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Website owner claims copyrighted material is being repackaged into paid apps

Website owner claims copyrighted material is being repackaged into paid apps

Apple Water Cooler
December 2, 2015

Virginia website owner Brian Raub is suffering from an interesting problem. According to a new piece from The Roanoke Times (via 9to5Mac), a developer in India is copying information verbatim off his travel-related site and packaging it into paid apps on the App Store.

Raub pays freelancers to write about and review lake vacation destinations across the United States. His site currently has information about more than 2,100 different spots.

The entire piece is definitely worth reading, but the brunt of the issue is that an developer is simply repackaging information from his site and placing it into a number of $0.99 apps. In April, Raub came across 11 different apps that copied his information without any attribution:

“They duplicated all of it,” Raub told me last week. “They duplicated it exactly. … It’s as clear-cut a copyright violation as could be.”

After a three-month back and forth session through email with Apple and the developer, the apps were finally removed. But in a case of whack-a-mole, now more than 20 new apps have popped up with the same issue, Raul decided to take the issue public.

For its part, Apple told the publication that it was looking into the issue with the apps. Raub could attempt to bring some type of lawsuit against the developer, but that would be costly and probably not worth the time and effort.

Should Apple have some type of clear-cut avenue for content owners to complain about certain apps? I’d love to see Apple be able to better communicate about offending apps, but I don’t know what it would take for that to actually happen. And why didn’t Apple simply ban the developer’s account after the first problem earlier this year?

What’s your take on the situation? Let us know in the comments.

For other news today, see: Twitter is simplifying the tvOS sign-in process, Apple’s free ‘Hour of Code’ kids workshops are coming to stores on Dec. 10, and Millennial parents look to Instagram for baby name inspiration.

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