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Piracy Google Software

Android Software Piracy Rampant 510

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the run-for-your-lives dept.
bednarz writes "Pirating Android apps is a longstanding problem. But it seems to be getting worse, even as Google begins to respond much more aggressively. The dilemma: protecting developers' investments, and revenue stream, while keeping an open platform. Some have argued that piracy is rampant in those countries where the online Android Market is not yet available. But a recent KeyesLabs research project suggests that may not be true: 'Over the course of 90 days, the [KeyesLabs] app was installed a total of 8,659 times. Of those installations only 2,831 were legitimate purchases, representing an overall piracy rate of over 67%.... The largest contributor to piracy, by far, is the United States providing 4,054 or about 70% of all pirated installations...'"
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Android Software Piracy Rampant

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  • by mapkinase (958129) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:13AM (#33735566) Homepage Journal

    "Of those installations only 2,831 were legitimate purchases, representing an overall piracy rate of over 67%...."

    What's the piracy rate on popular desktop , laptop (conventional PC) applications?

    (In Russia, almost all of the software sold is unlicensed (it has been like that at least several years ago). Given that Russia is a populous country, floods US and other developed countries w/ programmers and generally is a flourishing business, one can only assume that Russian software market cannot be dismissed during this assessment.)

    • by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:22AM (#33735714)
      I read the article and still have no idea how piracy rate is determined. Over at Keyslabs there is a writeup which covers licensing, but nothing showing how pirates are detected. Maybe it's to prevent the pirates from getting smart, but being closed about your statistics is worse than having no statistics at all. We have no way of validating the numbers against false positives so to counter I have embedded a script in this post which detects theft and have found that 95% of the people who read this are plagiarizing it for their own posts. There now we can all have statistics.
      • by varmittang (849469) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:50AM (#33736114)
        They probably have some part of their game that connects to a server to post scores, or some code that phones home. But most likely its a score posting and during that connection they get a unique ID for that phone so you can over write your best score. But if 8,659 people send in scores, but only 2,831 purchases were made, they can determine that most likely there is a 67% piracy rate for their application. So, its a guess, but a very educated guess, and could actually be said to be the lowest their app is being pirated, in that it could be higher amount of people having it installed but are not phoning home.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by linhares (1241614)

      (In Russia, almost all of the software sold is unlicensed (it has been like that at least several years ago). Given that Russia is a populous country, floods US and other developed countries w/ programmers and generally is a flourishing business, one can only assume that Russian software market cannot be dismissed during this assessment.)

      You made an informative comment about Russia? That's not the way we do things around here [google.com.br], son. Watch it.

    • by tomhudson (43916)
      More important, what was the legitimate rate for the US. If 99% of the legitimate installs are from the US, then the US has a piracy rate under 62%.

      However, this also ignores the simple fact that most of the people who pirated an app wouldn't have shelled out money for it. Are you going to buy something if you can't at least kick the tires first?

      And let's be honest - a lot of these utilities should eventually make their way into the OS anyway.

      • by TheKidWho (705796)

        The Android market place let's you refund any application within 24 hours of purchase. I wonder if they took that into account when they came up with their piracy statistics, although I'd have to assume they aren't that stupid.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        "Apps" quite often are things that either should be part of the core OS or things that should be Free Software.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by KingFrog (1888802)
          Oh yes, because the core OS of a tiny device should be at least as bloated as Windows. Oh, and everything should be free because magic pixies come along in the night and write the code for the developers, thus costing them nothing!
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by jedidiah (1196)

            ...and another thing.

            These are not "tiny" devices. These things have multi-gigabyte main storage.

            I remember when you were lucky to have as much space for "bloated Windows".

            Anymore, it's media that takes up all of the space. That's true even for something like Windows 7 Ultimate.

      • by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:59AM (#33736258)

        However, this also ignores the simple fact that most of the people who pirated an app wouldn't have shelled out money for it.

        If they weren't willing to pay for it, why should they get to enjoy/use it?

