Android Devs Speak Out On Counterfeiting Concerns

Android developers whose games were counterfeited on the mobile Android Market have criticized platform holder Google for an allegedly lackadaisical response to allegations of game copying.

Kevin Baker, developer of the Android game Sinister Planet, recently told The Guardian that all aspects of his game were copied and repackaged for sale by a developer called Joyworld, which was unable to be reached for response.

“I contacted Google right away. It took Google two days to take the app down,” Baker told the website. “This publisher was also selling other versions of pirated games.”

He added, “I contacted the original developers of those games but they were still being sold a week later. You’d think [Google] might have a hotline for things like that.”

Baker said the account for the alleged violator is still active. “Why are these accounts still allowed to be trading? It’s negligent as far as I’m concerned,” he said. Baker added that he used tools that are intended to prevent countefeiting, but they did not work.

On PocketGamer, Doodle Fit developer Gamelion had similar sentiments about copyright protection on the Android Market. The studio said Doodle Fit was copied exactly by another developer.

“We’ve been launching games on many different channels, but the Google Android Market is, in terms of respecting copyrights, by far worst,” according to Gamelion VP Sebastian Szczygie. “Such obvious direct copyright infringements are not happening on the other app stores.”

A Google rep told Gamasutra that the company does take down apps that violate Android Market’s policy on copyright infringement. The rep also pointed to an Android Market copyright infringement form.

Google’s form states that the document is “consistent with the form suggested by the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”

Baker added, “I’ve got my app already approved for the Amazon Market, hopefully they can do a better job than Google. Google’s ‘open’ policy is a joke as far as I’m concerned.”

The Android Market isn’t the only digital marketplace to recently receive criticism for slow response to piracy issues. In February, indie developer Wolfire Games said its open-source Mac game, Lugaru HD, had been counterfeited, with its source code ripped off and re-sold on the Mac Store for a much cheaper price. The developer criticized Apple for a slow response before the company took the counterfeit version off of its store.

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