Multiple Android piracy sites seized by US law enforcement

By on August 23, 2012, 8:00 AM

A number of Android-based piracy websites have reportedly been seized as part of a joint venture involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, multiple US attorneys’ offices as well as Dutch and French law enforcement officials. A statement released by the DOJ notes that this is the first time that domains involving mobile phone app marketplaces have been seized.

Domains now in the custody of the federal government include appplanet.net, appbucket.net and snappzmarket.com. Users visiting these destinations are now shown a seizure banner that indicates what has happened and further reminding visitors that willful copyright infringement is a federal crime with stiff penalties for those found guilty.

“Software apps have become an increasingly essential part of our nation’s economy and creative culture, and the Criminal Division is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the creators of these apps and other forms of intellectual property from those who seek to steal it,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the DOJ’s Criminal Division.

Authorities were able to download thousands of copies of popular mobile apps during the investigation. The notice highlights the fact that servers storing apps sold through third party marketplaces were often hosted in other countries. In these situations, officials worked with international partners to obtain evidence stored on the servers. In the US alone, nine search warrants were issued across six different districts as part of the operation.

This of course is good news for developers as each pirated copy of an app they created is money out of their pocket. These extra funds could potentially be rolled back into the same project and result in a more innovative product for the end-user.




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1 person liked this | foreverzero89 said:

This of course is good news for developers as each pirated copy of an app they created is money out of their pocket.

no, it's not. it's money they would have never gotten in the first place, that and they never had the money, so it can't be "out of their pocket".

lets get this straight: piracy is not theft as there is no loss. heres a great example: piracy is where you see a car you like and make an exact copy; theft is where you go up to a car, smash the window and drive off with it.

Zoltan Head said:

lets get this straight: piracy is not theft as there is no loss. heres a great example: piracy is where you see a car you like and make an exact copy; theft is where you go up to a car, smash the window and drive off with it.

What a penetrating insight, never seen that POV in these pages before, eh?

Of course piracy is equivalent to theft, the only difference from TWOCing is that the rightful owner loses out indirectly rather than directly.

marinkvasina marinkvasina said:

This of course is good news for developers as each pirated copy of an app they created is money out of their pocket.

no, it's not. it's money they would have never gotten in the first place, that and they never had the money, so it can't be "out of their pocket".

lets get this straight: piracy is not theft as there is no loss. heres a great example: piracy is where you see a car you like and make an exact copy; theft is where you go up to a car, smash the window and drive off with it.

Yes this +10000000!!!

I wouldn't have bought the apps anyways so how the **** are they losing money?

Guest said:

@foreverzero89 I totally agree! If you want to take a look at my app and then sit down for eight straight months of full-time work writing the code to make an exact copy of it, then that wouldn't be stealing. It would be copyright infringement, but it wouldn't be piracy.

This is how it works. The cost of producing an app is high. My app cost about $200k in development an production costs. I don't charge $200k plus for my app because I can spread the cost over the number of users. It's a huge gamble for me. You get $200k worth of work for almost nothing. When you make an 'exact copy' of my app, you're not taking money out of my pocket, you're keeping me in debt and negatively affecting my ability to produce more apps that you might like.

So yes, you are hurting people by pirating software and yes, it is theft.

lchu12 lchu12 said:

This of course is good news for developers as each pirated copy of an app they created is money out of their pocket.

no, it's not. it's money they would have never gotten in the first place, that and they never had the money, so it can't be "out of their pocket".

lets get this straight: piracy is not theft as there is no loss. heres a great example: piracy is where you see a car you like and make an exact copy; theft is where you go up to a car, smash the window and drive off with it.

Yes this +10000000!!!

I wouldn't have bought the apps anyways so how the **** are they losing money?

Just because you wouldn't buy them, it does not mean you should be able to download it for free and use them.

yorro said:

This of course is good news for developers as each pirated copy of an app they created is money out of their pocket.

no, it's not. it's money they would have never gotten in the first place, that and they never had the money, so it can't be "out of their pocket".

lets get this straight: piracy is not theft as there is no loss. heres a great example: piracy is where you see a car you like and make an exact copy; theft is where you go up to a car, smash the window and drive off with it.

I knew some people who pirate Android apps, but whenever they couldn't get a hold of one, they buy.

They are forced to buy.

