Apple removes blatant copycat apps from App Store

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014


Apple has removed from the App Store a number of copycat applications that closely mimicked the titles of successful games after they provoked a public outcry from developers over the issue.



Applications whose names and features piggybacked off of popular games such as Temple Run, Tiny Wings and Words with Friends were taken down on Friday, as noted by TechCrunch.



The fraudulent apps were largely the work of developer Anton Sinelnikov. As of early Saturday, Sinelnikov had nine applications available in the App Store, including some that still appeared to be ripoffs of other apps.



The Guardian brought the issue more into the public spotlight on Friday with a profile on the developer and his "misleading apps." Sinelnikov, however, is not alone in his efforts, as dozens of other applications from other developers have attempted to dishonestly capitalize on the successes of others.



Calls for Apple to take down the offending apps were made by numerous developers and users alike on Twitter earlier this week. Keith Shepherd, the creator of Temple Run, noted on his account that an app like Temple Jump "taints the integrity of the App Store." After Apple pulled the app, Shepherd posted that he was "thankful."











Apple has dealt with this issue before and has even faced criticism for being overly proactive in removing apps that are perceived as knock-offs. Last month, one developer accused game maker Atari of leveraging a "special relationship" with Apple to have as many as "hundreds" of applications resembling its own games taken down.



Google's Android platform also faces similar problems, especially given the lack of an official review process on the official Android Market. The open nature of Android has even led to criticism by some content owners, developers and security firms over potential copyright infringement and malware concerns. The Mountain View, Calif., company recently revealed that it has begun employing a malware detector, but some security researchers wanted to see more from the company and continued to call for increased supervision on the platform.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • t2000tjtt2000tjt Posts: 3member
    Words with Friends is essentially a direct copy of Scrabble... if I were EA or Hasbro, I would be pissed.



    I heard of a small developer developing a tower game, with "bitizens" as the people living there... then Zynga came out with "Tiny Tower" with "Zitizens".



    One of the worst offenders is one of the "big guys" with the most sales.
  • patranuspatranus Posts: 366member
    So Apple will remove all Apps published by Zynga then?
  • zozmanzozman Posts: 386member
    All i can say is, at least apple has quality control & does screen apps for the most part, the android market wouldn't make any effort close to this or remove anything... so developers shouldn't bitch :P

    this is a positive step tho
  • fuwafuwafuwafuwa Posts: 163member
    In Android Market this is easy. Download, disassemble, repackage, and submit.
  • moustachemoustache Posts: 94member
    Apple please defend Tiny Towers from copycat Zynga



    http://www.cultofmac.com/142552/zyng...e-of-the-year/
  • asciiascii Posts: 5,363member
    What about the Mac App Store, it is a lot smaller so should be easier to clean up. It has many apps that duplicate functionality already in the OS, and charge people for it! Some examples:



    - ISO-Burn Pro, isoBurn, ISO-Burn Disc, Make ISO, ISO Create - all these are existing features of Disk Utility. Someone has made a quick and dirty GUI in Interface builder and behind the scenes just farmed the work off to the Apple program.



    - unZip, unZipper - these programs have no GUI except a progress bar. They do nothing more than the OS already does when you double click on a zip file. They are depending on people not knowing that OS X can already unpack a zip file. Some utilities such as Entropy and BetterZip are a different story - they are far more fully featured than what the OS has, and are a good buy.



    - Screen Record Pro, Screen Recorder Std, iScreenRecorder, etc - Quicktime can do screen recording from the file menu.



    - Locker, Lock Screen, etc. - this feature is available in KeyChain Preferences.



    - Games: Are some of the big name games from Aspyr and Feral using activation systems? The App Store guidelines clearly state that app store copy protection is the only protection allowed, and that once purchased, apps are allowed to be installed on an unlimited number of Macs.
  • singapurasingapura Posts: 23member
    As usual Apple will only get the small and independent developers. Zynga and Gameloft will keep bringing out their clones because money talks and bovine excrement walks. I would be the first to agree that blatant copies shouldn't be allowed but the Apple police's heavy handed approach and obvious favouritism in the long term will hurt them. Many developers have started out by making clones of existing games after which they could fund better and more original projects. If apps with even a "passing resemblance" are booted of the app store without so much as a chance to defend themselves, starting developers will choose alternatives like Cydia or the Android platform. In the end it won't matter anyway because HTML5 will free developers from the iron grip of the Church of Apple.
  • 845032845032 Posts: 76member
    "blatant" "copycat"

    Apple really like this words for blame others.



    However, their hypocritical founder said,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CW0DUg63lqU
  • lukeskymaclukeskymac Posts: 506member
    Jesus fscking Christ, how many more clueless people will misunderstand what Steve said
  • cy_starkmancy_starkman Posts: 488member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    What about the Mac App Store, it is a lot smaller so should be easier to clean up. It has many apps that duplicate functionality already in the OS, and charge people for it! Some examples:.



    you sir have pondered this deeply, i am impressed
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,068member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple has dealt with this issue before and has even faced criticism for being overly proactive in removing apps that are perceived as knock-offs.]



    I think this is the reason why Apple has become a little slower to remove apps. They did it the moment someone screamed foul and they got slammed for it by folks saying no it wasn't a copy at all and expect a lawsuit. So now they are perhaps looking closer at the two items in question (the real and the alleged copy) before yanking.



    Plus given the amount of apps they are dealing with and the amount of emails etc they are likely getting it might be a couple of days before they get through the horde of messages to yours that you sent today about the app you say is a rip off just to know the situation.



