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Piracy Apple Games

Pirated App Sold On Mac App Store 334

iDuck writes "When Wolfire Games released their animal martial arts game, Lugaru HD, on the Mac App store, they could be forgiven for thinking they were seeing double. A counterfeit version of the software is currently available on the app store at a much lower price point under the name Lugaru. The best bit: as yet Apple have not responded to Wolfire's emails to rectify the situation. While the source to the game was GPLed, 'the license made it very clear that the authors retained all rights to the assets, characters, and everything else aside from the code itself.'"
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Pirated App Sold On Mac App Store

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  • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @10:28AM (#35089856) Homepage Journal

    the FBI has seized the domain name for facilitating piracy.

  • by MukiMuki ( 692124 ) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @10:51AM (#35090112)

    I've seen too many stupid comments about this today and yesterday, so I'm going to clarify a few points:

    1. The SOURCE CODE to the EXECUTABLE was released as GPL.
    2. GPL DOES, in fact, allow you to sell your build of that executable.
    3. While they did distribute the assets (textures, models, sound, etc.) with the source code, those assets WERE NOT distributed via GPL.
    4. GPL is for source code, not assets. For that, you're looking at a creative commons type license for something similar.
    5. The assets were distributed with a "you can do anything BUT SELL IT" license

    Meaning, as they charge $2.00 for it, Lugaru (non HD) is in blatant copyright violation. Never mind, using the name is probably a blatant trademark violation.

    I think a lot of games (especially indie type titles) could benefit from going open source, while keeping tight hold on their assets. Sell the textures, models, and sounds, and give the source away. If someone wants to "steal" your game, they're going to have to build the rest themselves from scratch. It would help both in keeping tiny titles like that away from falling into the abandonware pit (especially if it's incompatible with modern OS's), and helping aspiring game devs in understanding how game logic works.

    • Also note that the GPL isn't compatible with the iOS store due to restrictions placed on what the user can do with the software (can't copy the binaries and send to a friend). Additionally iCoder hasn't posted/distributed/responded to requests for the code.
      • When you sync your phone, iPod, iPad, etc. the binary is cached on your hard drive. In theory you can copy that binary and redistribute it. It just isn't readily apparent to people.

        And while Apple eventually kicked out VLC over the whole GPL debate, they have kept in apps like Wesnoth, which is also under a GPL license.

      • Please note that this is an app sold through the Mac App Store, not iOS App Store. Completely different beasts, so completely different rules apply.
      • You can fish out the binaries and send them to a friend. It's not a quick and obvious process, but it doesn't have to be to conform to the license. The binaries will be useless to the recipient, but that's OK under GPLv2. The FSF didn't approve of that dodge (known as Tivoization after the use of Linux on the Tivo), and created GPLv3. You can't have an iPhone app that's under GPLv3, or uses any GPLv3 components.

        In what way is this different from the Tivo, which uses third-party GPLv2 software (Linux)

    • by daid303 ( 843777 )

      The problem with this is, once people have the code, stealing the assets is easier. Sure without the source you can make 1:1 copies of the assets, but you cannot remove the 'origin' then. And you cannot steal single assets then.

      I'm currently in the process of building a freeware game with someone. The game will be free, but we'll also be selling a high quality soundtrack (with bonus tracks) from the game. If people could rip the music from the game the selling of the soundtrack will be a lot tougher. I'm po

    • Strictly speaking, the models and thing necessary to run an app are usually included with the license for the source. In this case though the developers opted not to do that, which is their right. And personally, I think that it's a reasonable compromise given that the main interest people had was in the ability to use the engine, patch bugs in the future and port the game to other platforms.

    • by Raenex ( 947668 )

      4. GPL is for source code, not assets. For that, you're looking at a creative commons type license for something similar.

      It's quite reasonable that assets are considered part of the source code for a program. If a program is completely unusable without the assets, then those assets are essential data, and can be considered part of the source that gets compiled into a whole program.

      To think otherwise would be deny the whole purpose of the GPL. There was no "creative commons" before the GPL, and it was expecting that the GPL covered everything needed to run the program. It is one work, a whole.