Guest said:

its the fundamental flaw of all software it can be easily replicated. so much so that there is little to no cost put into creating replica's. as far as manufacturing principles are concerned, as you mass produce a product is value goes down. since we can mass produce software copies the prices should go down rapidly as a case of principle.

thus current pricing practices make software carry an artificial worth, when based on that manufacturing principle.

Tygerstrike said:

Once again those that do steal will justify their theft. It is so tiresome. I can't believe these ppl. It is theft. Just because they wouldn't pay for the app they pirate doesn't mean the developer won't lose money. It really does boil down to the hard work and time that the developers put into it. Then again until the thieves have to deal with theft in thief own lives, they won't change. I truly hope that karma comes back and slaps the piss out of them. Maybe a taste of what they do to others will help their perspective. Possibly having their life and livelihood screwed up because someone has the same loose morals as they show.

Food for thought for all the pirates. You do realize that your phone information was sent to the servers that have been seized. Enjoy the ride. You've earned it. Those EAU are a pain. Also all they have to do is match your IMEI with any of the carriers and they know exactly who you are and where you live. You may have rooted your phone but you can't change the core information that hooks you up to the towers.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Well said, Tyger. @foreverzero and Marin. Here's a couple thought experiments for you. If you go through a red light in the middle of the night and no one sees you, is it breaking the law? Yes, of course. If you take $5 from someone who won $100 million in the lottery, is it still stealing if they never notice? Of course.

Stealing is taking something of value that doesn't belong to you without paying for it. It doesn't matter if no one notices, no one sees, everyone else is doing it, or if the product you stole can be copied over and over again.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and just blame your parents for you not understanding this.

Guest said:

When you make an 'exact copy' of my app, you're not taking money out of my pocket, you're keeping me in debt and negatively affecting my ability to produce more apps that you might like.

So yes, you are hurting people by pirating software and yes, it is theft.

In the vast majority of cases this is simply not the truth. Studies have shown that over 96% of software of which a copy of had been acquired without paying the author ("pirated") would never have been purchased regardless.

The loss of piracy is typically a detriment to the author who loses out on a very substantial amount of highly potent free advertising. The loss in "word of mouth" advertising will no where near be offset by the "pirates who would otherwise purchase".

Since the manufacturing (copy) cost is near nil, in most situations the customer should decide its worth. If this doesn't provide enough income to the author to continue the application then the market has spoken.

Guest said:

"Stealing"... "Law". These are mere concepts clung to by the narrow-mind seeking to hold the unholdable, keep the unkeepable, and live forever when they will surely die.

We don't even own ourselves so how can we pretend to own any thing and not expect the nonsense and suffering we see before us as a result.

The wise avoid such folly and instead rely on the ongoing recognition of our true nature.

Zoltan Head said:

Studies have shown that over 96% of software of which a copy of had been acquired without paying the author ("pirated" would never have been purchased regardless.

What studies?

"Stealing"... "Law". These are mere concepts clung to by the narrow-mind seeking to hold the unholdable, keep the unkeepable, and live forever when they will surely die. We don't even own ourselves so how can we pretend to own any thing and not expect the nonsense and suffering we see before us as a result. The wise avoid such folly and instead rely on the ongoing recognition of our true nature.

Deep & Meaningless!

Guest said:

Deep & Meaningless!
describes the claim that "losses from software piracy in 2009 have exceeded $51 billion" - BSA Piracy Study

The institution of American Law is a for-profit enterprise that feeds off of "soft" crime (software piracy, marijuana etc.) by grossly exaggerating the moral, physical, and financial consequences and fills its privatized jails with harmless people. Meanwhile the American Military enterprise exports WAR Inc. The US Government has been reduced to a lobby group for the "haves" (banks, military, law, health, energy). The US middle class is in serious decline.

Wake up time.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"Studies have shown that over 96% of software of which a copy of had been acquired without paying the author ("pirated" would never have been purchased regardless.

The loss of piracy is typically a detriment to the author who loses out on a very substantial amount of highly potent free advertising. The loss in "word of mouth" advertising will no where near be offset by the "pirates who would otherwise purchase".

Since the manufacturing (copy) cost is near nil, in most situations the customer should decide its worth. If this doesn't provide enough income to the author to continue the application then the market has spoken."

