PocketGamer Criticises The App Store Approval Process For Approving Blatant Cases Of Copyright Infringement

22 November 2012

PocketGamer:

Well, in reality there have been several high-profile cases of apps that shouldn’t have got through getting through – and not just the periodical tethering app that sneaks through, but actual blatant copyright violations that feel like they should have been shot down on sight.

Copyright infringement is one of the “ban” rules of the App Store approval guidelines, but Apple doesn’t actually check for these infringements (with the exception being proper use of Apple’s own intellectual property and trademarks) when reviewing submitted apps. The owners of the copyright are expected to tell Apple about the violation, who then pull the app from the store. This is the reason they aren’t “shot down on sight”; the reviewers just aren’t told to check for this stuff1. In the areas where Apple does pursue active enforcement, they are largely infallible; you can’t trick App Store Review anymore2.

Whether the passive approach to copyright protection is bad policy or not is another issue altogether.

1 Alerting Apple of cases of infringement is relatively easy, with the iTunes content dispute form.

2 Tethering apps are the rare exception, because they can be created using public APIs … making them very hard to detect.