Taking it to the pirates | webOS Nation
 
 

Taking it to the pirates 332

by DanPLC Sat, 04 Feb 2012 12:49 pm EST

As a webOS developer, Dan Perlberger has been responsible for the creation of popular apps like Music Player (Remix), Quick Post, and GeoStrings. He's also leading a crusade against webOS app pirates, and he's not taking any prisoners.

Most of you reading this are good honest people who understand that you need to pay for goods whether they're digital (apps, music, etc.) or physical items you find in a store. However there are some folks out there that think it's ok to steal digital content even though they would never steal items off a shelf in a store. Pirates don't realize, or maybe don't care, that they're hurting developers by freely re-distributing their apps. Most webOS developers, in fact most app developers, are not large corporations. They're individual developers or small teams trying to build a business. Some are even students trying to earn money for their education.

I knew getting into app development would inevitably lead to my apps being pirated. Up until recently I held the belief that there really wasn't anything I could do to stop it. But recently I decided to take a stand and see what I could do to fight the pirates.

When webOS 3.0.5 was released I rushed to update my app Music Player (Remix) - the update to webOS had essentially broken my app. I was able to submit the fix to the App Catalog that night and it was approved and available for download to my customers within a few days. Those that had pirated the app, however, were stuck with the older version that didn't work with webOS 3.0.5, since the App Catalog has security features in place to prevent those with paid versions of an app but no record of that payment from getting updates or being able to redownload the app from the Catalog.

(editors note: We at webOS Nation are not going to discuss the specifics of how webOS app piracy works, nor are we going to mention or link to the specific sites involved in app piracy. It's wrong, it hurts developers, and thus users. We do not and will not stand for or tolerate piracy.)

So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to run a little experiment - and maybe have a little fun in the process. I went to one of the sites that was sharing a link to a pirated copy of my app being hosted on a file sharing site. I went to the file sharing site and looked for a way to report a copyright infringement. Turns out it was a simple matter of writing an email with some information regarding the copyrighted content. About an hour after submitting the email, the file was deleted.

I watched as they started flipping out: "Please someone re-upload Music Player (Remix)!". I felt bad about the inconvenience the webOS 3.0.5 bug caused my paying customers - that's why I pushed out the update as quickly as I did, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't find some satisfaction in knowing these pirates were not able to use my app. But of course, it didn't take long for someone else to upload my app to a different file sharing site. And again I had it deleted. Again the pirate leeches cried out in despair.

This was repeated several more times before the pirates got crafty. They are pirates after all - you don't have to be smart to start pirating, but you do have to know what you're doing to survive when somebody decides to put their foot down. So somebody used some type of auto-upload tool to upload my app to more than a hundred different file sharing sites. And to make it more difficult for me, instead of just putting up a link to the files, they were distributed in an encrypted list. Oh my, how crafty they were indeed.

I was not about to try and track down my app on one hundred different sites, all with different means of getting infringing content pulled from their listings. It was time for a different approach - instead of precision strikes, it was time for a scorched earth battle plan.

That's right, instead of getting my app removed from the file sharing servers, I decided to try and take down the pirate site itself.

The beauty of the internet is that very few sites are actually hosted on their own servers - it's usually a third party that keeps the site online, and there's always a DNS provider to translate their IP address to a site domain name (that's why you can type www.webosnation.com into your browser instead of the easily-remembered 166.70.42.10). Finding out who hosts the site and who provides DNS service is actually relatively easy - most of this information is publicly available via "whois" services. All you have to do is give them a domain name and they'll return the relevant information like the domain name registrar, creation date, and even contact information for the website administration.

So I plugged the pirate site into a whois search, found out who their DNS provider was, and went to their site. On that site I found both their terms of service, in which they expected all sites to adhere to "general Internet etiquette" and that anyone found in violation of the TOS would have their account suspended. Also on the site: a "report abuse" email link.