      If you were to take some GPL sourc

    • by JoelKatz ( 46478 )

      So they're selling the GPL'd code and including the assets for free. It sounds like they just failed to make this clear.

      In any event, a "you can do anything but sell it" license can't work, due to 17 USC 109:
      "[T]he owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord[.]" - 17 USC 109

      You can make 50,000 copies of the

  • Both games seem to have been taken down from the App Store.
  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @10:53AM (#35090136)

    They'll confiscate and put an end to this nonsense.

    • They'll confiscate and put an end to this nonsense.

      It's Immigration and Customs Enforcement that's been doing all the domain seizures for alleged copyright infringement, not the FBI. The only domains I've heard of the FBI seizing were ones involved in distributing child pornography.

    • And why would they do that when the infringing content isn't even on

  • If the license is the GPL; does the right to redistribute contain an implicit license to use any trademarked or copyrighted names and art, etc? It would seem that a blanket redistribution clause would imply you have the right to use such items but have no right to independently use them; such as in advertising or screen shoots on a web page. So simply recompiling and selling the game would be OK but creating a derivative work would not; except that allowing modifications to the code might open the door to
  • Now that I have your attention, let me explain that Apple (or any other retailer for that matter) can't be held responsible for unknowingly selling pirated software. With all the Apps that is in their inventory, you can't expect Apple to know intimate details for each and every one (eg. Didn't I see a similar game somewhere else?). Anyway now that the original authors have notified Apple, it's Apple responsibility to pull the questionable works off of their market until the matter is resolved.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      You're exactly right. This is why we have DMCA safe harbor protections. The game publisher in question should not have sent a simple "email" to Apple. File a proper DMCA complaint and the app comes down immediately, no questions asked. If it doesn't, then (and only then) you have a suit against Apple.

    • I agree. The issue is whether or not they're responding in a timely manner to the request.

    • by JoelKatz ( 46478 )

      Yes, they can be, unless the DMCA safe harbor applies. See, for example, Fonovisa v. Cherry Auction. Apple both enables, and benefits from, this infringement.

  • As much as everybody hates DMCA takedown notices around here, it seems like that would be the proper avenue for this sort of thing. It's certainly not an abuse of the DMCA in this case. Apple would likely respond relatively quickly so they don't lose their safe harbor.

  • Every story I see on Slashdot about copyright, so-called file sharing, the .*AA, etc. people complain that Intellectual Property (IP) is not real property and no one is losing anything when IP rights and copyrights are violated. But, the "assets" everyone is talking about are IP. If it is not wrong to redistribute the IP of others, why is this wrong?

    Really, this just highlights the hypocrisy of so many Slashdotters and FLOSS supporters of "file sharing".
    • by shish ( 588640 )
      Making copies of data for personal use is slightly different to claiming you created it and selling it on for profit
      • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @11:45AM (#35090734) Homepage Journal

        The issue is that people seem to think that stealing shit for personal use is different than stealing it and selling it for crack money.

        The large argument used against the RIAA here is a knee-jerk to their horrible inability to adapt to market and their abuse of the court systems. They are wrong in that. But people seem to want to argue that if someone (working under a marketing agent, etc, whatever the circumstance, indie or signed) puts in their time and effort to produce a work, record that work, refine that work, and publish that work, that then it should be okay for us to just take that work.

        The premise here is that by either not buying that work or taking a copy, I'm not depriving you of anything: both actions are equivalent to you. The fallacy is that by either taking a copy or buying a copy, I'm gaining a specific benefit: I get a copy of your music. The exchange of work for value here is that I pay you for a value we agree on for the work, and you give me a copy of the work. This is the same exchange as I pay you a value I see as worth losing in money in exchange for, say, a tea pot, and you give me a teapot worth $x in raw materials + $y value added for your time making it == $z that I'm willing to pay to acquire it.

        In either case, I might prefer the risk of not giving you any money for your work, but taking it anyway: I benefit, you don't. That's called stealing. Around here, people decide that if you lose some kind of asset, I've stolen from you; if you're no poorer than when you started, then apparently I've created wealth by making myself richer (I now have music I've stolen) without making someone else poorer (you haven't lost anything). This is a fallacy: the time investment hasn't paid off, and others who are actually purchasing are subsidizing the value I'm not (i.e. 300 people pay 33% more so that 100 people can steal it).