        • by tomhudson (43916) < ... <nosduh.arabrab>> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:23PM (#33736596) Journal
          I'm not saying they should. What I *am* saying is that the "pirated app" numbers don't translate directly to anything else - not lost revenue, not even potential lost customers - some people pirate stuff just because they can, without even bothering to check first to see if it's something they might want.

          Case in point - way back in the DOS days, a friend insisted I try simcity. I though the game concept was silly, but gave it a whirl. I went on to buy Simcity 2000, Simcity 3000 Deluxe, Simcity 4 + Rush hour, and Simcity for the Wii. I also bought a few other maxis games, all stemming from that one floppy.

          However, if I had had to buy the original game first, none of those sales would have happened. Not one.

          Some of us *do* want to reward publishers who produce good stuff - we just don't want to get sucked in by nice artwork and a bogus description that turns into an almost-immediate lunchbag letdown.

      • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:44PM (#33738958) Homepage

        However, this also ignores the simple fact that most of the people who pirated an app wouldn't have shelled out money for it.

        I'm actually not convinced of that when you start taking micropayments into account.

        Sure, for a game that costs $15, a user who pirates it might be doing it to save some money, and with the pirated copy unavailable, would simply have not bought it. But when you're talking a couple bucks, I find it *far* less credible that users are turning to piracy because they can't afford the purchase, or don't see the product as having sufficient value to justify the price.

        Are you going to buy something if you can't at least kick the tires first?

        Eh, as has been pointed out many times, the android marketplace has a 24-hour refund period. Combine that with user reviews, and I'm sorry, the try-before-you-buy justification for piracy just doesn't hold water.

        And let's be honest - a lot of these utilities should eventually make their way into the OS anyway.

        Oh, well, then that totally justifies piracy... ::rollseyes::

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:32AM (#33735870) Homepage
      I remember reading a blog post [2dboy.com] by 2D Boy, makers of World of Goo, that stated that they calculated a piracy rate of 90%. That's on an independent game, that only cost $15. It's a great game, and well worth the money. There's also absolutely no DRM on the game so there's no reason to assume that people are "pirating" because they need to get around copy protection for a game they already bought. They added corrections to the blog post, later, correcting the number to around 82%. So 67% doesn't seem all that bad in comparison.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hedwards (940851)
        90% is fairly typical as far as I can tell. That's what it was for Machinarium as well. From what I can tell a piracy rate of only 80% is quite good.
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:13AM (#33735568) Journal

    The dilemma: protecting developers' investments, and revenue stream, while keeping an open platform.

    From (note: there's no reason to read the article I'm about to link, it's badly laid out with terrible ads and I'll quote the title) another article [dailytech.com]:

    Android Skins, "Crapware" Protected by Open Source Principles, Says Schmidt

    Please note, I could not find where Schmidt said these exact words but there was some sentiment of this in his interview. And there's some truth to it.

    Truth be told, I'm a little wary of applications on my Android based Motorola DROID. I have seen the skins apps and am curious how one maker gets licenses for Zelda, Minnesota Vikings, Justin Beiber and all other kinds of imagery when they sell these skins. This sort of questionable content makes me wonder what other questionable things are being engaged. Likewise, I'm also a little wary of a lot of the free games I play. One in particular is the Solitaire Free Pack [androlib.com] which, as it so turns out, I am a big fan of the ~40 variants of solitaire they offer. I also would like to use the Kindle application on my phone. There's just one problem: it wants my Amazon account login and password.

    You know, it's not that I don't trust Android, Google or Amazon ... it's the other apps I've unwittingly installed willy nilly on my phone while bored or drunk on the metro. You'll probably be able to assure me that there's no way another app could access the disk or memory space of the Kindle app but it just seems unsafe. I would not find iOS all that much more reassuring but I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in the paranoia of storing account information inside my phone -- or even repeatedly typing it in.