Needless to say, I clicked that link and sent the DNS provider links to the pirate site's pages that linked to my apps, pointing out that pirating software is not considered "general Internet etiquette". The DNS admin wrote back a mere thirty minutes later and asked me to contact the site's admin (again, available via that whois search) and request my copyrighted material be removed, cc'ing the DNS provider in the email. If the site didn't respond back in 24 hours, the DNS site would try to contact the site. If they didn't take action in another 24 hours, their DNS privileges would be revoked and the site would essentially be shut down (technically if you know the IP address you can still get to a site without DNS service, but not having a functioning domain makes website life rather difficult).

So 24 hours came and went and I didn't hear back from the pirate site admin. Shocking, I know. The DNS admin is now in the process of contacting the site admin, but it may not be too much longer before either the site takes down the pages linking to pirated apps or the site itself is wiped from DNS land. Either way I'll be happy, although between you and me I kinda hope they choose to ignore the DNS provider.

That's just how things have gone with one site. I decided to test out this "contact the DNS provider" process with another large pirating site as well, and it seems that things may be rolling rather quickly on that front. I filled out the "abuse contact form" for the DNS provider of this other site, including detailed evidence of this site's pirating ways. Now, less than 24 hours after clicking that link, the site's domain name is inaccessible. Is this my fault? Did my report result in their DNS issues? I can't say with 100% certainty that it did, but it seems like an awfully big coincidence, wouldn't you say?

This won't be permanent. There are plenty of DNS providers in the sea, and plenty of other tricks of the sleeves of these pirates. They'll be back. But I'll continue to do what I can to make it an enormous hassle to engage in piracy of my apps. Maybe it'll make the site admins think twice about ignoring emails from developers asking them to take down infringing content. Certainly they wouldn't want to go through the hassle of getting a new DNS provider or host again.

There's only so much that can be done to prevent piracy before it gets in the way of the paying customer's use of the app. But as a developer, I can fight back.

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332 Comments

Just use FOSS.
Proprietary software vendors are all greedy aholes.

Really? That's your response?

Can this jerk kragil be removed from this site? This person got it wrong who the **** is.

Said the greedy free-rider who wants to profit from other peoples work.

I'm a big fan of FOSS. Most of the programs I use are FOSS. But that's the choice of the dev doing the work.
Perhaps it was a hobby. Perhaps he's subsidized by a company or by being a student.

But if it is his job and he publishes it for a price - that is fine too. Your choice is to buy it or not.

MS abusing virtually monopoly positions by bribing and blackmailing vendors - that makes them greedy aholes.

Regular people producing software that you want to use and asking money for their work - that is not greedy.

I bet you expect to get paid for the job you do. How would you like it when your clients or employer expect you to work - but then call you a greedy **** when you ask to get paid for it?

Wow this is heated! I wonder how many of the posters here that are against pirating are using free tether?

For the record, yes, both are wrong. I'm just curious because while I've seen a condemning of pirating apps here, I've also seen support (or at least a lack of the same level of condemning) with regards to tethering.

By the way, I find the editor's note a bit hypocritical considering there are full articles on this very site celebrating the free tethering apps. Where does one draw the line?

Personally, I pay the extra fee to AT&T every month so that I can tether my device, but for reasons only known to AT&T, their tethering application on the Veer is terrible and works rarely if at all for me. So, I use FreeTether. (which is not at all terrible, and still only works if i pay that extra fee to AT&T)

If there were other tethering applications on the regular app catalogue, I might use them, but there are none.

It's an interesting point about freeTether, but it's off base. Some carriers allow the use of tethering via the Mobile Hotspot app--it's built into what Verizon charges me. I choose to use freeTether because it just works better, but I can't see any interpretation that says I'm violating my contract with my carrier by doing so.

So the questions are, am I right in thinking that my use of that software is not unethical? And if so, do you still believe WebOS Nation should stop publishing articles about tethering?

My post was not about those that pay for the ability to tether. It is about those that use tethering apps in order to tether without paying for the service.

You won't see much comment from them. It's ok to steal from large corps. Just not those mom and pop devs.

Cool -- as long as we're agreed that your post was off base in pointing the finger at WebOS Nation for publishing articles about technologies that are not, in themselves, unethical.

Funny. The argument by some here is that piracy websites (in themselves) are not unethical because many use them to try out an app before buying. After all, they are just websites and they really have no control over how visitors decide to use the information provided, right? Similar to arguing that the tethering apps are ethical because some use them with paid services.

