21:14 Mon, 05 Jan 2009 PST -0800

iPhone: Application Piracy

Within a few hours of its 1.0 release, our iPhone application was stripped of its DRM by a customer, and made available via http://appulo.us for use on jailbroken iPhones. Appulo.us serves as a comprehensive repository of pirated iPhone applications, with screen shots, application descriptions, and, of course, links to pirated copies.

The process of stripping DRM from iPhone applications has even been automated.

According to the Appulo.us FAQ, this software piracy serves as a solution to a "flawed app store". In providing pirated copies of our applications, Appulo.us claims that they are providing a justifiable service to our customers -- providing unlimited demos of our applications.

This justification is remarkably prevalent in the community of users that pirate software, as noted in James Bossert's recent blog post of his conversation with an iPhone software pirate:

When i crack an app, any app, i do not do it to hurt developers.
Without you we wouldn’t even have our community =) I do this so people
would know is an app worth their money.

I agree that Apple should allow demo applications -- users would be better served by the opportunity to test the application. However, this attempted justification does not hold water for one simple reason: as the copyright holder, I am perfectly capable of releasing a demo version of our application for jailbroken phones.

So I will. If you'd like to give Peeps a try on your jailbroken phone, you can download a demo .ipa or app. This version is identical to the latest release, but will display a "Please Purchase Peeps" dialog for 10 seconds when the application launches. (Note! You must have a jailbroken phone to run this Peeps Demo. Sorry!).

This is an experiment. If you like the application, please consider purchasing it. If you don't, let us know what you'd like to see improved. However, please don't distribute pirated versions of our software.

[/code/iphone] permanent link