    I don't have any proof that it's a real security issue and I hope apps somehow get very restricted memory and disk spaces but I think Google has a little further to go on security as well as offering developers a way to recoup losses. Since it'll undoubtedly be DRM like their early attempts [slashdot.org], I hope it's stressed to be opt-in and not advised.

    • by bemymonkey (1244086) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:40AM (#33736002)

      One word: Permissions. There's a reason they're displayed every time you install an app...

      • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:09PM (#33736412)

        Right.

        The permissions listings are about as opaque as they come. I've some experience with the soft white underbelly of technology, so I can make a good guess about what a particular permission entails and why it might be necessary, but I still can't quite figure whether an app is actually secure or not. And for many apps the list is quite long - not exactly user friendly or convenient. If I (after 20+ years of experience with computer technology) can barely make heads nor tails of the permissions, heaven help the butcher/backer/candlestickmaker who just wants to feels safe when installing an app on their phone. And I have the SDK installed and can actually read the details.

        In a word, the permissions listings tell a person fuck-all about whether an app is actually safe or not. With a few exceptions. Apps that require no special permissions or just a very few, rare though they are, give one some sense of confidence. Internet connection required for a stock ticker app? Ok, can't be much harm in that. I'll install. Beyond that, as the list of required permissions grow, the difficulty in evaluating the safety of an app grows exponentially. Access to SD storage, personal contacts list, state of phone, location, yada yada. Most apps seem to require most of these. Access to SD storage is needed for reading/writing personal settings, caching data and the like. Fine. But is access to other data on the SD card limited? I have no clue. As far as I can tell, once an app has access the SD card, a full wipe is possible. There is little information to suggest otherwise.

        So basically, for apps that require a non-trivial list of permissions to function, one is left with trust in the developer as the only security. The rest is a roll of the dice.

        To be honest, I think most people treat the list of permissions much as they treat an EULA: a list of incomprehensible gibberish that one must ignore to get to the actual goal (an installed app, in this case). It's in the Google market, so it must be safe, right? Click, click, install.

        Android app permissions as a way to assess the safety of an app? You've got to be kidding. Epic fail.

  • If you release a binary, it will be copied. The very act of releasing it is tacit acknowledgement that you have given up absolute control over it. Companies that develop software should accept this and consider alternative income methods like support contracts and priority upgrade access.

    As long as software companies think that their software has any monetary worth, they will continue to fight a losing battle to technology itself.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:20AM (#33735680)

      If you own a jewelry store, it will be robbed. the very act of owning a jewelry store is tacit acknowledgment that you accept being robbed. companies that sell jewelry should accept this and consider alternative income methods like polishing jewelry or beet farming.

      as long as jewelry stores think that their jewelry has monetary worth, they will continue to fight a losing battle to gun technology itself.

      / in other words, you are an idiot.

      • If someone steals a jewel from a jewelry store, the physical item is no longer in the store's hands. Likewise, if someone buys a jewel from a jewelry store, the property transfers to the customer.

        But software is infinitely reproducible for next to no cost. A copy "stolen" has no value, and a copy sold does not reduce the ability of the software producer to continue making copies.

        Your analogy isn't bad. It's completely incorrect.

        • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:34AM (#33735914) Journal

          But software is infinitely reproducible for next to no cost

          Too bad it's not "infinitely developable" for next to no cost.

        • by Paralizer (792155)
          Maybe you can understand it better if it were you selling something.

          Suppose you made something intangible and "infinitely reproducible", like an ebook or an android app. You sell it for $20.

          Scenario 1:
          I give you $20
          I get a copy of the product

          Scenario 2:
          I get a copy of the product

          The net difference between these two is that you don't get the $20 yet I still get the product. If I were not a potential customer to begin with (this has been discussed on /. before and I agree with it), then you reall
    • Exactly. There are a -lot- of ways to fund development, making an application, overpricing it, failing to maintain it, etc. will end in failure. If your software fills a needed niche, people will pay for it if you aren't a dick about it, but most software doesn't fill a needed niche. For example, I have no problems downloading the full versions of things like an NES emulator because the free version A) Wasn't very crippled (no save state support, I can live with that) B) Didn't have obnoxious ads that block
    • by mjbkinx (800231) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:33AM (#33735884)
      Thank you for your advice. Since I don't believe I can interest you in a support contract for my jump and run game, I'm going to plaster it with ads as an alternative source of income.
      • by Kijori (897770) <ward.jakeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @01:24PM (#33737658)

        Thank you for your advice. Since I don't believe I can interest you in a support contract for my jump and run game, I'm going to plaster it with ads as an alternative source of income.

