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View Full Version : My App was pirated - what should i do?




v-i-c-
Dec 2, 2009, 07:51 PM
One week after it hit the App Store, i found links to illegal copies of my first iPhone App. :(

I have no experience with this kind of thing.
I know i can't prevent it anymore (now that it's circulating), but maybe someone knows how to make it more difficult for them next time? I have another project in the works that I've invested over 10 months hard work, and I rather not have this happen again, if there is a way to prevent it.

I did ask the host to remove the links from his site, but it's probably on 10 other sites by now. Ideas?

I'm a bit amazed they'd bother to pirate a $.99 cent app, but I guess that's the world we live in :(



drf1229
Dec 2, 2009, 08:05 PM
Unfortionately, when you have a paid app thats just bound to happen. I don't think there is any stopping it. Even the smartest developer can't outsmart the dumbest criminal. (If that makes any sense :))

fishkorp
Dec 2, 2009, 08:38 PM
There are ways of detecting pirated apps and making them not function, many app developers do that. The pirates have pretty much given up on Beejive because of this. However, all the good ones don't share their methods or secrets, otherwise the crackers would find a way around the protection. You can get some basic things to try by just Googling around.

kAoTiX
Dec 3, 2009, 04:10 AM
I use Beejive illegally, no point beating around the bush.

I don't think you can do anything to stop people pirating your apps. Nothing is unbeatable and in all honesty spending any amount of time trying to stop it is wasted time.
Things like Windows and major games with 'serious' protection get cracked over night and these developers spend months creating this type of protection.

Put it this way, I don't honestly think you would make any more revenue from your app if it was 'uncrackable' and people were forced to buy it. I obviously mean that with no disrespect but generally if someone is going to pirate something they aren't going to consider purchasing.

Just my views really, ultimately it's up to you.

alexcurylo
Dec 3, 2009, 03:26 PM
...The pirates have pretty much given up on Beejive because of this...

OK, dude, you owe me a new keyboard for the coffee I just sprayed all over it.

http://appulo.us/appdb/?page=viewapp&id=800

But granted appulous links often just have scripts run over them and they don't have internal copy protection defeated. Let me check my favorite torrent site ... why yes, yes there it is. "The BeejiveIM I just uploaded has been patched and there's instructions in the release for how to properly install it. The version I released is 100% working..."


If you really want to worry about the people that aren't going to buy your app anyway no matter what you do -- and I would say that choosing to do that instead of working on features that will make honest people buy it is a complete misallocation of resources -- then your only practical recourse is to rely on in-app purchase for most of your revenue. That hasn't been cracked in the general case, and you can probably keep ahead of the crackers in a given particular case with some fairly trivial obfuscation and frequent updates.

icewing
Dec 4, 2009, 12:22 AM
kaotix and alexcurylo, I'm curious about your responses. Are you developers? And if so, I assume that it's ok with you that people might pirate YOUR apps? :confused:

firewood
Dec 4, 2009, 01:24 AM
Ideas?

I'm a bit amazed they'd bother to pirate a $.99 cent app, but I guess that's the world we live in :(

It's not worth your time worrying about it.

There is decent evidence that just enough DRM to make the lazy majority realize that they have to pay for apps results in significantly better sales numbers. Apple already provides that, in that far less than 50% of devices in use by people who put any money into iTunes are security-broken. Maybe less than 10%.

There is very little evidence that much more on-device DRM beyond this has any reasonable payback.

You might spend 100 hours on copy protection coding, and gain $2 in additional sales, if even that, and now you just spent over a week working for 2 cents an hour before somebody earns their street cred cracking your hard work, sometimes in less time than you spent. The people who crack apps often have no actual interest in that particular app, so the price is irrelevant. And, in fact, the harder an app is to crack, the more reputation points they can gain.

Server-side DRM for apps with online content is a far more interesting story.

yayitsezekiel
Dec 4, 2009, 02:38 AM
arrgh! thar be booty!

sorry there's not really much you can do that would be economical. Being a pirate myself, people will generally pirate anything that is pirate-able. Unfortunately, that includes $.99 apps. Don't hate, I'm trying to give you the mindset of the people who took your app.