The other side of the coin is that many use piracy sites to steal apps...just like many use tethering apps to steal bandwidth.

Fact is, the vast majority that decide to actually pay the carrier in order to tether get fully functioning tethering software from the carrier (just like majority that decides to actually purchase apps get fully functioning apps from developers). So the question becomes, what's the real reason for these unsanctioned tethering apps?

There is a reason that when webOS Nations publishes an article about tethering apps they add in some "if you get caught, don't blame us" disclaimers.

In the end, I'm not arguing whether either is right or wrong or whether there are situations in which either is a valid option. I'm arguing that it is hypocritical to call one stealing while blessing the other.

This is a terrible forum to have a discussion, but I'll respond one more time. My basic point is, the hypocrisy you're talking about is the result of comparing apples and oranges.

First, you use try-before-you-buy as the ethical use of piracy, and claim those who condemn it are hypocrites. Fair enough--this thread demonstrates that most of the people condemning piracy are OK with the try-before-you-buy variety. That's a consistent ethical position, not hypocrisy. Many here appear to be OK with piracy to circumvent georestrictions, at least after exhausting other avenues. Again, no hypocrisy there.

Second, as we've already discussed, the "fully functioning" tethering software is glitchy. freeTether is a better user experience that makes better use of the service I'm paying for. It's not hypocritical for someone using the software for a legitimate purpose to disapprove of someone who's breaking the law. And again, most here are only condemning those who break the law for the sake of getting free stuff.

Lastly, the quick search I just did of tethering articles here reveals only one, from January 5, 2011. In that article, WebOS Nations doesn't say anything about getting "caught". Instead it says, "remember that while this app will enable tethering for any webOS phone, what effect that has on your data costs is between you and your carrier - buyer homebrewer beware." In other words, your carrier might charge you for using these apps. You're the one adding the spin that there's some sort of wink-and-nod going on here.

Please don't put words into my mouth. I NEVER stated that try-before-you-buy was an ethical use of piracy. What I said was that there are people here that are using that line of reasoning and I made a comparison between that logic and the "I use tethering apps for paid tethering" logic. Both are probably true and both likely represent a very small percentage of the real use cases.

Also, I put the disclaimer in quotes for a reason and it was purposely worded to break down what the disclaimer means. Remember, these things came about when data was unlimited for all carriers. The overwhelming argument was "I'm paying for unlimited data, so [insert carrier name here] should not have the right to tell me which divices I can use that data on" or "No way I'm paying extra for tethering whine I'm already paying for unlimited data" Check the forums in addition to the articles. I've been on this site long enough (long before it was even called precentral) to have been witness to how these apps are used. The majority of discussions were around circumventing the system to get "free tethering". There are all sorts of "my carrier can't tell I'm using this, right?" posts. If I recall correctly, even webos-internals themselves were asked by Palm at one point to cool it with the tethering talk. I think it had something to do with Sprint at the time. Keep in mind that today (in the US), Sprint is the only one still offering unlimited data and thus is likely the one most affected by this form of stealing. Since the other carriers have changed to tiered plans, they can at least recoup some of the cost of this, but it still affects their network (and users of their network) when people circumvent the system.

It's not hypocritical for someone using the software for a legitimate purpose to disapprove of someone who's breaking the law. And again, most here are only condemning those who break the law for the sake of getting free stuff. What is hypocritical is an editor's note that states "piracy is wrong" while allowing the decimation of information on how to steal bandwidth. My exact point was in the last portion of my previous post.

In the end, I'm not arguing whether either is right or wrong or whether there are situations in which either is a valid option. I'm arguing that it is hypocritical to call one stealing while blessing the other.

So is using free mapping software the same thing? Most providers have pay to use navigation apps that this bypasses.

AT&T wants you to pay to tether with their app, same as they want you to pay to get navigation with their app. But there are also other apps for both on many phones that don't require a monthly payment (including a full blown pay app on android for navigation).

Totally apples and oranges. Provider still makes their money off you for service, data use, etc. An application developer you take the app from without paying gets nothing from you at all, ever (unless you truly downloaded the app from somewhere just to test it before buying which is probably rarer than the people who download to avoid buying).

