Back in 2012, the FBI, Department of Justice, and other domestic and foreign entities teamed up to seize three sites that pirated Android apps: Applanet, AppBucket, and SnappzMarket. The fallout for some of the operators of those sites was known within about 18 months of the unprecedented crackdown. For the then-teenager behind Applanet, the largest of the three offending sites, the consequences were not determined until this week: He'll avoid prison time but will be placed under probation with some special conditions.
Telegram is a service for sending messages while remaining anonymous. That's something with which Russia has taken issue, and it just banned the service over it. However, Telegram may also be gaining in popularity because it's an easy way to share pirated content. The Outline spoke with several Telegram channel admins who say Telegram seems uninterested in policing the files users upload.
Hey, game pirates: screw you. Seriously, you're part of the reason it's so hard to find a decent game that isn't packed with $100 in-app purchases. Of course, good old-fashioned greed on the part of game developers is a big part of that, but a demonstrable loss of revenue from relatively easy piracy (a problem on other platforms like Windows) is giving developers little incentive to release conventional premium games for a simple price. Prolific publisher Noodlecake recently looked at statistics for the excellent Wayward Souls action-RPG and found that only 11% of Android users (and possibly fewer) had actually paid for the app - the rest had pirated it from various Internet repositories.
Birds gonna fly, fish gonna swim, dogs gonna bark, and unscrupulous people are going to find ways to steal digital content. Video piracy is more or less unstoppable (though reasonable prices and more convenient streaming have taken it down a peg), but if you brazenly sell gadgets with the sole intention of stealing TV shows and movies, expect a visit from Johnny Law soon enough. Several shady retailers in the United Kingdom have reason to reflect on this today, after police raided multiple locations selling "Android TV" set-top boxes designed more or less as piracy machines.
TorrentFreak reports that raids yesterday and earlier in June resulted in the seizure of hundreds of cheap white box Android devices, mostly running AOSP Android adapted for television use (and probably not the more legitimate Android TV software), loaded with illegal apps and tools for streaming and downloading pirated video.
OK, Amazon, I can sympathize with your plight. As both the legal operator of a massive software distribution service and a TV, movie, and music vendor beholden to various rights holders, you might be tempted to remove anything from your app store that even whiffs of piracy or copyright infringement. Hell, I could helpyouspotsomeexamplesifyouwant. But that really doesn't excuse booting legitimate, useful apps off of your store without a second thought, as appears to be the case with Kodi Media Center.
AFTV reports that Amazon removed Kodi, a highly technical open-source media manager (formerly called XBMC), from the Amazon Appstore last week.
Piracy is a problem on any platform where installing software is easy, and that certainly includes Android. In a particularly egregious example, the developer of Today Calendar estimates that 85% of the users of the $5.99 premium version of his app have stolen it. What's a responsible Android developer to do? In this case, he's using a creative method to try and annoy illegal users into becoming paid customers.
Pirates who use Today Calendar will now be seeing some of what Jack Underwood describes as "Arrgh - Anti-Pirate Measures." Unlike most conventional DRM, the app won't shut down if it detects an unverified user.
If you've been following the Applanet/Appbucket criminal case, you know that the Department of Justice and the FBI have been working on bringing charges against a number of high-profile Android app pirates for the last eighteen months. Earlier this month the investigations and arrests paid off, as two of the men responsible for large-scale Android app piracy in the United States pled guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. The DOJ reported the news on its official public affairs portal.
Nicholas Anthony Narbone and and Thomas Allen Dye, both formerly of the well-known piracy site Appbucket.net, were charged with one count each, and both pled guilty to the charges on March 10th.
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.
Even casual observers of the Android ecosystem know that piracy is a big issue for developers. But if a report from mobile security company Arxan is to be believed, app piracy and "hacking" is incredibly prevalent, or at least prevalent enough that most of the popular apps are available in a pirated or cracked form. According to the company's "State of Security in the App Economy" report for 2013 (PDF link), the top 100 paid Android apps have been "hacked."
We used "cracked" in the headline because Arxan doesn't mention the purpose behind these hacks, so we're assuming that in most cases they're free, pirated versions of paid apps.