It was a bad move to shame legitimate users if they weren't using versions from installous but the developers were seeing a 75% piracy rate of their app. It also says in the article, access to Twitter had to be confirmed by the user. If you weren't happy about that, I'm sure you could get a refund. It's not up to Apple to judge if a dictionary app should be allowed to send tweets, someone might want to tweet a reference.
One person there claimed he had installous on his jailbroken device to get older versions of apps. While that practise seems ethical, how representative is that person of the 75%? The alternative is that the developer does nothing and just allows the piracy to take place. When you are the one taking a copy of software you wouldn't have paid for anyway, it seems harmless. When you are the one paying staff to build an app, it isn't.
One commenter wrote:
"The funny thing is that I, who paid 29$ for it and got in a perfectly legitimate way, get the notification "I am a software thief" every time I try to use it!!!"
The wording used by the people complaining just looks suspicious. Why not say, 'I bought it from the App Store' rather than 'perfectly legitimate way'?
I can imagine a few people have had the message, immediately bought the app and then compained that false Tweets are being sent. The developer confirmed that some messages were being sent out when they shouldn't have been but I think they are right to try and protect their software.
A lot of publishers do this sort of thing. You can get banned from XBox Live for having a pirated game and some video game developers put bugs in pirated games so that when they contact support, they get found out:
The alternative people come up with is always along the lines of 'let's just stop the DRM tactics and assume most people are honest'. While I would generally agree, having a casual approach to piracy can have a snowball effect. In some cases pirates deride other users for being stupid enough to pay $50 for an app they downloaded for nothing. With no disincentive, you can understand why they'd do that.
I'd actually like to see more developers doing this. I don't think it should have legal consequences but if it works properly, naming and shaming people to their friends is a good tactic to dissuade theft.
I also wonder if developers do things like this on purpose so they get massive amounts of publicity.