No sir. There is nothing in your agreement that states you can only use a certain type of map. A disclaimer is needed, however, when you talk about tethering apps...for a reason.

By the way, here is what one carrier (Sprint) has to say about the situation. This is directly from their Terms of Service under "Examples of prohibited data uses"

Our data services may not be used:
...
(vi) for an activity that connects any device to Personal Computers (including without limitation, laptops), or other equipment for the purpose of transmitting wireless data over the network (unless customer is using a plan designated for such usage)

https://shop2.sprint.com/en/legal/os_general_terms_conditions_popup.shtml#1

AT&T states something similar:

Section 6.2:
...Furthermore, plans (unless specifically designated for tethering usage) cannot be used for any applications that tether the device (through use of, including without limitation, connection kits, other phone/smartphone to computer accessories, BLUETOOTH® or any other wireless technology) to Personal Computers (including without limitation, laptops), or other equipment for any purpose.

http://www.wireless.att.com/cell-phone-service/legal/index.jsp?q_termsKe...

I know of no such limitations on using mapping software. If you know of one, please point me to it.

I disagree. I use free tether because I pay for a certain amount of data and I never use it with just my phone. If I go over my data limit I pay more; I'm not stealing from anyone.

But back to the article: I'd happily pay much more for Music Player Remix, it's maybe my favorite webOA apps, and certainly my most used one. What is the point of stealing something that is so cheap anyway?

I'm happy to help support any one who is willing to write apps for my favorite OS!

Isn't it nice when we can bend the rules to fit our needs? Never mind the fact that you've entered into an agreement that governs how the data you pay for can be used. It's easier to simply ignore that and use logic instead to justify our actions. Similar to a pirate saying I'm not really stealing from a developer when I download a free app because I would not have purchased that app anyway. So the developer is not missing out on money he/she would not have earned from me.

Your agreement states that you can only use that data on an approved device unless you enter into an additional agreement that allows you to use said data on other devices (for a fee). But, that's inconvenient, so we'll just ignore it.

Maybe we should ignore Dan's example and start sitting through additional movies at the theatre. We know the ticket is for one viewing of one movie but the other room is not full and the movie will have to be played anyway so why not just bend the rules and claim the ticket is for "entry" rather than a single viewing? It's not like you taking up what would have been an empty seat is really costing them anything...right?

pirating is the way of the future if you dont want it stole dont write the code.. and if ur program sucked noone would steal it

Great article I think all developers should band together and do this!

So, ok, I guess I'll ask the big question: what did you get in return for all the time and energy you spent "fighting the pirates"? Have you seen a significant uptick in sales of your app? What's that? No? Golly, I wonder why?

Or do you just feel all warm and squishy inside that you're sticking it to all those dirty filthy scum-sucking lowlife pirates, most of whom will never buy your app anyway? And what of those that might have bought your app after trying it out? Well I guess you can forget about those sales.

Well, good luck, and keep fighting that "good fight"!

"I don't feel like I should have to pay for this meal, so somebody should make it available to me for free."

There, doesn't that sound ridiculous?

Absolutely, since a meal is a physical good and service, and taking it without paying is criminal defrauding of an innkeeper. Which isn't anything even remotely close to civil copyright infringement of non-tangible goods.

So yes, an utterly ridiculous comparison.

"physical good and service" you clearly do not understand that software is a physical creation. It's not magically floating out in the ether waiting to be channeled by new age hippies.

Seems the correlation is very high between being a thief and being stupid.

Captain,

You're "logic" is utterly the most retarded thing I've read on the forums I read in quite some time.

Please have yourself spayed or neutered...

iphone mentality at work here

Seriously? Do you think when you pay for a "meal" you are paying for the actual food? If so, meals would be about $2.50 to $5.00. You are paying for the TIME and ENERGY of the innkeeper. You are paying your money so that the innkeeper not only the resources needed to run his inn, but enough of a reward to make the hassle of it worth his time.

This is the exact same for the software developer. You are paying for his time, intelligence and energy. You are hopefully rewarding his creativity to level that he will continue to be motivate to update the software you like and to develop new software.