        And many of the same people that claim that the reason for piracy is that the prices are too high will then download the hacked, ad-free version. Because the problem isn't anything to do with the software - the software is both desirable and desired. The problem is that once people have grown accustomed to the idea that they can get an unlimited amount of digital content for free, without the inconvenience of advertisements and without any real probability of legal consequences, it is almost impossible to get them to start paying again.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Of course it has monetary worth. I think MS has made a lot of money from selling a binary.

      There is nothing wrong with making money from selling software.

  • I'm sure something like a KeyesLab app is representative of most other apps, right?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by v1 (525388)

      That's something I was contemplating... the app itself and the price its set at (as well as other factors) could dramatically affect these numbers.

      For example, if adobe were to loosen their DRM system on say, elements, a very useful and respected app, and price it at $500 a license, the pirated vs legit licenses would be somewhere around 95%. OTOH if the app was priced at $10/license and kept its DRM, the rate would probably be somewhere around 5%. The piracy rate is a function of the DRM and and of the

  • Do they? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KillaGouge (973562) <gougec17.msn@com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:16AM (#33735616)
    Do they mention the price of the app, what the app did, where they phones in the US with US numbers, where they foreign phones in the US, did they see how long the users leaved the app installed after they pirated, did any of the pirates later purchase the app, how long they did the study, or anything else that might actually be useful information?
    • Of course not. Why would they actually report useful information instead of some kind of unsubstantiated half-truth?
    • Re:Do they? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:32AM (#33735880) Homepage

      Translation: Did they give us any information that will give us any excuse to excuse the pirates?

      • actually. Translation: did they give any useful information to determine what makes up that 70% of American pirates and if they ever do buy.
      • Re:Do they? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by GiveBenADollar (1722738) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:54AM (#33736152)

        Translation: Did they give us any information that will give us any excuse to excuse the pirates?

        This is not a fair statement. If the article had any facts to back up it's numbers then it would be a lot more believable. Just defending the article without questioning it is as bad as defending the pirates without looking at the cost to the developer. Lets agree to this: It's a bad article and proves nothing on it's own.

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Well, pirating if you could pay is one thing, but the only method of paying for apps is Google Checkout which isn't available everywhere that Android phones are available. So, there's clearly something that I'm missing. A lot of people live in areas which don't allow you to pay for the apps even if you want to and have the money to do so.

        App developers in other parts of the world, which Google doesn't allow to sell apps, have had to go to lengths to get around that by doing things like selling registrati
      • Translation: Did they give us any information that will give us any excuse to excuse the pirates?

        Translation: Everybody must be a thief even though there's no proof anything is missing.

      • If you can't assess the if the conclusions of a study are valid, it's just FUD, regardless of it being pro or anti-piracy.

        Your prejudice is showing.

  • I bought games (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I bought a few android apps and every now and then one fails claims to be unlicensed to I have to install it again.

    If I had a pirated apps they wouldn't do that.

    Having to be online to use what I paid for when I could use for FREE and while offline what someone else stole annoys me. It makes me feel I'm getting poor value for money.