    Major names like Atari probably do have a special relationship in that they are so major and so often copied that they could have a particular person and email they can send messages to that is separate from the horde and thus those copies are found out and yanked faster. As for that particular guy, he basically said that he tried to license the game from Atari and they wouldn't call him back so he did it anyway, so he knew he was 'stealing'. So yeah, its getting yanked.
  • charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,068member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Singapura View Post


    Zynga and Gameloft will keep bringing out their clones



    Are they really clones in the sense of 99% identical art, game play etc. Or just the same idea (match 3 gems, run a farm etc).



    The former is copyright violation, the latter is not. And many of the games pulled for the former were so identical that even huge chunks of the code were the same. I think you would agree that that is definitely bad
  • absolutedesignzabsolutedesignz Posts: 1,930member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post


    Are they really clones in the sense of 99% identical art, game play etc. Or just the same idea (match 3 gems, run a farm etc).



    The former is copyright violation, the latter is not. And many of the games pulled for the former were so identical that even huge chunks of the code were the same. I think you would agree that that is definitely bad



    If Android is a clone of iOS then yes they are clones.
  • roboduderobodude Posts: 273member
    Good to see.



    There's one called Mole Kart, shameless rip off.



    Some of Gameloft's titles, such as NOVA are treading a really thin line. Obviously 'inspired' by certain console games.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by t2000tjt View Post


    Words with Friends is essentially a direct copy of Scrabble... if I were EA or Hasbro, I would be pissed.



    I heard of a small developer developing a tower game, with "bitizens" as the people living there... then Zynga came out with "Tiny Tower" with "Zitizens".



    One of the worst offenders is one of the "big guys" with the most sales.



    You need to get your facts straight. Sure, Hasbro is probably pissed at Zynga but it's not because they are stealing anything, instead it would be because Zynga is more popular, but that would be petty.



    WwF is does not copy the board layout, does not copy the rules, does not copy the number of tiles, does not compare itself to Scrabble, and does not use their name. This is why they are in the the clear and why Srabbulous had to alter pretty much everything about itself before coming back as Lexulous.



    If you want to argue that the 15x15 grid with letter on them is theirs outright then you'll need to show that Hasbro still ha a valid patent on the base design from 60 years and that prior art doesn't affect it. I'm guessing that Hasbro has no case or they would have gone after Zynga the way they went after Scrabbulous.
  • alr26alr26 Posts: 29member
    Sometimes it is hard to find an original game in the sea of clones with page after page being crappier and crappier versions of the same game(s). Apple is happy to have clones as it clearly increases their total number of available apps as well as their bottom line.



    As much as I love playing games on my iOS devices, I have stopped surfing the sea of clutter and clones for some time now and play the ones I have over again.



    Is it really Apple's job to police game cloning, or is it up to the game developers to sue the copycats for infringing on their ideas? Someone needs to sue Apple for allowing their store to sell ripoffs of their games (and profit from it) forcing Apple and the developers to have proper TOS. This is no different from music in iTunes...you can't record a copy of a new Madonna song and release it on iTunes for sale, so why are gamers allowed to do it. Gamers need their own version of RIAA, maybe a GIAA?
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,052member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post


    Jesus fscking Christ, how many more clueless people will misunderstand what Steve said



    I wouldn't worry about educating some random clueless poster. It's the Internet. There's bound to be more of them. And if you add them all up, they'll collectively never measure up to one Steve Jobs.
  • rbelsrbels Posts: 29member
    I wish, it were a reality to have half a million 'unique' things than could be done on an i device! In the game of the numbers and power, it would always be a dilemma when having to chose between the developers to punish (like Zynga vs others) and boasting the numbers vs accepting how many redundant apps are present there that just are 'inspired' by other apps.

    point to note here, I'm no way comparing Andriod Marketplace, as the apps I found there are no where near professional level! I'm just trying to compare 'Apple' to 'Apple'
  • t2000tjtt2000tjt Posts: 3member
    The number of tiles is the same, the board layout differences are the colors and locations of the bonus squares (which offer the same bonuses as scrabble). The rules are exactly the same....



    The only thing I can say is, they don't call it "Scrabble"





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    You need to get your facts straight. Sure, Hasbro is probably pissed at Zynga but it's not because they are stealing anything, instead it would be because Zynga is more popular, but that would be petty.



    WwF is does not copy the board layout, does not copy the rules, does not copy the number of tiles, does not compare itself to Scrabble, and does not use their name. This is why they are in the the clear and why Srabbulous had to alter pretty much everything about itself before coming back as Lexulous.



    If you want to argue that the 15x15 grid with letter on them is theirs outright then you'll need to show that Hasbro still ha a valid patent on the base design from 60 years and that prior art doesn't affect it. I'm guessing that Hasbro has no case or they would have gone after Zynga the way they went after Scrabbulous.



  • asciiascii Posts: 5,363member
    Steve wasn't advocating copying in that clip, he was talking about the difference between copying and making something your own ("stealing").



    Note he says "Try to bring those things in to what *you're* doing." That presupposes you already have an idea you're working on.



    And he talks about art, music, history, zoology - so he's clearly talking about taking bits and pieces from all over the place and integrating them in to something new, not copying 1 entire existing product in it's entirety.



    It's actually a deep philosophical point that Picasso was making. Namely: there is no "nothing" in the universe, everything is something. There is no "void" from whence new things spring. Therefore creativity must logically be about taking things that are already there (whether that's objects on the macro level, atoms on the micro level, or ideas in your mind) and re-arranging them in to a new combination. Creativity is not some kind of ex-nihlio act, it is an act of inspired rearranging.
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