Time is the most valuable commodity we have. It is a fixed resource that is equally distributed to everyone. If we want people to be willing to spend their time doing things for us, we have to reward them and not steal from them.

This is beyond ridiculous. Do you know how much more real, tangible, irreplaceable time goes into making an app than goes into making a meal? This time is something we're trying to recover by charging for our app. Please, if you don't have anything smart to say, shut up.

If I want to spend the same time making the meal that I could purchase from a restaurant, it's going to cost ME less money. However, it does cost me extra time and resources that I need to acquire.

Whether it's the higher cost of a prepared meal or an app, you are paying for the TIME and RESOURCES that went into making that item. If you want to not pay for these things, then you should be spend the time and resources on designing and coding the app yourself.

You are right insofar as the theft of a physical product is not the same as copyright infringement.

But you still missed the point. It doesn't matter if it is exactly the same or just vaguely similar.

In both cases you take something that doesn't belong to you - and in both cases you hurt the owner/producer financially.

Not all pirated copies would otherwise have sold - but some unknown percentage would have. That percentage is a real loss of income.

Nobody cares about the tiny percentage of people who *honestly* couldn't have afforded a $1-10 app. And some people just collect stuff and then never use it. Shrug.

The rest are ripping off the dev - and they wouldn't like it one bit if the same thing would happen to them. The time and skill you put into the job you are paid for is not a physical good either - but you would be understandably angry if somebody used you without paying you - right?

Please explain to be how an illegal copy hurts the owner/producer financially. The illegal copy costs nothing to make. The illegal distribution costs nothing. The illegal use costs nothing. It in fact costs NOTHING. There are a few fringe instances where this is not the case, but those are the 1% and are not statistically relevant.

And what about that "tiny percentage" of people who really can't afford it? Or those that download it and never use it? Are they "stealing" too? Are they costing the developer money? What about if I buy the app, decide I don't like it, and never use it again? Is the developer now stealing from me, as he got my money and all I got nothing of value? So is he now the thief? After all, the agreement was my money for an app that's supposed to work as advertised and/or fulfill my needs. If it doesn't, and I can't get my money back, it's theft, right? How would you feel if you bought a toaster that didn't work and the store wouldn't give you your money back cause they claim you must have broken it? Bet you'd be understandably angry that they took your money and gave you something that didn't work as expected, right?

Wait, some unknown percentage = real loss? How exactly does that work? If the percentage is unknown you certainly cannot qualify or quantify any perceived loss. You can't have it both ways.

Trying to compare someone being paid an agreed upon price to do an agreed upon job is simply not an accurate comparison. There are no guarantees when you are a sole proprietor. Precisely how much money do you think this endeavor is worth? $1000? $10K? $1m? What should his hourly equivalent be? $10/hour? $25/hour? $100/hour? $1000/hour? Cause that's essentially what you're saying should happen.

Maybe he should let us know how much time he's invested in this app so we can decide how much money we think should be his compensation. Is that what you're advocating? Or is the sky the limit simply because it's software? A few hours here or there nights and weekends and POOF! you're entitled to a steady stream of millions for the rest of your life? Is that how it's supposed to work? Cause yeah, that would piss me off. And should piss off anyone else that works a real job for a living.

You're trying to adapt very simple and basic concepts to a very complicated and complex problem, and it just doesn't work they way you think it does.

a few hours here... a few hours there...

i've been working on my game now for a total of about a year. how many man hours is that? gee, idk. to you, it's practically nothing. what have i done for you? i've wasted my time. you're not going to pay for my app. so why should you get to use it? i put in probably about 3 months worth of work hours wise in the past year, SHOULDN'T _I_ GET TO DECIDE WHO CAN USE MY APP OR NOT?

Why should _YOU_ get to be the one to decide that? You didn't do jack to write my app.

eph off.

Maybe your boss shouldn't pay you for working. After all, money is just paper with ink on it. Pretty intangible.

"A few hours here or there nights and weekends and POOF!"
WTF WTF are you kidding me?!?!

If you were a developer you'd have a sense of how much work actually goes into writing software. Then again, if you were a developer you'd probably understand that piracy hurts you in any and every way.