    • by samjam (256347)

      In fact, I'm willing to pay the pirates to remove the DRM from the apps I already paid for.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      It's linked to your Google Checkout so you shouldn't be having that trouble. If you are, I'd suggest you contact Google. Personally, I have yet to have that problem with any of my Apps. Well, apart from the one which I purchased directly from the developer and had to manually input my registration info.
  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:17AM (#33735630)
    Google along with the developers need to make incentives for purchasing "legitimate" copies of Android software. For one, it doesn't have a great "gift card" mechanism, yes, you can register a gift card as a Google Checkout card and it does work, but it isn't as seamless as buying an iTunes giftcard, typing in the number and seeing your balance at all times. Secondly, there are a crapload of Android apps that are overpriced, you can't expect someone to pay for essentially a tech demo or utility. Markets like the Android market give people a large ego into thinking that people -should- pay $.99 for a few images and sounds it took you a few hours to find on Google then make a quick program to organize them. And number three, a lot of apps simply don't work. Unless there is a free version equivalent to all the features of the paid version, no one wants to spend even $.99 on something that doesn't work then deal with the hassle of returning the application.
    • by f0dder (570496) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:20AM (#33735674)
      Obligatory when talking about app prices: http://theoatmeal.com/blog/apps [theoatmeal.com]
      • The thing is though, hardware is certain (well, unless you have a PS3, then Sony disables half the features), I know what my phone can do when I buy it and its been reviewed thoroughly. On the other hand, I have no guarantee that that app will even run decently. And 24 hours isn't really enough to fully review most applications, what happens if an update breaks it? What happens if the game is only like 10 levels? Etc. all those things leave you a feeling of being ripped off, even if it was just for a small
        • by Abcd1234 (188840)

          It's *99 cents*, ffs. Read the user reviews, and if no one is complaining about anything relevant, buy the fuckin' thing. Honestly, people are willing to drop 5 bucks on a cup of coffee that a) is entirely transient, and b) could very well completely fucking suck, but apparently paying 99 cents for an app is just too darn risky...

    • You can return Apps for a refund (within 24 hours) which is quite a good idea.

      http://market.android.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=134336 [android.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ADRA (37398)

      wow, its .99. Your lunch probably costs 5x as much. The return policy gives you the ability to return apps that are really bad. If YOU don't think an app isn't worth the money then by all means don't buy them. I always find the opposite; good apps get released for free with no way besides annoying ads to monetize the developers for their work.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Funny, it always seemed to me that the "incentive" for buying a product was being able to use the product.

      Secondly, there are a crapload of Android apps that are overpriced, you can't expect someone to pay for essentially a tech demo or utility

      True. I expect people to not use those apps if there is no way to get a free trial. Why is this so difficult to do? If the developer isn't cooperating in making his app available, why not move on to another product? And if there is no other product, why not do without?

      And number three, a lot of apps simply don't work. Unless there is a free version equivalent to all the features of the paid version, no one wants to spend even $.99 on something that doesn't work then deal with the hassle of returning the application.

      This is subjective. I've received emails from people for my app on BB saying "it doesn't work". And that's true - it doesn't work for

  • Kids these days? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by courtarro (786894) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:22AM (#33735708) Homepage

    Android Market apps are mostly super cheap. Who can't afford $1 on a game they'll play for a few days non-stop? Or a few bucks on a ROM management app? Prices for most paid apps are so low that I imagine that the largest barrier to entry is not price, but the effort required to set up one or more credit cards. My hypothesis, for that reason, is that a large portion of the piracy comes from the age 15-20 crowd who have fancy phones and lots of free time to figure out piracy options, but no credit card(s).

    Google can greatly reduce this kind of piracy by working out pricing deals with the carriers to allow charges to appear on phone bills. How else would the ringtone industry thrive as it has? Verizon certainly doesn't offer a direct-bill Android Market option. Maybe this is already the case on other carriers? How does piracy compare in those cases?

    Another annoyance of the Market is currency conversion. I've bought apps for sale in both Yen and Euros, and for those purchases I had to set up a Visa card since my AMEX didn't support foreign purchases (on the Market, at least). Most users don't want to deal with that kind of crap ... again, piracy is easier. Can't Google Checkout handle currency conversion on the developer's end without hassling end-users?