        The truth of the matter is if nobody ever stepped in, iTunes wouldn't have gained momentum. Napster was becoming widely popular, easy to use by everyone, kids and old people who barely knew how to use a computer. It only shipped MP3 files, not videos (porn) or programs (viruses). Music of today would largely be available for free online. A few early adopters would spend gazillions on CDs, rip them, share them. I know this is an "overblown doomsday scenario" but think about how popular iTunes is: Napster almost filled that gap, for FREE. Napster is why MP3 players became popular in the first place.

        There's stealing.

        The OP is complaining that people use these arguments that "copying data for personal use" is not stealing when the RIAA is involved, but want to act like they know what they're talking about here after making gratuitous use of phrases like "Imaginary Property."

    • Why is it not wrong to redistribute the copyrighted assets? Because the assets aren't protected by the holy word of RMS [blessed be his beard], the GPL. In /. land, GPL is the truth and the whole of the truth and RMS [bbhb] its prophet.

    • by amorsen ( 7485 )

      It is wrong to take something and pretend you made it, when you did not.

      Copyright in many parts of Europe has the concept of "moral rights" which are separate from the commercial rights, and often do not expire. The US copyright law concerns only commercial rights, so copyright debates in the US rarely discuss moral rights. Yet the moral rights seem rather more important than the commercial rights.

  • Unfortunately, GPL developers are about to discover the pain that traditional copyright holders have been going through for years. As more and more people decide to leap on the App bandwagon, those lacking a certain moral fibre will simply take to mining GPL'd games and selling them, regardless of how the assets and associated data might be licensed.

    I don't expect this will be the end of such stories, far from it.

    I've only just today seen that I, myself, have had to issue a DMCA take down notice to Apple, o

    • While that guy who uploaded it was a dick, I'd recommend at least trying to sell it on there, even if you only get pocket change... The other guy thought it might sell obviously.

  • So... Apple's been laying down the ban hammer on any app that had even a whiff of controversy or even a chance of violating their terms. Plenty of long developed apps were suddenly cut off and dropped at the last minute, with no comment from Apple. Developers had to go through hell to deal with Apple, find out why they didn't get approved, and then change whatever arbitrary thing that seemed to bother Apple that time.

    If there was ANY possible defense for this kind of extreme, totalitarian control and man
  • by gig ( 78408 )

    They GPL'd and got cloned, but the best bit is the poster thinking it is somehow Apple's responsibility to fix baby's diapers. Managing your intellectual property is up to you, crafty open source software developers.

  • Apple is now running a marketplace. It is exercising an enormous amount of control over what is sold in that marketplace. It has a financial interest in every item sold in that marketplace.

    It is a lot like a consignment store.

    If a consignment store sold stolen property, it would belegally responsible for its acts. I'm NOT saying they would be liable, but rather that they could be held liable and that the "I was only a consignment store" defense would fail.

    Apple's need to control is okay within its platfo

    • If a consignment store sold stolen property, it would belegally responsible for its acts. I'm NOT saying they would be liable, but rather that they could be held liable and that the "I was only a consignment store" defense would fail.

      Look up the terms: "innocent purchaser" and "bona fide purchaser". Sure such resellers have some responsibility for stolen goods, but not very much beyond returning the goods unless it can be demonstrated they knew the goods were stolen. Of course this is fairly irrelevant because we're not talking about theft, but copyright infringement. And that's a different set of laws entirely.

      So on to the copyright issue, Apple is redistributing copyrighted material they were misled into thinking was licensed to the

  • by xnpu ( 963139 ) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @01:29PM (#35092076)

    Why do we even want Apple to respond? Do we really want Apple to police this? Just send your lawyer after this other "author".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DMiax ( 915735 )
      Because they are distributing it? And getting money from it? To supreme irony (or bad taste, your choice) they could file a valid DMCA complaint to Apple. The fact that they did not yet means they are being very reasonable.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.