Music albums, movies and video games are highly counterfeited and are available to download online either from direct downloads or torrents. It was only a matter of time for smart phone applications to join that list.
While most people are willing to spend $500+ on a new phone that will depreciate very fast in terms of value, most are not willing to pay $1 for a app. This has fueled a huge boom in counterfeit apps that users can download as easy as music is to download now. Recently a group of people are accused of operating websites that hosted counterfeit apps resulting in 1 million downloads from 2010-2012.
This is also the first time the government has gone after counterfeiters of apps.
I can attest on how easy and how widespread counterfeit apps are. When the Shazam app first came out, it was free. After a while it turned to a free trial app. Most users who were used to the free version were mad. Instead of paying the $5 for the pro version, many found it easier to just download the pro version online for free. Many of my friends did this. As a matter of fact, it is very common to download pro apps for free. It is just like download music, very easy for the average person.
The final defendants in what the U.S. government called its first prosecution of a counterfeit apps case have pleaded guilty over their roles in alleged schemes to traffic in pirated Android mobile device applications.
Thomas Pace, 38, of Oregon City, Oregon, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of conspiring to commit criminal copyright infringement over his activity at Appbucket Group, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Meanwhile, Kody Peterson, 22, of Clermont, Florida, pleaded guilty on Monday to the same charge over his activity on behalf of SnappzMarket Group, the agency said.
These charges followed the Justice Department’s August 2012 seizure of the website domain names snappzmarket.com, appbucket.net and applanet.net.
Pace, Narbone and Dye were accused of conspiring on behalf of Appbucket from August 2010 to August 2012 to distribute more than 1 million pirated apps worth more than $700,000.
Peterson was accused of involvement in a similar conspiracy for SnappzMarket from May 2011 to August 2012, involving more than 1 million pirated apps worth in excess of $1.7 million.
This is only going to be more common, specially in developing economies.