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      Let's also not forget that there's no way to "return" an app or even to politely ask for your money back. If the app doesn't work, you're screwed.

      I can see why piracy is an attractive option.

    • Thank you for the information on the Verizon Android Market. I was thinking of getting an Android phone from them, thinking it would be like the store they have now. You buy the app, get charged on your bill.

      If more carriers moved to that, I think the piracy numbers might go down.

      all things equal, ease of use wins.
    • by couchslug (175151)

      "Google can greatly reduce this kind of piracy by working out pricing deals with the carriers to allow charges to appear on phone bills. How else would the ringtone industry thrive as it has? Verizon certainly doesn't offer a direct-bill Android Market option. Maybe this is already the case on other carriers? How does piracy compare in those cases?"

      Mod Up "Insightful as Fuck!" Easy money.

  • by dave562 (969951) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:25AM (#33735744) Journal

    It seems to come down to the inescapable fact that if you sell your code, it will be stolen and/or passed along to others. On the other hand, if you simpy put a paywall in front of your code and charge people for a subscription, you can avoid getting financially ass-raped by all of the cheap bastards out there.

    When I was a kid heavily involved in the warez scene, I didn't really understand what the big deal was when people complained about piracy. Now that I work for a living and earn money using computers, I get it. Life is too short to go to work every day and crank out code, only to have it ripped off by some cheap bastard.

    People seem to miss the fact that it takes time and effort to write code. If a person feels it isn't that difficult, they should do it themselves rather than steal from someone else. All of the defenses along the lines of, "It doesn't cost anything to reproduce, therefore it should be free for me." are a big fat load of crap. It amazes me how morally corrupt a good sized segment of our society is.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Ahhh, no.

      People know it takes effort.

      Don't presume the idiots you hung around with represent a 'good sized' segment. they don't. If they did, iTunes wouldn't have sold billions of songs.

    • by bieber (998013) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:43AM (#33736030)
      I find it difficult to believe that anyone has even stolen code from you...perhaps you mean copied? Lets be perfectly clear, so-called "piracy" is not stealing anything, it's violating a (theoretically) temporary monopoly that you've been granted by the government. Aside from that monopoly, you have absolutely nothing to do with two people copying data between their computers. You can argue that copyright protection is a necessary incentive to produce creative works in our society, but I don't believe---and a great many others agree with me---that those protections should extend to private copying in the digital era, and that stance does not make us "morally corrupt."

      Consider this. I don't use proprietary software. I'll gladly pay for software, but not so long as the author is going to restrict what I'm allowed to do with it. So whatever software you may produce, am I not "stealing" just as much money from you by not using it as those who share it amongst themselves are by not paying you for it? Or are only some of the people who choose not to pay for your software "thieves," despite the fact that we all have exactly the same net effect on your pocketbook?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Andorin (1624303)

      Your mentality is a good example of what's wrong with copyright today. You appear to believe that because "it takes time and effort to write code," it follows that a developer should be paid for every single copy of his code that is produced by others, completely regardless of the fact that in the digital environment, copies are non-scarce, effectively making them worthless. There is nothing, except for tradition (which has been totally invalidated by modern technology), to connect the ideas that "software

  • Like I was in the 80s/90s. Best time of my life. Met lots of cool people.
    But instead I became a legitimate hardware engineer.
    Now I'm a megacorp serf. :-|

  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:31AM (#33735844) Homepage

    I know I've seen blurbs indicating that software piracy on the iPhone/iPod (due to jailbreaks) is huge. Does anyone know if the problem is better or worse on one side of the fence?

    Just reading the summary it comes across as something like "Android pirate's heaven (thus iPhone good for developers)", when I suspect the real case is "Android pirate's heaven (just like PC/Mac/iPhone)".

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:20PM (#33736550) Journal

      Thing is, you already mentioned why it's not as big of a deal on the iPhone... jailbreaking isn't something you see a whole lot of (tech media notwithstanding).

