps and I accept it. But if i like the app, I BUY IT.

        That Usually involves asking someone else as i don't have a credit card -- which costs me a few extra bucks, but that becomes increasingly annoying when we do that often.(more, for the person who i am taking this favor from)

        I live in Pakistan, and i am a full time student. I don't have a Credit Card, neither do i want to get one (high Interest Rate, stupid banks). A handful of banks' credit card works with Play Store (Standard Chartered) and i hate those banks. I could just get a Debit Card (which i have -- and use it on Steam, during steam sales mostly) but then Thanks to Google (and some other sites) ... Its useless there.

        The point being, the concerns raised by people is genuine and "is" one of the reasons why Piracy is on the rise.

        • Primalxconvoy

          Completely agree.

        • David Sousa

          It's ironic and contradictory that people complain about unavailability of goods and services, and high prices, when they are the ones encouraging the rule of brute force and the breach of contracts. They complain about their trashed countries, and yet act towards aggravating the problem they complain about. People don't sell goods here? Let's pirate! That should encourage them to fill the gap filled by piracy! Small innovators are going to love us!

          Same thing here in Brazil: everyone pirates music, movies, you name it. It's even sold in the streets, in clear daylight. And then they go to the Internet complaining why content providers don't make music services available to us. A place where everything is too expensive in order to compensate all the distortions that arise from this culture of uncertainty, lack of trust and breach of contracts. Where people think they can do what they want because they want. You're free to pirate it seems, just like providers are free to keep ignoring you or charging outrageous prices for goods and services and make everything difficult.

          They are shortsighted enough to encourage an impasse where they are the ones who are losing. Where their country is the one suffering from lack of investment and all else. Providers and banks? They are doing well, thanks for asking!

          You know, the whole concept of rule of law and contracts applied to macroeconomics... And we still wonder why we are still "Brazil" and "Pakistan"... ::sigh::

          • cviniciusm

            You shouldn't generalize, pointing the fingers to the entire population, it's not wise. Piracy is a disease, it's a capitalism disease, because the governments are don't able to balance vendor rights (private rights) and consumer rights (public rights). It's a social disease, it encompass economics and culture.

          • David Sousa

            I'm sorry, but all I see is weasel arguments like "government", "capitalism", "society", "economy" and "culture" (only "imperialism" and "uncle Sam" is missing), without noticing we are defining each of them with our _individual_ actions, neither actually holding any of these entities accountable for the problem.

            In other words, let's not use fuzzy entities that can't be held accountable as a sink hole for the problem at hand. It's easy, convenient and expected. Besides, the concurrency of causes does not eliminate our share of responsibility when we are the ones fueling what you call by "disease".

          • Primalxconvoy

            So we should blame individual polititians and media moguls?

          • David Sousa

            No, the opposite actually. Read the original post I replied to. I'm saying it's easy and convenient to pass the buck and blame fuzzy entities like "government" and "capitalism" when all it takes is for people to individually at least reduce the consumption of pirated content in order to improve matters, or to step up as civilians and demand change. So, they prefer to take the easy route, the shortcut, and pretend that this catch-22 is good for them because they are getting "free stuff", when they suffer the consequences every day.

            OK, I'll give an example to be clear. If you read Portuguese, search "IPEA pirataria", and you'll find an study from an official branch of the government. They defined "online pirates" as those who "downloaded (illegally) music or video in the last 03 months and did not buy video or music in the last 12 months". And they found:

            - 75% of people in the highest income class of the brazilian society are "online pirates".
            - 77% of those with a college degree are "online pirates".
            - 81% of those employed are "online pirates".

            It does not measure those buying pirated CDs and DVDs in the streets, which is commonplace. This indicates that playing victim isn't a valid argument. CDs, DVDs and BluRays are available. iTunes is available both for credit cards and debit cards, and you can divide it in monthly playments without interest... so the content they pirate is available, but those in the highest income class still pirate that content. But they are the ones that go into tech sites like "Techtudo", "Gizmodo Brasil" and all that complaining why services are not available here.

            That was my point. Sorry if i wasn't clear.