As a developer and a consumer I see both sides. I assume you are a mere consumer so please refrain from commenting about both sides.

I won't lie, I didn't read most of your post because the general basis behind it seems entirely stupid to me.

Despite whatever reports or studies show, pirates almost never buy apps after downloading them for free. When they share them, they open it up to hundreds of thousands of people who won't have to pay for the software effectively cutting out the developers 70%. As a webOS developer you barely make any money anyway.

The only alternative is to create a free application with ad support. If you've ever dealt with AdMob (the biggest ad vendor for webOS) you would realize that these people are just as bad as pirates. They have the authority to close your account at any time without paying you what they owe you. And they specifically don't have any concrete contact information for appealing their judgments. Also NOBODY likes ads. Given the choice, I always pay for the "premium" version to axe the ads.

These are all just random points, but the main one stays constant. Pirating software does and always will hurt the developer even if you don't see it that way. Developers pour insane amounts of time into coding, debugging and updating. Why should you be able to get their efforts for free when they can't get yours for free? You're most likely a child who's parents don't give him money to buy software so he trolls the internet for it.

Bottom line, when you're a developer you'll see.

Dude, do you realixe that you are rationalizing theft? Stealing is stealing weather or not anyone is actually "Hurt". Get a grip and stop fooling yourself!!

I have not a single thing in my home or business that wasn't earned or freely given to me or my family. I couldn't always say that and I was really good at rationalizing my dishonesty; I deserve it, they diserve it, or whatever! Stealing is stealing and one day when you cannot look at yourself in the mirror without feeling shame you'll get it.

In the end all we have is who we are, what we stand for, and our word. People who know me trust me completely. Is it the same for you CaptainFabulous?

I bet not.

Sorry but I have to say I agree completely with Captain here. There are too many people that like to ride the high horse when it comes to things like copyright infringement, and cite all kinds of unrealistic numbers to try and show harm done. Many people have no intention of ever buying an app, pirated version or not. Others simply want to try something before buying it. It's impossible to determine if a pirated download equals a loss or not.

So, your software is all non-tangible? How do you use it, if you can't see it?

he doesn't use software, he copies it. he said so himself

Probably not to him, Derek. Some people, a growing number of people, feel that they are entitled to everything you or I have, whether or not they have earned it.

And it's ridiculous to say they were trying it out and would pay for it. Get out of here, Captain. I hope your ship sinks.

And yet my question still goes unanswered, lost in a swarm of "but it's not ok to steal, you dirty thief" posts.

An excellent article for anyone willing to take off their blinders and pull their fingers out of their ears:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2012/02/03/you-will-never-kill-pi...

Mind you nothing in my original post advocated piracy. In general I'm against pirating webOS apps. But there is also something to be said for trying before you buy and realizing that instead of wasting your time and energy fighting a lost battle one would be better off trying to find ways of enticing people to buy their products instead of pirating them.

Or you can just keep ranting on about thieves and stealing, making it completely apparent that not only do you not understand the problem, you also don't have any idea or desire to solve it.

Piracy will never kill the big entertainment industry with billions behind it, but piracy can kill one individual developer and he's doing something about it before it does.

And it's clear you do not understand the problem. If it was merely a case of "try before you buy", there wouldn't have been such an uproar every time Dan removed his app.

Is that all you got out of that article? Amazing. You still keep missing the point, and clearly nothing I say is going to change anyone's minds, which is kinda sad.

If you can't fully understand why a problem exists you can't even begin to understand how to fix it. Digging in your heels and using words like "stealing" and "thieves" only underscores the blatant lack of understanding by you and others.

Going after those that will never, ever buy your product is a waste of your time and energy. They are not your customers, nor will ever be your customers. It's best to just ignore them. Otherwise you'll drive yourself crazy when you mistakenly believe that every pirated copy is a lost potential sale. It's not. And it never will be. So just get that out of your mind NOW.

There will always be a small percentage of people that could become your customers given the right incentive. Slamming doors in their faces is not a proper incentive to get them to buy your product.

The bottom line should always be "how do I increase my sales". You don't do this by focusing your efforts on those that will never buy your product. You do this by targeting those that will. This is basic marketing stuff here, people. Absolutely none of you can see the forest for the trees, and it's really kinda mind-boggling.

