Is Google doing any cleanup of the Android Market ?


A few days ago, I flagged a few applications on the Android Market as inappropriate, because they were ripoffs of our applications (Renverse, Footsteps and BusinessBingo). Not just remakes, that wouldn’t be illegal; they were completely identical. Only the AndroidManifest.xml file had been altered to change the version and, of course, the AdMob publisher ID. The applications even claimed “by Electric Goat” when launched.

Today, nothing has changed. Adam Gates, the “developer” who copied our applications, added many more new applications and I’m sure most of those are equally stolen from other developers. Why hasn’t Google acted on my reports ? I even gave the package name of the stolen applications in my comments, so that it would be easy to check. We are in the process of fixing the problem in our applications, but we have no way of finding who are the owners of the other “adam gates” applications. If one of our users hadn’t warned us, we would never have noticed

  1. #1 by Dan on September 16, 2010 - 4:08 PM

    Can’t you issue a DMCA takedown notice? They would have to honor that.

  2. #2 by anakin78z on September 16, 2010 - 7:11 PM

    Have you contacted AdMob about this at all? I wonder if they would be quicker to react.
    So there’s no way of directly contacting google? Maybe tweet @timbray?

  3. #3 by nowisgame on September 18, 2010 - 6:32 PM

    My application “Building Destroyer” is also the victim of adam gates illegal copy. I am sure the “developer” is somebody related to China mobile. Since I have submitted a new version of my application to China mobile 10086 site, and that application bears a new icon, that I have never published anywhere before. And the procedure of publishing on China mobile’s market is still undergoing. What happens today is I saw an copied app “destruction”, appearing on android market. This app bears my new icon, which ONLY me and China mobile have a copy of it. So I am definitely sure this issue is related to somebody in China mobile.

  4. #4 by ElectricGoat on September 19, 2010 - 9:11 AM

    We’re european, so I don’t know if the DMCA applies to our case. I hoped that all could be solved simply by using the android market flagging system, but if Google doesn’t do anything, we’ll have to try something more formal.

    Warning AdMob would solve the problem temporarily, but I’d rather have Google do something about it, because obviously we’re not the only victim, and it would be easy for Adam Gates to create a new account or use a different advertisement network.

    Regarding AdMob, we have a strange discrepancy between the total amount of money gained and the detailed amount, application by application. I wonder if the difference isn’t what Adam Gates gained with his copies of our apps. I’ll have to contact them about that too.

  5. #5 by AndroidGold - Android Tablet PCs on September 23, 2010 - 7:23 PM

    That’s interesting and China will certainly be a bit of a wildcard in the development of the Android marketplace. Still, Google has kept the keys to the Android Marketplace app – which allows users to download apps from the market to their devices – to themselves so that only their manufacturing partners (Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and yes, China Mobile) will be able to access these apps.

    Though Google says the reason is to keep the standards of hardware up to par with a certain level of requirements (why can’t they just let the game providers list the requirements and the the public comment on the performance on various hardware?)

    Chinese won’t care too much about any licenses and will sell just about anything to anyone who will buy it.

    I expect language barriers will keep their websites someone separated from Western markets, and wireless carriers in America seem to be limiting the access their devices have to Google’s market exclusively, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting the infringing apps removed from Google’s Android app market.

    Getting it removed from other markets or free download sites, well, that could be another issue entirely.

  6. #6 by Brainico on September 27, 2010 - 12:27 PM

    I came upon this rogue. He stole my application BrainPoker and published it with his AdMob ID. I wrote to google, admod and some app distributors like AndroLib. No answers yet…

  7. #7 by Brainico on September 28, 2010 - 4:32 AM

    Good news! I have received answer on my fax to Google:
    “In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have completed
    processing your infringement complaint. The following application(s) in
    question have been removed from Android Market:

    Poker – Adam Gates

    But the application don’t deleted yet. waiting…

  8. #8 by Nate on October 9, 2010 - 9:31 AM

    My game “Pineapple Farm” (renamed “Farm”) has also fallen victim to this Adam Gates. It makes me wonder if this is a bigger problem than this one dev. I’ve contacted Google and will keep you updated on the response.

  9. #9 by Kirrrilka on October 12, 2010 - 10:46 AM

    I have the same situation with my “Little Python”
    Notified AdMob about this and they just sent me to Google. Looks like they doesn’t care how there ads appear to users.
    Today sent DMCA to google. Noticed in it that is not the only case…
    Will see…

  10. #10 by Kevin Dahlhausen on January 9, 2011 - 1:54 PM

    Wow, this really stinks. I’m getting ready to release app number one, and now this has me thinking about free ad supported vs. licensed. What about digitally signing the xml file and having the app do nothing, report back to you, etc if the xml file fails the signature check?

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