          • Primalxconvoy

            I understood your point. However, the individuals in charge of decision making are ultimately responsible, not the consumer.

            Although I can't find the original article, there was a recent one showing how some south american government was working with local pirates to distribute home made cinema content. By investing in local film making and also by dealing with Hollywood studios directly (rather than through the existing middle men), they are starting to offer both foreign and locally produced films legally and competitively.

            Piracy occurs when it's easier and cheaper than the existing offers. Services like hulu and Netflix have done winners to curb piracy. I'm sure if apps and games were offered in a mainstream way, piracy would diminish. Also, if Google play removed geo locking and other unneeded restrictions, thus would also help.

            And piracy, whether intended or not, is a form of consumer action (by voting with closed wallets).

          • David Sousa

            Nice response, thanks for sharing. Just a couple of personal comments:

            People are ultimately responsible for the politicians.

            I wholeheartedly (thank God for Chrome spelling) agree that new, innovative and efficient ways to distribute content are needed. It is the most efficient way to curb piracy and bring people to the legal side.

            Please just take a moment to realize (if you didn't already, I suspect you did) that I'm not denying that alternatives must be found an researched, in order to join all interests involved. Just saying that the lack of it should not justify the act of pirating. It's unlawful, obviously, but I also (personally speaking) don't think it's even fair or advantageous as a whole.

            There are also more serious problems related to piracy, that relate to organized crime (this relates to the counterfeit industry, not really file sharing). It's well known for any unlawful activity (the russian principle of organized crime), but I've also seen in person when dealing with numerous agents of the law here. This is certainly unintended by those who try to vote with their wallets.

            Finally, here's the link, since you asked: http://goo.gl/HaFRQp

          • Primalxconvoy

            Thank you for the link. However, I too have witnessed that piracy is (no longer) connected to organised crime. While visiting one of Moscow's infamous "piracy shopping centres" (where almost every dvd or other item is counterfeited), which looks like any legitimate mall anywhere else, I noticed them thriving one year, yet doing less business the year later. I put this down to the expansion of file sharing.

            Torrents have eroded not only legit business but also traditional avenues for criminals. I can understand that criminals could still profit from online piracy but they are now competing with filanthropical (sic) sharers and torrents.

            Check the link:

            - http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2011/03/even-commercial-pirates-now-have-to-compete-with-free/

          • Samvith V Rao

            Brilliantly written piece! Echoed my thoughts

          • RGold

            "Everyone pirates music, movies...", "And then they go to the Internet complaining..."

            Maybe THEY are different "THEYs". Just thinking, after 30+ years at Brazilian IT market.

          • ME

            You know, people sometimes only "pirate" for a lack of an official channel of distribution. This problem is lessened with companies like Netflix, wich provides reasonably priced media for consumption.
            Now, try and find Google Play All Access in, like, Brazil. Or Spotify, Pandora, you name it. You accuse people of mantaining the status quo of piracy, but in reality most of them have no choice.

          • Primalxconvoy

            And in countries next to your one, the government is working working WITH the pirates to solve the problem; not against them.

          • David

            As long as they work towards offering lawful ways to include them in the formal economy, I'm all for it. What you mention is excellent.

      • Primalxconvoy

        Incorrect. I've sideloaded apps and games, given feedback to devs by being able to compare the app to the ouya version and have thus provided useful information to the devs. I have then gone on to pay for the full version and am a big fan of the games and apps in question.

    • White

      I agree with you. I wish I can buy android apps through prepaid cards or sms charges, like what apptivate do in ios.

      In my country, mobile operators allow me to buy apps from bb world, wp store, or nokia store using carrier billing / phone credits. And that's very convenient.
      I really really sad I can't do this with Android :(

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Basically all Google needs to do is spread its Google Wallet system across the world, simple as that

  • Jorge

    I really think it's more something to teach that to legally pursue.
    I may be touching a sensitive matter but I think this is just like war on drugs. ¿How much money have most countries spent (zillions) on this and how little have they achieved?

