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Piracy

Russian EBookseller LitRes Gets Competing EBook Apps Booted From Google Play 145

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the google-hates-sharing dept.
Nate the greatest writes "The developer of the popular Android app Moon+ Reader was surprised to discover this weekend that he is a filthy stinking pirate. Google informed him via an automated email that Moon+ Reader had been removed from Google Play because the app had switched to using pirate sites as the main sources of ebooks. Or at least, that's what LitRes claims, but when they complained to Google LitRes didn't tell the whole truth. What was really happening is that users of the app are enabling piracy, not the app itself. Thanks to the way Moon+ Reader is designed to let users share links to ebook sources some of the sources are indeed pirate sites (less than your average Google Search). In reality the app was no more a source of pirated content than your average web browser. What do you say when an ebook distributor's anti-piracy plan involves going after app developers rather than pirate sites? Something printable, IMO."
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Russian EBookseller LitRes Gets Competing EBook Apps Booted From Google Play

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  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Monday February 04, 2013 @09:21PM (#42792395) Journal

    First of all, not everybody on earth can legally buy every book that he or she wants.

    Depending on which country that you live in, there are restrictions imposed, prohibiting people from buying the "banned" books.

    And in some countries, the "banning" has reached the cyberspace ... that is, not only you can't buy the dead-tree version of the book, you can't legally buy the ebook version, either.

    Some of the government even installed bots watching over people who are on the Net.

    For example, there are some books - if I want them - I can't get, from the place that I am staying right now.

    They are not on display in brick and mortar bookstores. I can't place an order for them either.

    And if I go online and try to pay and buy an ebook version (using my credit card) the bot may spot what I do and I may be invited for a cup of tea with some religious / political officials.

    People in such position have two options:

    1. Move out from that goddamn country

    2. Download the pirated version

    Option #1 seems obvious, but in some instances, not very practical. For family, business, or for whatever reason, people may not be so easily move from one country to the other.

    Option #2, it's illegal, it's immoral, but then, government bots do not often watching over connections to the pirated sites.

    • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Monday February 04, 2013 @09:26PM (#42792445) Homepage

      I wouldn't call Option #2 immoral. Any law banning a book is immoral in itself and should not be followed if you can help it.

      As for the piracy aspect, if you CAN'T buy it legally, the writer/publisher isn't losing any income when you pirate it. So morally you are in the clear; if the book is later legalized, though, you should definitely pay for it to show your support.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      I would include abusive DRM in this, and for all media. For example, if the DRM breaks the ability for me to read the book, play the music, view the movie, or run the software, on MY computer, but a pirated version exists, then I have no other choice. And I think this is justified because whoever intentionally added that DRM that blocks me out is already NOT expecting any revenue from ME. That may not justify the pirate making it available to everyone, but it does justify me downloading the pirated versi

    • by Kirth (183)

      Option 2 is NOT illegal, you victim of propaganda!

      It's illegal to _publish_ books (upload) whose copyright (or license to publish) you don't have, but it's NOT illegal to download books, movies or music.

      • by Taco Cowboy (5327)

        Option 2 is NOT illegal, you victim of propaganda!

        It's illegal to _publish_ books (upload) whose copyright (or license to publish) you don't have, but it's NOT illegal to download books, movies or music.

        I wish I can agree with you...

        ... but, please tell that to the folks who have been charged with "illegally downloading pirated copies of music / software / ebook / movies / whatever"

      • It's illegal to _publish_ books (upload) whose copyright (or license to publish) you don't have, but it's NOT illegal to download books, movies or music.

        It is illegal in many countries. It is criminal in many countries depending on the degree to which you are doing it and on the exact circumstances. In the USA, there seems to be no law that gives the copyright holder statutory damages when you _download_.

