Featured: Android and Its Huge Piracy Problem

August 23, 2012 - Written By Christina Gardner


As much as I hate to admit it, piracy among Android has become rampant. I often wonder if users of applications confuse “just taking applications” with the common phrase Android stands for, “Open Source.” Android is yes, open source, BUT have you ever often wondered why we can’t have better applications, or why certain applications can’t be better? Let me give you some insight to this piracy problem.

Piracy on Android is common, and I’ve seen it with my own very eyes, users that do not want to have to pay for an application, so what do they do? They find some way to achieve the application without having to pay for it. Kind of poor ethics on the users’ part. There is a reason those applications cost $.99. Another instance that seems too common is users’ ‘accidently’ downloading a pirated app. If anyone is not familiar with the term ‘pirated’ it means:

  1. Rob or plunder (a ship).
  2. Use or reproduce (another’s work) for profit without permission, usually in contravention of patent or copyright.

Now granted depending on the situation these apps aren’t pirated and then reproduced for money for someone else, although sometimes that can be the case. What is happening is people are pirating apps, and then making them available to the Android community through some other means other than the Google Play store, or official residence of the app and free nonetheless. Now tell me, do you find this fair? Unfortunately, most do not care.

I was at one time in the process of designing themes, but when I started school I didn’t have the time needed to continue, but I can say from experience when I was theming for ROMs on the theme engine, and putting onto the Google Play store for $1.99 somehow or another there were more “active” installs than purchases. Well how on earth can that be? Yeah exactly, the small amount of money is for time and dedication, because like anything things update and you have to go back in, take stuff out, re-theme certain parts, re-code certain parts, etc. If you appreciate someone’s work, what’s wrong with paying the $1.99 to have it? Seems like a legitimate choice to me.

The example I’m going to use is the MadFinger game, Dead Trigger, which has recently become free due to the high piracy rate. It’s such a shame sometimes, those developers work hard to give something enjoyable to you, the user, and that is how you show your support. How are developers supposed to make applications and games better for you, when they don’t have the money or resources to get it better? 9 times out of 10, developers are using the donations/money they receive to better their applications whether it be server uploading, site hosting, etc. It helps them make things better for the user, and we should show some appreciation for that work.

More and more applications, games mostly, are falling victim to piracy on Android, and it’s just downright rude! If you don’t want to buy it, or pay the small donation to the developer who works hours and hours to build and design, you don’t deserve to have it, plain and simple. Unfortunately, it is not so easy. The marketing boss of Madfinger games, Ann Porizkova spoke about piracy pertaining to their game Shadowgun. She said this:

“The piracy rate for Shadowgun was actually higher” (in comparison to Dead Trigger). “It reached 90 percent, then after a few months decreased to 80 percent, and now it is falling a bit and averaging 78 percent. Being sold for $8 and $5 later, there was no effective way of defending against piracy.”

Unfortunately, this is still the case today. That is why the government has started to intervene and several sites, 3 to be precise, ┬áhosted ‘pirated’ applications were shut down today. I’m usually not one for government or politics, but I have to say good, bravo! If we want a better experience with Android then we need better applications, and without support and paying that small $2 purchasing fee the developers can’t make better apps for us to enjoy. I however, can see the position from both sides of this soon to be heated debate. I do agree 100% that no one should be pirating apps or games on Android. It’s stealing, and no one has the right to host someone else’s app without their permission especially when they are turning around and doing it for free. That isn’t your choice, and it isn’t your right to decide if something should be free or not. I know many developers and themers and a lot times they will do both types, a free version and a paid version. Of course, the free version may not always have the “better” goodies as the paid version, but that paid version took more time and effort to create, so if you want it? Support the cause my friend.

As I did my research on this, I was astonished to find many users’ speaking out and saying that piracy is the “cost of doing business.” Where on earth were you brought up? I mean really, that kind of logic is absolutely wrong and appalling. These developers are doing what they love, and they are mainly doing it on a volunteer basis, or as a hobby, show a little gratitude and respect for that. They are working to please you, and if you can’t see that, I’m not sure you should have a such a device.

The assistant general for DoJ’s Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer said:

“The criminal division is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the creators of these apps and other forms of intellectual property from those who seek to steal it.”

Good for you! I wish more were on this page as well. If we don’t start standing up about this matter and helping stop this kind of piracy, developers aren’t going to start posting their apps for free, they are just going to quit putting out their apps, at least for Android anyways. Which would you rather have? Our brilliant developers staying with us and giving us the best experience possible, or letting them go and develop apps for iOS? You decide, but like it or not, it’s a huge problem and we need to support our developers, not hurt them.


Sources: Android Police / Gamasutra