  • usaff22

    Although this is good, FBI should concentrate on more important things like fighting crime (not spending resources taking Google Glass off moviegoers faces)

    • Ror

      The FBI isn't one big group of agents, they have separate divisions.
      Its broken up into:

      FBI Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch
      FBI Human Resources Branch
      FBI Information and Technology Branch
      FBI National Security Branch
      FBI Science and Technology Branch

      • https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=iWizard Bikram Agarwal

        FBI white collar branch. Peter and Neal. :)

      • HopelesslyFaithful

        still the point remains is it even an effective use of resources? I would say not as history has showed that any gains of reducing piracy is relatively small or wasted.

        • MeCampbell30

          The point of law enforcement isn't to stop all violators, but to give pause to those who would otherwise do it.

          • HopelesslyFaithful

            again....doesn't really pause anything. Also doesn't even get into the topic of hollywood and big companies using the tax payers money to protect their business....How does it feel that your tax dollars are being used to protect a companies joke of a business? Why won't they use their own funds to protect their business. Kinda absurd...granted it is more complex than that but i think most people get the picture. No other industry has gotten special divisions of the government to do their bidding -_-

  • jonathan3579

    I remember the Snappzmarket days. Ironically, they were super committed to their app store and the community therein.

    • NOT RahmEmanuel

      Wait, I think I can see their future...yes, the Snappzmarket guys are making friends and bonding with a new community of like-minded individuals!

      Oh, wait -- it's the federal pen at Allenwood. Ironically, 'commitment' is part of the deal, along with mediocre food and crappy orange jumpsuits.
      .

  • Defenestratus

    People are seriously too cheap to buy $1 apps?

    Really? Even if you don't use the app but one time, you can't part with a dollar? You have to spend time getting around copy protection schemes, for a dollar?

    My time is worth too much to be bothered with such frivolity.

    Get a job.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Pirate logic: "Why pay when I can get it for free?"

      • Primalxconvoy

        Why try to pay when my geo location is blocked/device is blocked/have no Google play when i can get it easily for free?

        It's the "easy" part that is most enticing to people. The "free" part is only enticing if it is easier and seen as more value than the paid.

    • namesib

      Free > not free

      Nothing to do with wealth or employment status

      • NOT RahmEmanuel

        I could not disagree more.

        The most outrageous cheapskates (I'll avoid calling them outright thieves, but only just barely) I've ever met were all well-educated, white collar types and solidly upper middle class...or above.

        My experience seems a good fit with current economic thinking, including Game Theory. Perhaps generosity (in spending) is linked to both our personal capacities for empathy and for avarice.

        For example, studies in the USA suggest that tips (gratuities) and charitable donations -- measured as a percentage of the subjects' real earnings -- fall off significantly, at higher levels of income.
        .

    • Primalxconvoy

      Indeed. Imagine if your wallet lost one dollar every day for a year. What a great idea!

      Seriously though, not every game or app is one dollar and even if it was, why should people put up with crud, even if it was a dollar?

      The problem of piracy is too big and complex to be muddied by ignorant comments such as yours, troll.

  • Owen Finn

    The only things I've ever pirated for my phone are games, and that's only to test them past the 15-minute window. If I like them (and they work well on my device), I buy them without hesitation. Games should really have at least a 1-hour window for returns.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Or demos if they are paid

      • Johnny Bravo

        it is now more convenient to make them free with a time trial and add an one time in app purchase to open up the app. It is harder to crack an in app purchase apk

        • Sirius White

          yeah, but it's more risky.
          using IAP means you deliver your entire game to user, relies on IAP to protect your game content. once IAP is broken, though, your entire game content is available.

          demo are somewhat more secure, you deliver only small content, not the entire game. even if someone crack your demo, they won't find the full content.
          and, sometimes demo is more user friendly. user don't have to download the -entire- game just to find out later they dislike it.

          it happens often. I download a 'free' game with 2gb size, just to find out later only small portion of it free, and turn out I dislike the game, and uninstall.
          if only dev provide playable demo of 100mb, I don't have to waste my time & internet bandwidth for 2gb of crap..

          • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

            I don't think that demo versions are risky. Demo system works for handheld consoles and even home systems for over a decade now, and nobody is complaining.
            I mean, tale a look at demos in PSN or Xbox Live - these demos provide you a neat chunk of a game so that you can feel the basic mechanics, judge the gameplay style, graphics, and game pace (especially if it's a slasher), take a look at multiplayer (sometimes online, sometimes local), and just decide whether or not you are interested in the game enough based on the demo to buy the full version (if a digital one is available)

            And IAPs are not that secure, if people with jailbroken devices on iOS can hack IAPs in many games (to get themselves a heckton of ingame premium cash in F2P games), then I see no reason why same couldn't be done on Android, considering there are certain apps that allow you to cheat like in Real Racing 3 to give yourself a million ingame credits

            So free demos containing 1-2 levels with a built-in trailer that shows what's to be expected in the full game are MUCH better than F2P's with full game unlock via IAP because you can get upset by the game and simply wasting hundreds of MBs of traffic for nothing

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          I don't think that demo versions are risky. Demo system works for handheld consoles and even home systems for over a decade now, and nobody is complaining.

          I mean, tale a look at demos in PSN or Xbox Live - these demos provide you a neat chunk of a game so that you can feel the basic mechanics, judge the gameplay style, graphics, and game pace (especially if it's a slasher), take a look at multiplayer (sometimes online, sometimes local), and just decide whether or not you are interested in the game enough based on the demo to buy the full version (if a digital one is available)

          And IAPs are not that secure, if people with jailbroken devices on iOS can hack IAPs in many games (to get themselves a heckton of ingame premium cash in F2P games), then I see no reason why same couldn't be done on Android, considering there are certain apps that allow you to cheat like in Real Racing 3 to give yourself a million ingame credits

          So free demos containing 1-2 levels with a built-in trailer that shows what's to be expected in the full game are MUCH better than F2P's with full game unlock via IAP because you can get upset by the game and simply wasting hundreds of MBs of traffic for nothing

          • renz

            AFAIK free demo is almost non existing right now. well at the very least on pc side. we always heard new games will comes out with fantastic trailer but no more free demo like it used to be in the past. i still remember COD4 Modern Warfare have free demo for single player (campaign) portion. according to publisher releasing demo might lower the sales. it is fine if your game really good but if not the user will lose interest in your game entirely. that's why right now they only give you trailer and try to hype their game as much as possible to keep gamer interested to it. if the publisher are confident with their content they will release some of their gameplay. and some people still pre-order the game despite knowing it might not live to their expectation or knowing there will be review done on the game.

          • Matthew Fry

            I have a 3DS and a PS3 full of demos that disagree. Do you have a source for the publisher comment? I would be really interested in what publishers think of demos. My first (semi-educated) guess would be that it's a matter of cost vs return. Making a demo requires that you create a custom version that either has a bunch of checks to maintain its demo-ness make a custom build with less assets. I've seen both approaches and both take time and money to make, test, and release. I've also had demos just inexplicably continue into the main game and contacted the game developer to tell them.

        • Memphis May [S]unjay

          I've seen cracked in-app purchases.

          • Johnny Bravo

            but they are harder to crack, i never said it was impossible. But the person cracking it would need to know some coding to make it think it was purchased, rather than just pulling the app on your phone as an apk and uploading it.

    • Brandon Jiang

      it used to be 24 hours don't know why google changed it

      • Mike Reid

        To make more money is the quick answer.

        At the time, some games could be finished within 24 hours with no lasting appeal. So gamers played for a day and refunded.

        • mobilemann

          really the dev's make more money from it. Which isn't the worst thing in the world... means more apps.

          But yeah, that's less dickish imo, than kids competing games and returning them.

          it's cool, if you don't mind being a fucking toolbag.

    • cviniciusm

      I agree. The 15 minutes window is ridiculous, pathetic and offensive. The majority of apps doesn't have demo or trial. The window should be several hours. It's a shame US government concern about intellectual property and free market (vendor rights) but doesn't care a minimum about consumer rights.

      • Cory_S

        iOS has no window.