I have never read a bigger load of crap in my life. So stealing is doing the publisher a "favor" because it is actually advertising. And how about some links proving your claim that "96% of stolen software was never going to be purchased anyway." Exactly how do you PROVE that?

Just insane - I can't believe people actually think this is a valid argument to steal.

DocGamin DocGamin said:

Tyger you unfortunately are out of the loop when you think that a person with any tech savy would use their phone to download a "pirated" app. Most would traditionally use an IP blocking software to download the app to their pc and then upload the app to the phone from the usb port. Your concept of stealing is slightly off base. If I purchased an item do I not own the right to use the item as I see fit? If so then I have the right to share my item with my friend/s. If you can tell me that you never made a copy of a song you liked and shared it with a friend I will call you a liar. If you admit to it then you are a self-indulgent "pirate" in the eyes of the law. The only reason digital sharing is illegal is because it can be done so freely. When I was a kid and dubbed a copy of my favorite tape for my friends I was considered a good friend for sharing. When sharing went digital greed kicked in before that sharing was a way to better market a product.

Zoltan Head said:

The institution of American Law is a for-profit enterprise that feeds off of "soft" crime (software piracy, marijuana etc.) by grossly exaggerating the moral, physical, and financial consequences and fills its privatized jails with harmless people. Meanwhile the American Military enterprise exports WAR Inc. The US Government has been reduced to a lobby group for the "haves" (banks, military, law, health, energy). The US middle class is in serious decline. Wake up time.

More sententious psychobabble.

Guest said:

@DocGamin :- When you were a kid and dubbed a copy of your favorite tape for your friends, you were a thief. The law pertaining to recorded music (and other intellectual property) has been the same or stricter since the early twentieth century.

Guest said:

I only buy apps that I can try before I buy. I have "pirated" so many apps that were garbage. However the ones I have found useful I have bought the app to support the developer. Wait that's not completely true, I have not supported any of the big name developers, I support the small guys.

rculver9056 rculver9056 said:

Tyger you unfortunately are out of the loop when you think that a person with any tech savy would use their phone to download a "pirated" app. Most would traditionally use an IP blocking software to download the app to their pc and then upload the app to the phone from the usb port. Your concept of stealing is slightly off base. If I purchased an item do I not own the right to use the item as I see fit? If so then I have the right to share my item with my friend/s. If you can tell me that you never made a copy of a song you liked and shared it with a friend I will call you a liar. If you admit to it then you are a self-indulgent "pirate" in the eyes of the law. The only reason digital sharing is illegal is because it can be done so freely. When I was a kid and dubbed a copy of my favorite tape for my friends I was considered a good friend for sharing. When sharing went digital greed kicked in before that sharing was a way to better market a product.

Actually, with software you purchase a licence to use a single copy of the software for yourself, not to share said software with your thieving friends. Sme goes for music and movies.

bucklateral said:

@foreverzero89 I totally agree! If you want to take a look at my app and then sit down for eight straight months of full-time work writing the code to make an exact copy of it, then that wouldn't be stealing. It would be copyright infringement, but it wouldn't be piracy.

This is how it works. The cost of producing an app is high. My app cost about $200k in development an production costs. I don't charge $200k plus for my app because I can spread the cost over the number of users. It's a huge gamble for me. You get $200k worth of work for almost nothing. When you make an 'exact copy' of my app, you're not taking money out of my pocket, you're keeping me in debt and negatively affecting my ability to produce more apps that you might like.

So yes, you are hurting people by pirating software and yes, it is theft.

Sorry. @ Guest

I happen to agree with you. I have some questions I'd like to ask you off line. Would you be willing to discuss?

email address removed for safety

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

@foreverzero89 I totally agree! If you want to take a look at my app and then sit down for eight straight months of full-time work writing the code to make an exact copy of it, then that wouldn't be stealing. It would be copyright infringement, but it wouldn't be piracy.

This is how it works. The cost of producing an app is high. My app cost about $200k in development an production costs. I don't charge $200k plus for my app because I can spread the cost over the number of users. It's a huge gamble for me. You get $200k worth of work for almost nothing. When you make an 'exact copy' of my app, you're not taking money out of my pocket, you're keeping me in debt and negatively affecting my ability to produce more apps that you might like.

So yes, you are hurting people by pirating software and yes, it is theft.