        By the way, there are cases where a copyright holder doesn't bother taking copyright infringers to court, but will react very forcefully if you make claims that your infringement is legal.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I encountered this problem when I started reading the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Books one & two were out in the US, but the third wasn't coming out here for another 9 months. I tried to buy the UK edition (which had been out for a while, so the holdup here wasn't the translation) but Amazon.co.uk couldn't ship it to me or sell me the e-book due to restrictions. I ended up torrenting the audiobook; I don't usually do audiobooks but I really wanted to get through the series. There's going to com

  • As an author... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 04, 2013 @09:28PM (#42792461)

    I've published two books in both print and eBook versions. Not surprisingly, the eBook versions have better sales. My digital editions are DRM-free, and I never thought twice about resisting the pirates. Most of these are likely to be in countries for which it would be a hardship to pay the book price. People in developed countries would rather have the convenience of a quick download from their usual, trusted site (Amazon, B&N), rather than what amounts to a fraction of a Starbucks coffee. Unlike someone stealing a print edition, I'm not losing anything, and that includes any thoughts about a potential lost sale.

    • by compro01 (777531)

      And there's also Eric Flint's thoughts on the matter

      The second category are young people. Teenagers, basically, whose income is so low than even $4 or $5 is an obstacle for them. My attitude here is that giving such kids free copies will only benefit me in the long run, in the same way that libraries have traditionally been the way that authors develop a following among young readers. (That's how I became a fan of such writers as Heinlein, for instance.) And, again, they wouldn't have bought a copy ANYWAY – so where's the harm?

    • by Obfuscant (592200)
      As an author, you don't see what you are losing, so you write it off as nonexistent. You talk about people in "developed countries" like they're always going to pay full price instead of taking what they can get for free when they can, and that's rather naive, I think. I, for one, don't always "would rather have the quick download from Amazon" (Kindle DRM/format is more limiting than I will accept for something I've paid for, so by asking me to pay for such limits Amazon is actually costing you -- and other
      • by seebs (15766)

        You're forgetting that the thing the author cares about is something that can be easily measured: Sales they actually do get.

        If one course of action results in 100 sales and 100 downloads which aren't sales, and one results in 1,000 sales and 10,000 downloads which aren't sales, the effect on the author is that the second course of action resulted in 10 times as many sales. The alleged "losses" don't matter; all that matters is whether total sales are higher or lower. Sales up? Author has won.

        And what autho

      • by gutnor (872759)

        You are looking at book writing as a business. For a lot of book writer, being read is what matters. Making a living out of it, while very important is balanced by their desire of recognition. I know quite a few artists, the balance is generally once they have broken even on the costs and get a bit of money in advance for their next work.

        Telling stories is not the same business as selling words. Starbuck is a prime example, while they have maximized coffee selling rentability, they have only averaged cof

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It is proprietary software for the simplest of operations on a computer. Who really cares. Let the business people have their pissing match.

    http://fbreader.org/FBReaderJ free and on github.

    • by eagee (1308589)
      Umm, I care. I'm happy to pay the dev the price because it's a nice product and it reads my e-books to me, and I haven't found an ereader that isn't too chicken to do this.
  • Competing with what/which/who?
  • Response (Score:4, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday February 04, 2013 @09:54PM (#42792671)

    What do you say when an ebook distributor's anti-piracy plan involves going after app developers rather than pirate sites?

    "If I were human, I believe my response would be, 'go to hell'. If I were human." -- Spock

    • What do you say when an ebook distributor's anti-piracy plan involves going after app developers rather than pirate sites?

      "If I were human, I believe my response would be, 'go to hell'. If I were human." -- Spock

      I think in a case like this, the Spockism would be even more strongly worded, such as...

      "If I were Human, I believe my response would be, 'Eat a box of dicks'... If, I were Human..."

  • Unjust enrichment? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Okian Warrior (537106) on Monday February 04, 2013 @10:12PM (#42792765) Homepage Journal

    Sounds to me like the Moon+ Reader author should sue LitRes for Unjust Enrichment [wikipedia.org].

    Also, seriously: Google taking action on an illegal app without judicial oversight?

    This should be handled in exactly the same way as law enforcement requests: show the warrant first. (Or in this case, the judgement against.)

    Society is quickly descending into a feudal corporate arms race. These sorts of shenanigans should be stomped on with both feet. If you can't compete fairly, then you shouldn't be in business.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Why does Google needs to see a warrant to remove an app from their shop?

      It's their shop, what they want to sell in their shop is their free choice. No-one has the right to be listed in that shop, being listed is a privilege. Google decides they don't like the app, so they remove it. That's all there is to it.