        • RTWright

          Yes but on the iOS, and I hate to admit this, has far fewer crap apps than Android which is plagued with it. This is where I agree that Google should put tighter restrictions about what can be put on the Play Store. It would hurt at first but long term would be a lot better for it. There are so many spam apps, garbage apps that do nothing but cause issues and you have to remove them ( if you can without a factory reset ). I'd like to see a much better quality control on Google Play.

          • Matthew Fry

            That's a hard judgement call to make. Google is much friendlier to (actual garage type) indie devs because there isn't a $100 minimum just to get in the door. On the other hand, Apple uses that money to police the apps and maintain a level of quality. On the other other hand, Apple will deny apps for ridiculous reasons and the submission process can take weeks and weeks.

        • Matthew Fry

          Yeah but it's hardly automatic. And from what I've read there may be some restrictions to how many refunds you are allowed.

          From a correspondence from Apple by a user:

          Because the iTunes Store has already made an exception to the Terms of Sale for you, I cannot grant you a refund for this purchase.

          source: http://www.imore.com/how-request-refund-itunes-or-app-store-purchase

          • Cory_S

            that I meant there isn't a trial window at all on iOS, so by comparison androids 15 minutes is generous.

          • Matthew Fry

            Oh yes. Well. I guess you can return them up to 90 days after purchase but it's at their discretion on how often they'll allow it. So I'd say they're more generous for infrequent accidental purchases but much less generous for apps you tried and hated.

          • Cory_S

            The actual Google return with Dow is 48 hours. Its just the automated one that's 15 minutes.there is a form somewhere you fill out for it. I've used it a few times with no issues.

          • Matthew Fry

            I'm unfamiliar with the term Dow...

          • Cory_S

            Auto correct fail. I mean Google return window.

    • Ryan Spinuzzi

      You purchase the game if you like it, but that is after you have already committed software piracy. As a developer myself I find your stance to be wrong on so many levels.

      • ravx25

        You certainly have your viewpoint as a developer, but as a consumer people don't want to be stuck with software they don't like. 15 minutes is a small time frame to figure out if one likes a game. I'm not saying stealing the app and not paying for it is right, but there should be a better way to test drive the app.

        • Chippah

          Not to mention the rampant piracy each devs commit on each other, have you seen how many almost identical games are out on play ?

      • Owen Finn

        Well, if you allowed for refunds after an hour rather than 15 minutes, I wouldn't have to do what I do.

  • hyperbolic

    Federal prison...wow...

  • Ponokyo

    Thieves don't see the big picture. In their minds it's just a $.69 Snicker bar and doesn't hurt the store. Unfortunately, when there are a million stolen it's now $690,000. Start taking that money directly from the thieves and I guarantee that it'll stop. Unfortunately there's really no way to do that so theft and piracy will continue forever. Sucks for the developers.

    • Primalxconvoy

      Incorrect. If 1 billion people, who never would have bought said app, installs the pirated version, then the devs loses nothing as those users would have never bought it the first place.

      I've witnessed users who have sideloaded apps, tested them out and then bought them afterwards.

      Thus, your argument is null and void.

      • Ponokyo

        If people had no other choice but to buy the app, or they knew that there would be consequences to pirating them, I'm sure that a huge majority would actually buy the app. A person isn't going to steal a car, drive it for a week, then go back and buy it. Why not? Because they know that they'll go to jail.

        As for your second sentence, why don't they buy it legally, test it, then request a refund if they don't like it? It's because most don't plan on buying it.

        Your move.

        • Primalxconvoy

          Incorrect. In some countries, it IS illegal to download and the penalties are strong. It still hasn't dissuaded people from sideloading.

          Also, the points I've made for sideloading (geo restrictions, unnecessary device restrictions, the lack of Google play and other avenues to buy on their app) hasn't been addressed by you.

          The 15 minute test time for android is pitiful. I once bought the original version of Poweramp and it was only after a week that the wrecked thing started playing up. Only recently has the latest version run without problems. That's why I used Mixzing for ages, as their demo version wasn't restricted to any timer (Google play or otherwise) and why I ended up purchasing it.

          Check mate.

          • Ponokyo

            The only mention of sideloading that you made was about people testing out apps that they got by sideloading, then buying them. There was no mention of anything else. So yes I did address it. As a matter of fact I gave you a direct response to that particular statement.