North Bronson
Dec 4, 2009, 03:43 AM
arrgh! thar be booty!

sorry there's not really much you can do that would be economical. Being a pirate myself, people will generally pirate anything that is pirate-able. Unfortunately, that includes $.99 apps. Don't hate, I'm trying to give you the mindset of the people who took your app.

Did you also steal your two-thousand dollar laptop? :rolleyes:

NickFalk
Dec 4, 2009, 04:44 AM
arrgh! thar be booty!

sorry there's not really much you can do that would be economical. Being a pirate myself, people will generally pirate anything that is pirate-able. Unfortunately, that includes $.99 apps. Don't hate, I'm trying to give you the mindset of the people who took your app.
While your honesty is commendable I'm also sad to hear what you're saying. Personally I have a very hard time understanding how you justify taking someones intelectual property and not paying for it. As a small time 100% unsuccessful developer myself (deservedly so). I'm trying to understand where you're coming from.

I can understand the challenge of hacking being a driving-force, but the actual distribution of other people's work is a bit harder to fathom. Especially so for a platform like the iPhone where the majority of developers are small-timers sweating over these software-projects, trying to make a buck following their dreams. These aren't power-hungry megalomaniac multi-billion-companies these are regular guys like yourself dreaming of making a living from creating iPhone apps...

:confused:

kAoTiX
Dec 4, 2009, 05:30 AM
While your honesty is commendable I'm also sad to hear what you're saying. Personally I have a very hard time understanding how you justify taking someones intelectual property and not paying for it. As a small time 100% unsuccessful developer myself (deservedly so). I'm trying to understand where you're coming from.

I can understand the challenge of hacking being a driving-force, but the actual distribution of other people's work is a bit harder to fathom. Especially so for a platform like the iPhone where the majority of developers are small-timers sweating over these software-projects, trying to make a buck following their dreams. These aren't power-hungry megalomaniac multi-billion-companies these are regular guys like yourself dreaming of making a living from creating iPhone apps...

:confused:

To my knowledge nobody in this thread said they distributed peoples apps illegally. And I find it hard to believe that you cannot see how people can 'steal' something, do you live on another planet? At the end of the day we are commiting a crime and in doing so take full responsibility for any repercussions surrounding that.

Another point to make is that I highly doubt pirates take any significant revenue from developers in such a way to make the whole app development process pointless. Lets be fair, there are over a million apps in the app store. Surely if piracy was a major issue and a terrible drain on revenue to developers they wouldn't do it? This is my understanding of it.

@icewing: I am not an iPhone developer but I am a Windows platform software developer of 5 years. To me, piracy is part of the game. I see no problem with someone taking something I make and releasing it for free publically.
The amount of people that would actually pirate it would be so insignificant that it has no bearing on the money I make from legitimate sales.

I refuse to implement serious software protection as it is more hassle than worth. If more software developers went down this route you could almost guarantee that a lot of problems with software would be solved over night due to the fact that a piece of software isn't being protected by someone elses poorly written code.
That being said, I do implement some form of licensing purely to maintain the fact that someone is purchasing a product from me and it still needs to be monitored.

I don't think this thread will go anywhere but into a huge debate on morals and the laws behind piracy and how you wont get any presents for Christmas if you pirate apps.
People can do what they want, you cannot stop them.

NickFalk
Dec 4, 2009, 05:58 AM
To my knowledge nobody in this thread said they distributed peoples apps illegally. And I find it hard to believe that you cannot see how people can 'steal' something, do you live on another planet?
I never said any such thing. I'm obviously acknowleding the existence of software theft. I can understand the fact that people want to pay as little as possible, but still you'll find that very few people are actual shop-lifters. I'm just askin how you justify your actions? And I guess you somehow came up with an answer here:

Another point to make is that I highly doubt pirates take any significant revenue from developers in such a way to make the whole app development process pointless. Lets be fair, there are over a million apps in the app store. Surely if piracy was a major issue and a terrible drain on revenue to developers they wouldn't do it? This is my understanding of it.

