Apple cracking down on App Store copycats

Apple cracking down on App Store copycats

Those scam apps that have been copying icons and splash screens from legitimate apps, costing developers cash, and ripping off customers? Yeah, it looks like Apple is cracking down on them, at least the high profile ones that are most likely -- and most intended -- to cause confusion. Benjamin Mayo reported on the change when he was provided with a copy of a rejection notice that showed the App Store review team citing provision 22.2: "Apps that contain false, fraudulent, or misleading representations will be rejected."

It appears this policy has changed and Apple is taking a much more proactive role; rejecting apps which attempt to mislead users by aping successful apps’ trademarks. In short, Apple is helping to protect real developers from being ripped off. This is a good thing.

Developer Brad Larson also noticed that Apple has added a new, dedicated content dispute form that developers can use to report App Store copyright violations.

If you believe that an application available in the App Store violates your intellectual property rights, you can use this form to submit a claim to the App Store Legal Team.

Matthew Panzarino of The Next Web took the form for a spin, and while it looks like a powerful new tool, he notes:

Apple is clearly looking to minimize these occurrences as much as possible or, in the event that they do happen, to resolve them quickly.

Copyright is murky water. Apple needs to protect developers from outright violations of their intellectual property rights, but they also have to protect small developers from spurious legal challenges designed to force competition out of the store.

Rejection or removal from the App Store is Apple's nuclear option in these disputes, and it's a weapon that should be used, but used carefully and wisely.

Check the links below for more, and let's see where Apple goes with this.

Source: Benjamin Mayo, Brad Larson, via The Next Web

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 8 comments. Add yours.

Dev from tipb says:

Apple's rejection of a news app based on its content is far more important App Store policy news this week [ http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/08/drone-app/ ]

stephen007 says:

It sounds like Apple it trying to stay out of the 'politics' of such an app more than anything else. If I were a shareholder I'd have to strongly agree with Apple's position (though I can see other points of view as well).

A seemingly left-wing app tracking drone strikes could lead to a right-wing app tracking babies aborted. I'm sure that's not what Apple wants people sifting thru in the App Store and I'm not sure I do either.

A simple solution remains for both types of apps... make them HTML based apps and anyone can load them anytime they please. No censorship. No need to make a big stink or write big magazine articles about it. Course, that wouldn't get publicity which is really what these types of apps are likely seeking.

Dev from tipb says:

You have it completely, 100% bass-ackwards. Apple can only stay out of it by *not* making decisions. Once you make decisions based on political content, left or right, you are involved.

OMMBoy says:

It's about time! When I got my first iPhone two years ago (iPhone 4), I was introduced to the app store...and its many copycat apps. I found several that were blatant copies of the originals, down to the minute details, and informed the original app's publishers. I noticed that of the nearly 10 copycat apps I found, every one of them was from a Chinese publisher. Thankfully, I didn't purchase any of the copies.

meskin84 says:

So, I guess there is no chance of seeing Intergalactice Enraged Fowls

jimbo897 says:

haha.. but I wanted intergalactic enraged fowl for iPhone :p

Gazoobee says:

Why is there a tomato in the picture?

jimbo897 says:

I think this is good overall for the app community. Apple should be on a mission to make sure that the App Store doesn't become drowned by garbage like Google Play has. There are useful services that help people find apps or find app "deals", but the litany of apps that simply try to create a new directory or promote a single app when you open them are just garbage.