            And I agree with the 15 minute window being pitiful. I also think that 14 days to test out a cellphone is pitiful. But guess what? That's not going to make me go out and steal one. It is what it is. And you using the demo version is totally different from pirating the full app. They're made to be used for free. That's why they're called demo versions. They're demonstrations!

            And what exactly was I incorrect about? The fact that people wouldn't do it if they thought that they would surely be prosecuted? That's why they do it, because they know that getting caught is almost impossible. Which is what I said to begin with.

          • Primalxconvoy

            The chances of getting caught where I am are pretty high yet piracy remains as it is easy to do. I commented on other posts here explaining the other reasons for sideloading (didn't you read them?) and the reason I bought one app over another is because there was a demo version. Usually, of there isn't, I can see why people are tempted to pirate the full version.

  • fzammetti

    Understand that these guys weren't just some end users who grab a few pirated apps for themselves... these guys hosted a site dedicated to pirating Android apps. They were distributors. It's the difference between someone caught with a joint and someone selling crack on the corner. I don't know if these guys were making money from their endeavors, but I'd frankly be surprised if they weren't in some way and if so that's a whole other level.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT saying that piracy is okay if it's just you grabbing some apps... it's not... but I AM very much saying that there's a question of degrees here... distributing is worse than simply using pirated apps and making money from distributing is that much worse.

    • MeCampbell30

      They probably got paid for the traffic via ads.

  • HopelesslyFaithful

    besides what people already mentioned about foreign countries piracy will continue to exist if they don't apply price skimming to their business model (plus one other thing). I for one swore off buying almost any games. I can recall maybe high school and earlier buying 5ish computers games and either not playing the rest or acquiring them. The reason being the price was ridiculous. Ever since Steam (Valve and other dev/pubs) started to apply price skimming i have spent maybe close to 1.5-2 grand on games. When prior to that i might have spent 200 bucks and wasn't planning on spending a penny more. That 1500 to 2000 would have never left my pocket if it wasn't for price skimming....and this isn't getting into the issue of i dont even own a game that i buy. I also refuse to spent more than 5 bucks on a game when it can be freely taken from me without question. The market sentiment software dev/pubs have created has been poisonous to almost all sales. Why would a consumer spent money on something that does not provide a great value than what was spent? Plus why risk buying something if the "big bad man" can just revoke what you bought without question?

    Until those two issues are resolved piracy will always exist and sales will never be as good as they could be. It is a plan simply fact of economics/market.

  • Leonardo Baez

    piracy sucks.... i will stop pirating apps when google comes with an option to pay other than credit card (in my country is no other option)..... and when software companies leaves the pay to advance level model or in app purchase. I prefer to pay full price just once

    • danishdhanshe

      Does that mean you will continue pirating apps?
      That's sad!

      • Leonardo Baez

        untill I have a way to pay yes. I want to pay... but I cant have credit card and there is no other avaible paying method

        • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

          Carrier billing isn't an option either?

          • Leonardo Baez

            not in my country. I live in mexico

          • firesoul453

            Its the worst when the company won't take my money :(

  • https://plus.google.com/+TroyLeonard Troy Leonard

    Once upon a time I used tons of pirated apps, then I actually tried (and failed) to create my own. It was a disaster, insanely difficult, and frustrating. I realized how much work goes into it and how unfair it was for me to use that work with out compensation to the developer. I spent over $50 purchasing the apps I had stolen. And have never pirated one again. Pirating an app from someone like Rovio may not put them in the poor house. But for a small time independent developer. It could compound to prevent them from Future projects.

  • A.M

    THEY CAN'T STOP IT so I use it I've only paid for one app that's Comb Crew cause I wanted the Street fighter characters now I have them I just run T.Backup 7 I'm good other then that I pirate until the day I die

    • MeCampbell30

      Arrrg, Matey!

      • Randroid

        Don't feed the troll

  • Primalxconvoy

    Piracy will remain until devs stop geo blocking phones, charging more than an app is worth, fail to create demos for paid apps, infest their software with intrusive iap's and ads, block devices that can run the software, not offer alternatives to Google play and refuse to refund customers due to faulty updates deleting their data or corrupting their phones.