      Most folks either don't know how to jailbreak an iPhone, or don't want to risk bricking the thing (and therefore blowing the $$$ they have tied up in phone and contract). Sure - you and I know it's fairly easy and safe to do, but Joe PhoneUser doesn't know that, and they have actual money tied up in the beastie before they even get it out of the box it came in.

      Given this, the majority will buy the apps from the store. Now if jailbreaking were uber-common, then yeah - pirating apps would be just as common. Otherwise, overall? It's pretty self-evident that piracy is going to be an Android (and WinMo, and Symbian) thing.

      From a developer's POV, yeah - the piracy rate w/ iPhones is going to be a lot lower, and therefore more lucrative for the dev. OTOH, the dev will miss out on folks trying the product out, and on any of the marketing bennies that piracy can give his products.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @11:33AM (#33735886) Journal

    Piracy rate is meaningless. You can have a 0% piracy rate easily, just don't release your app. The only thing that matters is revenue. You're better off having 1000 paying customers and 1,000,000,000 pirates than you are having 100 customers and no pirates at all.

  • Instead of looking at how many pirated copies there are, how about looking at how many non-pirated copies there are? Is your product making a profit, in spite of these figures?

    Not every pirated copy is a lost sale. I can't stress that enough. Make the most of what you have instead of making mountains out of molehills.

  • This being /., I'm surprised the blurb doesn't rail against the developers' propriertary code and "closed" distribution scheme, and encourage them to make back their investment through "alternative revenue models", such as giving away the app for free and then selling t-shirts with its icon.

    It's not piracy, it's an appallling refusal to give away one's work for free.

  • Revenue Stream (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Omniscientist (806841) <matt@badEULERecho.com minus math_god> on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:10PM (#33736426) Homepage

    If pirating software is anything but an impossible endeavor for users, then it is going to happen.

    If a solid revenue stream is your primary concern as a developer, and piracy is something that is keeping you up at night, then you should be making apps that cater to businesses instead of individual users.

    If the platform is such that targeting anything but individual users is not feasible, then unless your app is extremely popular, it is a poor platform to use for generating revenue.

  • supply and demand (Score:3, Insightful)

    by leehwtsohg (618675) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @12:27PM (#33736636)

    When will developers/artists/journalists/courts learn about supply and demand curves?

    Number of pirated copies tells you about how many copies of your art/software you would sell (to people who pirate) if the price was $0 per copy.
    Number of sold items tells you how many you would sell at $x, the price that you actually sell your art/program for (to people who don't pirate).

    At a price of $0 per copy, indeed thousands or millions of copies of software would be downloaded. But that says nothing about how many would be sold without piracy, when the price is greater than 0.

    If I could have cars for $0, I'd have 50 cars in my driveway, one for every occasion. But that says nothing about how many cars I'd be willing to buy for $10000.
    Even without piracy you can see the same phenomenon:
    I have probably around 50 free apps installed on my android, but only 2 or 3 paid apps. You think that if developers stopped giving away apps for free I'd have 53 paid apps on my phone? No way! I'd probably have even less. All my paid apps are ones that I could testdrive and really liked. There are many paid apps that have no free version, and I never touched them.

  • by devent (1627873) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @03:35PM (#33739652) Homepage
    Face it, piracy exists and will exist on every device no matter how much DRM you throw in it. Fact is, not every pirate is a customer. Even if your device is 100% piracy prove, you just won't magically see an explosion of customers. If they can't pirate, they don't use your app. Your customers will buy, but the 67% of the pirates will not. The 67% will just never use your app.

    But if you block out the pirates you are going to block out any potential customer as well. Think of the pirated app as a free demo version. It will promote you, make your app more visible and people that have the money and want to buy stuff for their phone will buy your app.

    Ask you one question, where would Microsoft be, if you absolutely cannot copy Windows or MS Office for free? What would be Russia, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, India, the students in Europe and USA and small office businesses using? Linux or OO.org? Now ask you, is a waterproof DRM scheme really in the interests of Microsoft? If you answer is No, why should be DRM in your interests?

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