Sorry but that is an English fail. If no-one told you there were pirated copies of your app, you wouldn't know. And if those people weren't going to pay for it anyway, you lost no money. The definition of theft is taking property belonging to another person. You have to LOSE the property in the exchange. In piracy, you have not lost the app. You still have it. It isn't theft. You can't report it to police as missing now can you? Learn the english language.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

I should add I am not condoning piracy. I pay for my applications. Just that the term is "piracy" and is not "theft". Jump up and down all you like but don't try and sensationalise it with a marketing makeover.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

If the term "Pirate" can be used for illegal downloaders and so-called "thieves", Then shouldn't the term "enema bag" be used to describe anti-piracy proponents because when an enema bag starts working, sh*t is spewed everywhere?

Don't illegally download. That just tells the companies you are willing to break the law for their product and they control you with their products. Do not acknowledge their products and help them with word of mouth advertising. Make the companies cater to YOUR needs, not the other way around. The same goes for these ******* politicians. Vote with your money and you will see a change in these stupid copyright laws.

He who dies with the most toys doesn't win...they just die.

Guest said:

There are two components in theft. Lose of property by the rightful owner and unjust enrichment by the thief. Infringement is still unjust enrichment of the thief. And for what it's worth, infringement has been referred to by the US Supreme Court as nothing more than "garden variety theft".

Do you think it's OK to sneak into a movie theater or playhouse? How about a professional football game? People call infringement, theft because it is so similar. I certainly don't find infringement any more honorable than theft.

rculver9056 rculver9056 said:

Sorry but that is an English fail...

But aren't you [they] depriving the author of money?

Zoltan Head said:

But aren't you [they] depriving the author of money?

Of course it is! You can see these whiners above KNOW they are in the wrong, that's why they can only quibble about semantics & syntax, the legal & moral arguments are already lost.

slamscaper slamscaper said:

Downloading a cracked application, or bypassing the protection in some way, is NOT the same as stealing money right out of the developer(s) pocket. In other words, piracy is not the same as larceny.

I don't condone piracy in the least, because I believe the developers should be paid for their hard work. However, this attitude that some people have about copyright infringement is frightening. They simply want to crucify anyone that obtains a retail program for free, which is ridiculous.

You can argue about this all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that you cannot prove that a person would have paid for the program had he or she not been able to acquire it for free. Therefore, you cannot prove that the developer loses money each time their app is pirated.

This means that prosecuting pirates after the fact is not entirely just. Instead, all the effort should be spent on preventing piracy in the first place.

Zoltan Head said:

Downloading a cracked application, or bypassing the protection in some way, is NOT the same as stealing money right out of the developer(s) pocket. In other words, piracy is not the same as larceny.

There it is again! The only defence is quibbling over which words to use!

1 person liked this | Tygerstrike said:

@Zoltan

Give it up. There is no amount of discussion that is going to change the thieves viewpoint. They have it in their head that its ok to steal. I just have the satisfaction that it all comes around. Eventually those that do wrong by others will be wronged in return. I used to be like these idjits. I never had any problem coping music or movies. Hell I used to pay 5 bucks a burnt copy per movie. It wasnt untill I had to deal with Identety Theft that the full ramifications of what I had been doing came to light.

@slam

Its easy to prove the lose in revenue. Its simple logic. Instead of BUYING a copy of whatever copyrighted material, they download it for free. Right there is when the ppl who own the rights lose money. It isnt even a guessing game whether or not the person would have paid for it. They CHOOSE to steal instead of BUY.

Zoltan Head said:

@Zoltan

Give it up. There is no amount of discussion that is going to change the thieves viewpoint.

I expect you're right. Irritating tho....

Guest said:

What I really believe is instead of going through and trying to stop all the pirating sites

they should look more into stopping the reverse engineering of android/iOS apps

you know how easy it is to reverse an android app back to editable, COMPILABLE, code? you literally drag the apk installer file onto an exe and wait 30 seconds

marinkvasina marinkvasina said:

Just because you wouldn't buy them, it does not mean you should be able to download it for free and use them.

This is not the case. We were discussing how they are losing money.

They aren't, whoever thinks otherwise is just greedy.

rculver9056 rculver9056 said:

This is not the case. We were discussing how they are losing money.

