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Piracy Bad

So the other day I ran into a MobileCrunch article on Google rolling out an anti-piracy system for Android, offering a set of code libraries to enable developers to program their apps, should they elect to, to phone home to Google periodically to make sure the purchase of the given app was and still is legit. First off, in all my years on computers and phones I’ve never encountered any software of some consumer demand whose anti-piracy methods hadn’t quickly been cracked, but Google’s method sounds like a good candidate to win the bulletproof prize. We’ll see.

Anyway this struck me as quite a relief given the rampant piracy of Android apps. I’m not going to claim to be without sin when it comes to what goes on with my PC’s bittorrent client, though there’s something about the phone piracy free-for-all, particularly with Android as I love Android and those who develop for it, that pisses me off. I suppose it’s because with phone software, the developers are especially the little guys of the programming world, and it’s hard enough for them to make money given how saturated the various app markets are with alternative applications that are free, the pervasive sense of entitlement to free intellectual property which is present in the app market comments of developers whose free software’s last update brought advertisements along with it, prompting people to swiftly change their five star rating to one star rather than springing for the $2 paid version.

You really have to first come up with a brilliant idea no one else has gone with and then code your ass off to win here, let alone to recover the money you spent on that Java for Dummies book, and it must really be a blow to their pride to realize that there are a lot of people out there installing your software, grabbing the APK, uninstalling it, getting a refund, then reinstalling the app from the file they stored (don’t try it please) rather than either paying for the paid version with no ads, using the free ad-supported one or not using it at all. And for the developers who fall into that category, I root for them in the form of paying, if the software is payware, for their software or donating if it’s donationware. But what dumbfounds me is why in the comments of the articles on this news of various blogs people were sounding off on how this is yet another instance of Google crossing the privacy line and screw Google etc just because an application is pinging, once in a while, Google to make sure the purchase was kosher. What the hell is wrong with that? What, afraid it’s going to drain your battery?

Particularly as this is old news I’ve got really nothing to offer you in this article other than rant material, hence the Rants category, but I’m just curious about what our readers think of phone software piracy. Please chime in in the comments or if that’s too much work just vote below. Thanks. Update: In the remote chance you’re a developer, here’s how you do it.

Doug Simmons

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