App Store Anarchy - Pirated iPhone Applications

iPhone 2.0 Jailbreak and Unlock Pirate

First we had Crackulous, and now as is the case with any sort of media today, piracy is running rampant. It is something that is bound to happen no matter how many ways are created to prevent it. DVD's, CD's, Satellite TV, Video Games, and now iPhone applications. According to Wired.com nearly 20% of all the App Store apps have been pirated and are now available. One torrent file of 5.4 gigabytes worth of apps, 808 cracked apps to be exact, was recently floating around on the web. It's all out there to grab... but it doesn't make it right and no we won't tell you where.

Wired.com interviewed a creator of one of these pirated app web sites:

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blockquote>"We want people to think of these as trial apps since Apple doesn't allow trials of apps before purchase," said "Omar," one of the creators of the site, who refused to disclose his real name to Wired.com. "It's Apple's fault for not putting up a trials system."

Has "Omar" ever really been on the App Store lately? There are lite versions all over the App Store and that rests in the developers hands whether or not they want to make that available, but certainly that is not Apple's fault. Right? Either way, this is getting out of control just a bit, I mean you have pirates pirating other pirates now!

So who really is to blame for this piracy gone crazy in the App Store? Apple? Developers? Let us know where you stand on this one!

[Via Wired.com]

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Jeremy

Community editor. Tech enthusiast. All-around geek.

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Reader comments

App Store Anarchy - Pirated iPhone Applications

26 Comments

The Lite version of most apps on the App store are just that "lite versions" and not trial versions. Most of the lite version only have a few feature when compared to the real deal. I think only the lite games really show the customer what they'd get of they bought the real game.
I like what MS is going to do with their App store, where customers can "return" the app within the first 24 hours and get a refund.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple tries to lock down the App Store DRM a little to try to prevent this, but I don't think it really matters. For a lot of people, jailbreaking and chasing download links around on shady websites is just way too much trouble to save a dollar or two. And as with other pirated stuff, numbers of pirated copies does not equal number of sales lost.

Well Piracy is Piracy you can't polish that to become something else, its not legal of course and illegal things go out of control eaaaaasily! It all comes to the user to put a name on it and respect the creator, I don't dismiss the fact that nothing can give you a better test drive of something you want to pay for but the real copy of that app, there are a lot of crap-app on appstore, apps that don't do anything wrong but they neither do anything good, or they simply don't fit in your situation. You can't stop piracy but you can control it by believing the fact of paying for something that is useful for you makes it better in future revisions and keeps it alive!

Having a hard time to understand why people only are talking about this now. iPhone apps have been pirated almost since the launch of the appstore

@Neil, lite should be more than enough to know what you are getting with the full version. Its similar to a Xbox demo... you get a little taste.

Copywright laws will be enforced sooner as more people copy, steal and distribute. Soon every digital item will carry more than a DRM. Carefull what you decide to steal it may not be worth it in the end!

Yeah. I wouldn't feel right stealing an app. A lot of developers bust their ass coding and getting the damn thing approved.

With my Nintendo DS, I don't feel much remorse at all using the R4DS to download and play pirated games, simply because the pricing is unreasonable (moreso here in Australia than US America, but its still not great in the US), and I choose to rebel against it. With the iPhone however, I feel bad about pirating apps as most of them are reasonably priced, with some being absolute bargains.

is this any worse than National Rail Enquiries charging £5 for what was a free app, namely MyRailLite?

@Jeremy Sikora
Did you read what I said???
You compare the lite versions to Xbox Demos when I just said only the lite games show you what you'd get with the full game? Games are different that applications.
For example, VLC remote. There are two version, the lite version and the real deal. The lite version only allows you to stop, pause, next. The full version allows you to load up whatever content you want to play, but if you tried the lite version you would never know if it is easy to load the files, or if it does it in a way that is satisfactory to you.
That why as I said, with games its different so bring up xbox demos is just pointless.

@ Neil. Yeah your exactly right in that its a good idea for games, but not applications. Applications require their full functionability for you to try them out properly. Thats the reason why there's a lot of trialware for PC apps, and not 'lite' versions.

stealing is stealing end of story. Everyones complaints about trial versions may be valid but that is not an excuse to steal. This is really a serious offense and one that makes the rest of us pay for. If you can afford an iPhone why on earth are y'all crying about a 1$ to 10$ app?? I really loath some peoples moral standards. Were you brought up in a barn? Shut the door!

One thing I hated about the Palm (I had a handspring visor) was the price of apps. They were $20 to $40 and a year later I have nothing to show for it. Then I had an HP4705 and the win mobile apps were also $20 to $40.
In comparison, the app store prices are from free to $4 for most useful apps, and I feel good about that.
Pirating iphone apps is just like the crackhead in my neighborhood stealing a child's bike so he can sell it for 50 cents. You can't really reason with a crack smoker, in case you wondered.

I am consistently surprised by people's simple and regurgitated outlook on piracy. This "theft is theft and its wrong" rhetoric is the only avenue many of you have taken time to acknowledge. With a simple analyzation of intellectual property ideals and a slightly more thorough understanding of why exactly we are being charged and how much for data; it becomes clear that pirates are not the thieves, at least not in the beginning. These "products" provided to us serve one purpose, to generate money at an absorbent rate but after storage and bandwidth costs are recouped, the developer paid and profits made, who exactly are we stealing from and what? A series of 1's and 0's that belongs to no one. An extreme and far gone cousin to this argument is land ownership. Simple yet abstract given the amount of force fed notions we subscribe to about it. How can anyone, at any point, truly own land? Who did they buy it from? Certainly the first people to step food on any land mass did not pay for the privilege and if they decided to stay, it does not constitute ownership at least in the sense in which we define it now.
Theft begets theft but as Websters defines theft. I guess for me its important to keep in perspective that i am "stealing" from a "thief" and to me that negates all arguments. Profit is theft and before anyone tries to use that last notion to derail my comment, I participate in capitalism and while I think its wholly detrimental and spirit crushing I don't claim to have a sound alternative to our situation. I am no off-the-grid-back-to-land-anarchist but i do believe that one of the first steps humanity can take towards freedom is the language and its implications. Everyone involved is a thief, its important to say those words.
My two cents, no more, no less.

FOrget it omar and kyek are both right lite versions are not trials if apple put trials appulous would close but since they to stupid to put trials sorry apple jailbreak wins.

I'm a developer of iPhone apps. The reason why there are so many great apps out there is only because we can be rewarded for creating them. The App store's protection from piracy has been so far an incentive for developers to create and innovate. And I can speak for the majority of developers, because unlike the mainstream software market, a huge percentage of apps are developed by individuals and small software houses. These providers do not have large pockets to fall back to, competition is fearsome (just see how many apps are submitted daily), the lifespan of apps is very small, and the profit per download is a joke (also let's not forget that Apple keeps 30% of sales). I hope most of you can realize that if you support App store piracy, you'll simply break the business model and we're all gonna have to kiss the iApps idea goodbuy.
It's as simple as this:
If I can't sell my apps anymore because people can steal them instead, I'll just quit it and go get a job somewhere. Wouldn't you do the same!?

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