There figure is actually 100K, not a million. But still: I know several small-time developers who have quit developing all together as they never saw anything remotely resembling proper returns on their investments.

Personally I'm not even getting my coffee-expenses back. But, I haven't really released anything that deserves hit-status. Whether pirating is causing developers a huge loss is a subject it is nigh on impossible to answer, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't help...



I am not an iPhone developer but I am a Windows platform software developer of 5 years. To me, piracy is part of the game. I see no problem with someone taking something I make and releasing it for free publically.
I'm sure every developer (myself included) agree that pirating is "part of the game" but the moment we start saying it is OK, is the moment we admit there's no point paying for software at all. Of course it is not OK. I certainly don't believe aggressive action is the answer to the problem. I do believe however that the very least thing any sensible person should do is to agree it is a problem.

I refuse to implement serious software protection as it is more hassle than worth.
I agree 100%.

I don't think this thread will go anywhere but into a huge debate on morals and the laws behind piracy and how you wont get any presents for Christmas if you pirate apps. People can do what they want, you cannot stop them.
You're probably right, but by telling them it is OK(ish) you will just make pirating even more socially acceptable.

Again: I just find it hard to believe people find it is OK not to pay for people's work.

v-i-c-
Dec 4, 2009, 09:12 AM
arrgh! thar be booty!

sorry there's not really much you can do that would be economical. Being a pirate myself, people will generally pirate anything that is pirate-able. Unfortunately, that includes $.99 apps. Don't hate, I'm trying to give you the mindset of the people who took your app.

OK - don't hate me when i start flooding the usual places with fakes. You know it's just sports for me.
Seriously THIS is really what we should do: SPAM is the answer - Developers should flood any place that is floodable.
Unfortunately this means buying $.99 apps will be easier. :p

admanimal
Dec 4, 2009, 11:01 AM
Ignore the pirates, work on improving the app to attract more paying customers.

forcesteeler
Dec 4, 2009, 11:35 AM
Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk Got Billions of dollars with the average Development Team of 1,000+ Programmers. With all that there apps get cracked in less than 24 hours of release.

What the hell do you think you can do? if Major Corporations Can't stop there stuff from being pirated.

alexcurylo
Dec 4, 2009, 02:52 PM
kaotix and alexcurylo, I'm curious about your responses. Are you developers? And if so, I assume that it's ok with you that people might pirate YOUR apps? :confused:

Take a look here, for instance, and note "Seller Name". I assure you, there is only one "Alex Curylo" on the entire planet.

http://appulo.us/appdb/?page=viewapp&id=7505

More generally, I've been doing commercial desktop software for 22 years, with pretty much every imaginable level of copy protection from "zero" to "hardware dongle". There has been not a single instance where I believe the time spent on copy protection would not have been more usefully employed elsewhere.

yayitsezekiel
Dec 5, 2009, 01:35 AM
Ignore the pirates, work on improving the app to attract more paying customers.

I think that's the best advice because there is always a large number of people who run non-jailbroken iphones/ipod touches and will buy applications. there is always hope ;)

firewood
Dec 5, 2009, 02:14 AM
Personally I have a very hard time understanding how you justify taking someones intelectual property and not paying for it. ...
:confused:

Try a history lesson. Intellectual property didn't even exist as a wide-spread legal or social construct in most of the world until a few centuries ago. And there's still not a consensus (some of the behaviors you think are quite civilized might well be considered barbaric in other parts of the planet... and vice versa of course).

YMMV

NickFalk
Dec 5, 2009, 03:37 AM
Try a history lesson. Intellectual property didn't even exist as a wide-spread legal or social construct in most of the world until a few centuries ago. And there's still not a consensus (some of the behaviors you think are quite civilized might well be considered barbaric in other parts of the planet... and vice versa of course).

YMMV

Good point. I don't have a problem with anyone who grew up in the bush a few centuries ago pirating. ;-)

v-i-c-
Dec 5, 2009, 05:09 AM
Ignore the pirates, work on improving the app to attract more paying customers.

