Well, well. After being pulled from the Google Play Store over an Apple complaint about the icons in one of Themer’s hundreds of available themes, the custom launcher replacement is back. Themer was pulled from the Play Store on February 2nd.
Apple filed a copyright complaint over the ‘Seven’ theme, pictured above. The theme is clearly based on iOS7 and we all know that Apple comes down hard on anything that it considers to be copyright or patent infringement. Google pulled the app and the news got a ton of press over the past week. The company behind Themer, MyColorScreen, has removed the offending theme and now the app is available in the Play Store again. Why didn’t Apple just reach out to MyColorScreen directly and ask them to remove the Seven theme? That’s a great question. Either way, the problem has been taken care of and you can get Themer again.
It’s also interesting to me that the company behind Themer didn’t receive much communication throughout this whole process. That seems to be Google’s modus operandi when it comes to removing apps from the Play Store, whether it’s over a copyright claim or any other reason. MyColorScreen CEO Ashvin Dhingra had this to say a few days ago:
“So when will Themer be back on the Play store? It’s frustratingly impossible to predict. Someone at Google must first confirm that the content in question has been removed and follow their own internal procedures before they flip the ‘on’ switch. It’s likely that we are in a queue, waiting with other apps that require evaluation.”
Obviously, the app has been reinstated, but there’s a bigger issue here for developers. Google has well over a million apps in the Play Store and deals with a ton of takedown requests every day. Keeping up with all of them can be a daunting task, I’m sure. However, there should be a better system in place for devs to counter these copyright claims, or get more information about what needs to be changed to get an app reinstated, or just get more information in general. Google is notoriously vague with its takedown letters. Developers are often left to comb over the Play Store terms and conditions to find exactly why their app was removed. I’m glad Themer is back, it’s a great app. This whole situation just shines the light on Google’s broken app removal process.