They aren't, whoever thinks otherwise is just greedy.

Put yourself in their shoes: You're a developer, and release an app for a few pounds / dollars / camels / rupees or whatever.

Take a moment to think about it. Wouldn't you feel cheated if people wouldn't even pay that for it?

marinkvasina marinkvasina said:

What you do not understand aswell, and I belive most pirates are like this.

Lets say I download a few songs for free, I didn't do it because I can get it for free.

I did it because I can't afford it.

Tygerstrike said:

@Marin

So what. We are all poor. Either budget your money better or just do without. You are trying to use the "I cant afford it" defence. Unfortunatly that would work with say the theft of food. Obviously you have enough money to afford your PC, the rent where you live, food for yourself, and electricity to run it all. Youre not homeless obviously. So your defence falls flat on its face. How about saying this instead....Im to cheap to pay for something I can get for free off the internet. Atleast it would be honest.

marinkvasina marinkvasina said:

@op above

No, I'm young,younger than you think. I'm still with my parents like 99% of people @my age. My parents don't have the extra funds to afford thousands of songs which I have to listen to on youtube....

Guest said:

@ marin

Do you NEED to listen to those music? Do you HAVE to listen to those music? Is your life depended on it? Obviously not. The key point is downloading music/apps/etc without paying the author is plainly wrong. You cannot excuse yourself no matter what you say.

Let be honest. I download apps/music/games/videos for free quite frequently. I know what I'm doing is wrong but I don't have money but I really WANT to have those things. In other words, I'm wrong for downloading those things but I do it because I can. I don't have any excuses whatsoever. I don't understand why so many people who downloads make up all these excuse and play with words to make their actions seem closer to light. It's like stealing a 78,000 dollar car and then saying that you steal it because you can't afford it.

marinkvasina marinkvasina said:

When did I said that Im making excuses?

I'm saying what I do and why I do it. I obviously should not be allowed fun because I live in a poor country where a college degree gives you a small amount of money to get you through the month.

Tygerstrike said:

@Marin

Youre missing the point. You dont really need to download those apps/songs/movies. You CAN do without them. Youre life isnt going to implode if you dont have that app/song/movie. Just because you want it doesnt mean you NEED it. Try reading a book. Or calling a family member. Do other things instead of piracy. Thats all that they are saying.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

But aren't you [they] depriving the author of money?

Yes they are depriving. Depriving of money does not make it stealing. It's like calling someone who accidently killed someone through negligence a murderer.

Never did I say piracy should be condoned. Just let's call a spade a spade and not whoop up some ridiculous feeding frenzy.

It is also ridiculous to say that every pirated copy of a DVD is $30 lost (in this example I'm saying $30 is the list price) because if people COULD NOT PIRATE a large portion of people would NOT have bought it anyway. You are trying to make your sales projections look unrealistically large.

Zoltan Head said:

Depriving of money does not make it stealing. It's like calling someone who accidently killed someone through negligence a murderer.

Of course depriving someone of money which is rightfully theirs is stealing (unless you're literally just quibbling over syntax & semantics, rather than reality).

And no, it isn't logically equivalent to calling an accidental killer a murderer, those two situations are distinguished by motivation, whereas a pirate knows they are doing wrong.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Of course depriving someone of money which is rightfully theirs is stealing (unless you're literally just quibbling over syntax & semantics, rather than reality).

And no, it isn't logically equivalent to calling an accidental killer a murderer, those two situations are distinguished by motivation, whereas a pirate knows they are doing wrong.

What if the pirate has no money? You can't say they have in their possession money that doesn't belong to them. It is a completely illogical argument. You have not TAKEN something. So it is not stealing.

1 person liked this | Zoltan Head said:

What if the pirate has no money? You can't say they have in their possession money that doesn't belong to them. It is a completely illogical argument. You have not TAKEN something. So it is not stealing.

I say again "Of course depriving someone of money which is rightfully theirs is stealing (unless you're literally just quibbling over syntax & semantics, rather than reality)" - can't you understand basic English?

Doctor John Doctor John said:

You have not TAKEN something. So it is not stealing.

It doesn't MATTER whether you use the word stealing - it's still wrong as it still means the person that put the work in to producing the pirated item isn't rewarded for their time and expertise! (as I think Zoltan was saying, although a bit more forcefully ).

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