Already working on the update :)

revenuee
Dec 5, 2009, 05:29 PM
Take it as a compliment -- you're software is good enough to be pirated. And then like the other guys advice on making it better to attract others ...

Sparky9292
Dec 24, 2009, 01:43 AM
Unfortionately, when you have a paid app thats just bound to happen. I don't think there is any stopping it. Even the smartest developer can't outsmart the dumbest criminal. (If that makes any sense :))

Yeah, but Beejive is giving the hackers fits trying to crack it. Read the frustration on the following forum:

http://hackulo.us/forums/index.php?/topic/39875-beejiveim-with-push-302-new-version-09302009/page__hl__beejive

So do whatever Beejive is doing.:)

kAoTiX
Dec 24, 2009, 04:00 AM
Take it as a compliment -- you're software is good enough to be pirated. And then like the other guys advice on making it better to attract others ...

Best answer to date. This is pure win. Think about it :D
Work on your app for your paying customers and simply do as suggested and ignore the pirates who don't want to pay for things. Personally I pirate apps and don't care what other people think.
I have bought many iPhone apps that I found worthy of my money. The others are either pure crap or not what I wanted so I found no use. No refunds is silly.

yayitsezekiel
Dec 25, 2009, 01:08 AM
Best answer to date. This is pure win. Think about it :D
Work on your app for your paying customers and simply do as suggested and ignore the pirates who don't want to pay for things. Personally I pirate apps and don't care what other people think.
I have bought many iPhone apps that I found worthy of my money. The others are either pure crap or not what I wanted so I found no use. No refunds is silly.

at least i'm not the only one who's honest :o

v-i-c-
May 15, 2010, 02:07 PM
After all the pirating, the sales are absolutely down now. I've set it to FREE but not for a long time (to avoid creating to much traffic). Have fun with it.

NickK1066
May 18, 2010, 07:01 AM
I think it comes down to two things:

* Open software without DRM that relies on the user's gratuity. The user ends up almost tipping the developer for creating a good app.
The problem is it's impossible to fund development in this way and the bigger apps aren't a labour of love but a business model.
It won't be long before the pirated versions will have the iAds removed too.

* Closed DRM which I believe the Apple will implement within their own designed silicon in an attempt to lock down the firmware and application/content (think iPad secured streamed movies or a new Apple TV with iPhoneOS that only runs via encrypted HDMI movie content).
Apple is attempting to use it's Cloud and closed ecosystem protected right up to the screen/touch/keyboard/sound itself. Soon the image on your display will be rendered in the cloud, the key presses and touches will be sent to the cloud for processing and you'll not have access to the application or data itself (akin to Citrix virtualisation - Apple's/Google's next aquisition).


The problem is the software, hence the value to the user, can be manipulated to remove any DRM. The only way to protect is to have a hosted service and then only provide non-reusable information to the user on a need-to-use basis.

dejo
May 18, 2010, 09:52 AM
Apple is attempting to use it's Cloud and closed ecosystem protected right up to the screen/touch/keyboard/sound itself. Soon the image on your display will be rendered in the cloud, the key presses and touches will be sent to the cloud for processing and you'll not have access to the application or data itself (akin to Citrix virtualisation - Apple's/Google's next aquisition).
What gives you this impression? Until the internet, especially WiFi / cellular, is much higher speed and reliable, I don't see key presses, etc. being sent to the cloud for processing happening at all. And the fact that Apple is encouraging native app development (200,000 and counting) versus web apps, I think shows that Apple is not attempting to move everything to the cloud.

NickK1066
May 18, 2010, 10:57 AM
What gives you this impression? Until the internet, especially WiFi / cellular, is much higher speed and reliable, I don't see key presses, etc. being sent to the cloud for processing happening at all. And the fact that Apple is encouraging native app development (200,000 and counting) versus web apps, I think shows that Apple is not attempting to move everything to the cloud.

Agreed, 10-15 years. That is the direction they're travelling and HMDI cloud-to-screen will be first.

Samsung are at the same game without content (LAN into the TV with media services). Only Google/MS/Apple have the required independence and size to bring it to the market.