      Applying your ideas to the physical world: it is just as much a privilege to have your products on sale in a supermarket. The supermarket decides what they accept in their store, and if they don't like

      • Just out of curiosity, how do you feel about Mastercard and Visa refusing to process donations to Wikileaks?

        Cutting Wikileaks off from public support is effectively punishing them, but they have not been even accused [officially] of a crime.

        Applying your ideas to the physical world: it is just as much a privilege to have your products on sale in a supermarket. The supermarket decides what they accept in their store, and if they don't like your product - or want to remove your product - they don't need anything like a warrant, or do they?

        It's not that companies shouldn't be allowed to choose their vendors, it's that companies shouldn't be allowed to impose arbitrary rules, shouldn't be able to impose unjust prejudice, and shouldn't be able to engage in cronyism.

        If I were a produce vendor, and if I could

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          Just out of curiosity, how do you feel about Mastercard and Visa refusing to process donations to Wikileaks?

          Cutting Wikileaks off from public support is effectively punishing them, but they have not been even accused [officially] of a crime.

          I really don't like them for doing it, on the other hand it is of course their business. The trouble is that Visa and Master have a de-facto monopoly on credit card processing, and there is no reasonable alternative for such services.

          As it stands, they simply have the right do refuse to do business with people they think are involved in criminal activity. They may even have a legal obligation there, considering how some non-US banks got punished in the US for suspected money laundering recently. It makes bu

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Society is quickly descending into a feudal corporate arms race.

      Where have you been the past 100 years? It's been this way since the industrial revolution. It's just worse now because the resources needed to make progress are greater than even, yet at the same time, the rate of (expected) progress is more rapid than ever.

      Fair has no meaning in business. All's fair in love and war. Business is war. People study war texts like the Art of War to gain an edge while doing business. There's even a book or two on the very matter. Problems arise when a business wages war agains

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      if they needed a warrant they'd never be removing anything..

      basically these things work like this: you're outside of usa you're guilty of infringing if someone complains.

    • Sounds to me like the Moon+ Reader author should sue LitRes for Unjust Enrichment [wikipedia.org].

      Surely if illegal downloads are not stealing because the author doesn't actually lose anything, then stopping someone from selling their stuff isn't stealing either. because the Moon+ Reader author would still have all the copies he or she created?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 04, 2013 @11:51PM (#42793363)

    I paid good money for what I consider one of the best ereaders on the google store. Now i have no access to it through Play if I ever need to reinstall it on any of my devices. I couldn't give a rip if some people were using it to pirate cause i wasn't. My license for the app is through Play so I have to pay again to get if from another source. So everybody that used the reader is now screwed. I most certainly won't be using Google's reader cause it sucks.... way behind moon reader in features and customization. But I guess that's okay since it supports DRM. Crap move Google... go after the sharers and not the users.

  • by rafial (4671) on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @12:34AM (#42793557) Homepage

    Well, I'd been meaning to check out Moon Reader, ever since Aldiko blocked the third party plugin that was providing Dropbox sync. This will likely push me over the edge.

    Do I think it's bogus that Google pulled the app with seemingly no warning or no review? Yes. But, thanks to the fact that Android allows users to sideload (unless further blocked by horrible carriers like AT&T) this developer at least has recourse to continue providing his app by direct channels, and users can continue using it. Had this happened to a developer on the iOS app store (as it does all the time) that developer would have no recourse at all.

    I hope that this gets resolved quickly, and I hope that this developer winds up getting more attention from this publicity in the end.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      And this is why to use Android instead iPhone or others. Apps just wanna be free (as in speech).

  • Whatever the facts are,and I am sure the Russian software provider is using dirty business tactics to suppress competition, Comrade,the reality is you can't permit a gateway to turn into a gatekeeper who keeps you out of your market place. We should have learned that from the Apple store fiascoes . We give them the power to be arbitrary dictators by building business model which rely for their success of failure on them taking a shine to us or not. That's crazy. Don't let Google in that position or Apple or
  • As the developer of an open-source e-reader app, I have to say this scares the crap out of me... our current dev version has the same type of functionality, though I've always made sure to not include any site in the settings that is not 100% legit.

    I hope Moon+ will be back in ther Market soon and that Google thinks twice before removing another app based on complaints from LitRes.

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