For the first time in US history, the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center have taken down three sites involving cell phone app marketplaces. Appbucket, Snappzmarket, and Applanet are all displaying seizure notices, following in the footsteps of more notorious take downs such as MegaUpload.
This move on the part of the US government is sure to please app developers – especially ones like Madfinger games, who has complained very loudly about Android piracy – but this might have unintended consequences, as well. For example, one of my most useful apps – Photo Unlocker – is not distributed in traditional app marketplaces like the Play Store or Amazon Appstore. However, it’s definitely not pirated; it’s distributed completely free of charge, but through alternate channels. And while this specific app wasn’t affected by these seizures, it could be in the future.
On the other hand, there’s always collateral damage. I cannot in good conscience condone Android piracy, especially when many of these developers are individuals who are trying to make a living through the sale of their apps. A lot of pirated apps also come with malware, and given Android’s lackluster anti-virus solutions, it’s never a good idea to take that risk.
What do you think about these seizures?