    • Randroid

      Many times the dev doesn't geo-block apps. There are countries that I wish I could put my app in, but the Play Store doesn't allow you to publish in certain countries because of trade embargoes or something.

      • Primalxconvoy

        I'm sorry to hear that but as a consumer, it's just an excuse. I live in a developed country and if the app isn't available when I read about it's release at Google Play in my country, then I'm more liable to sideload it, free or not. I'm sure I'm not the only one either.

        • Randroid

          I understand that completely. When I look at the stats of how many sessions the pirated apk has, 90% of them are in countries where I cannot distribute the app. That fact makes me slightly less angry, because they don't have the option to pay for it (as you stated.) It's the other 10% that are installs here in the US, or in other countries that have the option to pay for it that really get to me.

          • Primalxconvoy

            I understand. Personally another reason why I think free downloading for games is rife is because mobile gaming hasn't matured yet. External controllers are still not fully supported by android or ios at the os navigational stage, games have too many iaps and other factors all help I foster the idea that mobile games aren't "worth" a lot or any money.

            Once the current console demographic/industry migrates more to mobile platforms, I think we will see more options for gamers and with those improvements, more trust and investment from gamers.

          • Randroid

            I agree, but my apps are not games. (well 1 is a simple tic-tac-toe game but it is free, partly because I don't know anyone who would pay for a tic-tac-toe game.)

        • Randroid

          Also, none of my apps follow the other practices that you mentioned. I offer a free version as a "trial" that has a few less features than the pro version, I have no apps in the pro version and minimal ads in the free version, no device blocks at all, and when I do have faulty updates I fix it ASAP.

          I don't understand developers that block devices either. I want my app on as many devices as possible, because more installs means that my app is helping more people and I'm making more money. (Even if the income increase is minimal.)

          • Primalxconvoy

            Colour me interested. What is your app at Google play?

  • http://www.twitter.com/NamraMuhammad Namra

    I once downloaded gta vice city for free from appdroid but then I felt so guilty n I deleted but I really wanted to play but my dad didn't let me use credit card so Becoz I didn't play pirated game God helped me n amazon gave me $5 credit free on christmas I guess I dunno, but anyway so ya I downloaded gta from that :D piracy = bad !!

  • Sir_Brizz

    I really don't think it's very accurate to say that piracy is worse on Android than any other mobile OS. It depends on what apps and what the reason for the piracy is. iOS piracy is massively bad in eastern countries, too.

  • Demi Lovato

    I pirate geo-blocked apps & games. I can't believe geo-blocking is still a thing in 2014.

  • http://mobers.org/ psydex

    'MURICA

  • SuperMario7

    I'm a bit weird when it comes to piracy, I don't really care about films and music, but game piracy for some reason really annoys me. I have a massive Steam library on my PC, and I pay for every single game on my Nexus, it's probably the one entertainment industry I don't wanna see get hurt as it's my favourite past time. Games are cheaper than they've ever been, you can get GTA San Andreas for £5.00 on your phone, even newly released games on Steam for my PC only costs £30-£35 which is less than what Snes games used to cost in 1994, and when you take into account 20 years of inflation then games these days are dirt cheap.

  • Rovex

    Ive only ever pirated one app, an app that cost £20, to see if it was worth it. You know what? It wasn't, and judging by its mediocre rating and low number of downloads I wasn't alone in that assessment.

    The sad thing is that I would have happily paid £5 or even £7 for it, which is still quite a lot of any app on the Store.

    • Randroid

      I've done the same thing. Downloaded a $15-$20 launcher to test it (since it would take longer than the allowed 15 minute return period to fully test it) and it was so bad that I uninstalled it almost immediately. If I liked it, I would have been glad to uninstall it and spend the $20 to actually buy it.

      That's why my app has a free version and a pro version. You can at least test the basic functionality before paying for some additional features.

