iPhone App Piracy as Serious as Music, Film Industry

When RIAA stood against Tanenbaum, we knew how unfair and serious Music industry is while dealing with Piracy. Every year, music and movies industry lose billions due to piracy.

But on the software side, it’s a different story. Few who envy Open source believe information is free and must be redistributed at no cost. But software giants have a different approach to it.

Most iPhone users would know that the pirated market for iPhone apps is a big business, but now we’re starting to get a better understanding of the numbers associated with content piracy in the app world. Incredibly, the “business of pirated apps” is starting to compete with numbers set with piracy of  films and music.

Record labels and movie studios have complained about and tried to battle content piracy. Now it’s the app developers’ turn.

Apple is aware of all these facts but they have showed zero resistance to this. They are still earning in millions without waving a hand, but what about developers?

The 24×7 Wall Street had a detailed post calculating the amount that Apple and developers of paid apps are losing when copies of their wares are downloaded to jailbroken, or unlocked, iPhones.

Their Conclusion: For every paid app downloaded in the App Store, three are distributed for free [pirated]. That’s a loss of $140 million for Apple to date, almost 1/3 to 1/4th of the revenue of the total  $500 million to $700 million from App Store. For developers, the loss is even higher: $310 million. So overall $450Million ~ $0.5 Billion

These numbers are averaged. But few of the developers have reported very high losses. Here are companies that affected the most:

Neptune Interactive Inc and Smells Like Donkey Inc have reported piracy rates has high as 90% for their game $1.99 Tap-Fu and claim that it was available in a pirated version within 40 minutes of its release on the App Store. Another company,  Web Scout Inc. reports a 75% piracy rate for its $0.99 iCombat game. The developer of the $4.99 art program, Layers, reports a piracy rate of 75%, and Fish Labs reports 95% for its $7 Rally Master Pro 3D. Piracy rates almost certainly increase with the cost of an application. TomTom’s US & Canada GPS product for the iPhone, which retails for $79.99, ranks second in handheld application downloads on piratebay.com, a file-sharing torrent. The top 100 downloads listed at piratebay.com is littered with expensive TomTom and Garmin GPS products. A conservative estimate of the average piracy rate is that for every paid application developed and sold at the App Store 3 more are pirated.

Why is Apple Silent over this ?

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  • iphoneapplicationsdevelopment

    Piracy is so easy, with the widest resources in the internet, a simple Google search with a common word such as “rapidshare,” “megaupload,” or “torrent” puts you in touch with a lot of sites and forums you don't even need to register to see. It's so rampant and obvious that the only recourse is to use anti-piracy methods such as AntiCrack or use In-App Purchases.

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    • Matt

      So true and all efforts of removing my apps from those websites went in vain. Recently protected my apps with mtiks

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