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