  • Michael J Carroll

    Why don't they start keying apps? Whenever an app is purchased through the play store, it gets a key with it that identifies the person's Play Store account. If an app is grabbed outside of the play store, the developer can either ask the person to get a key for it or just prevent the app from working. Sure, people will find workarounds, but there will be less piracy than there is now.

    • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

      Who says keys can't be cracked like the licenses?

      • Michael J Carroll

        Oh I know they can be but it would take more work than it takes to pirate an app now.

      • Michael J Carroll

        I'm expecting that. The idea is that it will be harder to crack the app than it is to pull an app now. This is something that could, and should, be done for regular apps too in order to prevent the spread of viruses.

  • GigiAUT

    Ex Pirate here...and not proud of it. In my first year of using Android I only pirated because I didn't have access to a credit card to pay for the apps. Since I got my card, I spend on average about $6 a month on apps, games, themes, icons, etc...provided I really need the app or really can't find a free alternative. Same goes for music.

  • firesoul453

    Why don't more developers use market checks? EA even does it on their free games (to prevent it leaking to other countries I guess). Its not invincible but unless you app is a huge success people aren't going to bother making a cracked version.

    • Randroid

      Because some of us are indi developers, and are more focused on making a quality app than worrying about people stealing it. And some people don't have that knowledge, especially when they are first introducing themselves to the world of development.

      • firesoul453

        I can understand if people don't know it exists, but it doesn't take anything away from development, it is super easy to do.

  • sounder

    Taxpayer money hard at work.

    • Randroid

      At least they're going after people who are stealing from small developers instead of people who are stealing from multi-billion dollar corporations like Microsoft, the RIAA and the MPAA. I know first hand how it feels to be an indi developer and find your paid app out in the wild.

      There are hundreds of copies of my app out there, and at $1/install that actually goes into my bank account, that's a lot of money. Let alone the fact that my app now gets less visibility because apps with higher download numbers are given better placement on the Play Store.

      • sounder

        Copyright is more important than life?

    • GJV

      Your anger is misplaced. There are far, far more wasteful government expendiatures that legitimate law enforcement goals.

  • GJV

    I think Google exacerbated the app piracy issue by shinking the Play Store refund window from 24 hours to 15 mins. 24 hours might have been a bit much but they went too far in the other direction. At least give people a good 30 mins to see if an app is worth paying for. Devs can also help by releasing demo or evaluation versions of their apps. For instance, I would like to try the new Ergo lockscreen but will not pay $5 for something I can't try first.

    • Jachym Kokesh Lukes

      I don't think that can be directly linked to piracy. But I agree - if they want to have the refund window, 15 minutes may be too short to really "test drive" the app. Especially if testing something with 1.2GB data download for example.

  • nickdrake

    The snappzmarket guys (or at least the one I talked to) was a dick.

  • casder

    I live in Bulgaria and I have NO EASY WAY to buy any app from google play. I can't purchase a gift card because they are simply not sold to customers outside US. I can't buy one online either because even if I'm prepared to purchase it with my own debit card (yes, debit card), the online store requires me to input a "ZIP code". Apparently that's an American standard, it is 5 numbers long, and bulgarian postal codes are only 4 numbers long and appear generic - Sofia (the capital) 's postal code is 1000. How exactly am I supposed to input that in the required "ZIP code" field of any online store that sells online Gift cards and is a genuine partner of Google?!
    OK, so gift cards are out. Let's try to register my own debit card to the play store. Guess what-no dice! I furst must go to the bank that issued my card, ask them to ENABLE it for internet payments, and then they tell me that with just a debit card I won't be able to receive a refund if something happens, and I would in fact need a credit card for that. OK, so let's get a credit card...no dice AGAIN! Turns out I need to have been employed at the same place for at least a year and have stable income AND be above 20 years old in order to be approved for issuing a credit card. And the procedure itself will take at least 10 working days!
    Oh, and I forgot to mention - even if I do use my debit card my bank will add a transaction fee for ANY transaction, so an app that costs 3$ just became 10$...
    All that for an app that costs like 2$. Oh come on! At that point i just search for the .apk file online, sideload it, remove the license with LuckyPatcher and say "To Hell with all this bullshit"!. I want to buy the app...I just CANT.

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