So, someone’s ripped off your iOS app. The icon you spent one too many hours working on is showing up on someone else’s app, and maybe even some of your code is popping up in their app, too. Apple introduced a new tool that puts you in direct contact with those miscreants.
The new tool was first spotted by developer Brad Larson on Twitter. The feature, which can be found under “iTunes Content Dispute” is separate from all other iTunes content, which includes music and video. Offended developers can submit their contact information and an electronic complaint that goes directly to Apple’s legal team. From there, Apple says it will connect you with the “provider of the disputed app,” in the hopes that the two of you can hash it out on your own time.
It will also provide a reference number in the case you need to re-contact Apple’s legal team. That way you can also follow any communication you have with Apple’s legal team, which will be helpful should you need to go to court over the infringement.
Of course, Android is far from impervious to app-stealing. You could argue that this is because users can download apps to an Android device separate from the official Android store. Third-party markets are not as regulated and may even contribute to Android’s reputation as having more malicious apps available for download as well.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations recently took down three websites for hosting ripped-off apps. It was a noteworthy moment as this was the first time the FBI took action against mobile app copyright infringers, showing this content is actually intellectual property that must be protected.