February 4, 2011

Mac App Store, A Pirate's Best Friend?

Wolfire Games recently announced that their game app, Lugaru HD, has been pirated and sold by another company on the Mac App Store. What changes did the company make that fooled Apple? Apparently they changed the name from "Lugaru HD" to "Lugaru."

While Wolfire does make the source-code to the game available, they also explicitly state that they retain full commercial rights to the game. Three days after the complaint was made Apple has yet to respond to Wolfire Games and the counterfeit game is still listed as Lugaru. Most frustrating of all for Wolfire, the pirated game is selling at a lower price and ranked more highly on the store.

The long delay in replying to the complaint, along with the fact that the app is still available does not speak well for Apple's commitment to fighting software piracy or protecting the intellectual property of software developers. You also have to wonder if the slow response would exist with a larger company, since Wolfire is relatively small and does not have the legal resources to fight the way a larger corporation would.

It's sad to see a move designed to make game add-ons easier exploited this way. Wolfire was apparently thinking of it's users and fellow developers when they made the source code to the game open, presumably this is something they may wish to re-think for future games.

For a company with a reputation of strict app rules, it's also sad to see Apple's slow response on this issue. Lest you think I'm an Apple basher I do in fact own quite a few Apple products, and am disappointed to see that Apple is acting like a software pirate's best friend and no friend of the underdog.

Counterfeit Lugaru on Apple's App Store
Game clone raises questions about Mac App Store policing

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