But yeah, keep up with snarky comments, personal insults, and name-calling. Cause that'll show me. Yeah, cause it's not like I'm the one over on that site that keeps telling people to use the App Catalog when their pirated copies won't install or don't work. Nope, must be a different CaptainFabulous.

Actually I think the reason there is a huge focus on piracy is because of the big corporations screaming they are losing their profits to piracy. The models they use are based upon every single time no one buys it but gets it for free this is lost income. This is a basic tenet of capitalism. This is why when food goes slightly off at grocery stores it is thrown not. not given to people who cant afford it because they would be a lost sale. so the food is tossed and we have people in this country going hungry. when you look in those terms does it seem right? but see a company looks and says well if we give our food away to people who cant afford it those are potential sales going away because they get it for free and it will drive the price of our product down because of an increase in market spread ie highly availability lower cost all around. This doesnt even matter if your customers are never going to buy your food and are probably going to die before they can afford to buy it. so either way the company loses out in the short term. they dont think well if i give this poor person food then maybe that will help them focus on getting a job/taking care of bills/be able to not worry that they are going to starve in the future I might have increased my customer base once they are back on their feet. but instead it all comes down to numbers and giving your product away for free means less revenue......potentially, not even guaranteed, just potentially.

For example my friend's uncle has built a company that tests LCD panels. He takes it to this huge corporation who makes LCDs and sells it to them. while working with them he sees that they reverse engineer everything. any product they want to use that someone else has gets reversed engineered. why pay for it when you can have it for free? sound familiar? needless to say once they got their hands on his product and reverse engineered that his services were no longer needed. so it is not just the little guys it is also the bigger guys.

if companies understood that there are going to be a group of people who steal/pirate their product. it is the nature of the beast and instead focus on their customers who are going to buy their products then maybe their profits would increase. take me for example I have bought every app that I have wanted through the HP App store including Music Player (Remix). I even knew it was free in Preware. Now why would i do this? because I love WebOS and want to try and help the developers who love it and support it. that doesnt mean i am going to buy every app in the store nor am i going to pirate it. but there are going to be people who steal everything even if they have all the money in the world.

Grocery stores probably don't give away food that's gone past the expiration dates due to liability reasons more than it will represent a lost sale. A lawsuit would cost a lot more than any of the potential lost sales.

The ones screaming the most about piracy (the entertainment industry) are seeing their profits decline mainly because a) there's not a lot of people re-purchasing their product in new formats because they've already done that (vinyl/tape to CDs, VHS to DVD, etc) like there was in years past and b) most of their new output sucks. Many of the people who pirate that stuff are probably the same ones who in years past would record songs off the radio instead of buying the product. A friend of mine in the mid 90s said that even a lot of that music piracy would have largely taken care of if the industry would have made it very simple to buy the product, provide it at a fair price, and then produce stuff that people want to buy. But they had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the future.

If the Music Remix author wants to play whack a mole with people who will never buy his product, that's fine with me. It's his time. I've paid for my copy of it and have been wondering why the latest version is so laggy when the screen orientation changes on the Pre3. It didn't always used to be that way, so I would really prefer that he'd spend his time investigating & fixing that instead of going after pirates. But that's just me.

grocery stores toss out food well before its expiration date or its "gone bad," and on numerous occassions, have sold me items with expirations dates as far as a year past, but seemed completely unworried about me suing them.

I do agree with your points about the entertainment industry, and how I'd prefer authors spend their time make their apps better.

Just out of curiosity, Captain, what's the name of the app(s) you sell, and on what app store?

The uproar he speaks of was more like a "hey can you reupload this"

Don't just take what he says as fact. My opinion aside, his article is his perspective of his own actions and his own app. Common sense will tell you not to take the emotional aspects of his story as hard fact.

That's not a diss, I'm just saying that it is his story, not a witness account.

So the victim is never a witness?

And dismissing a victim's feelings out 0f hand as being irrelevant isn't dissing him?

No, it's not dissing him. I'm just speaking from a logical perspective. I wouldn't ask the wife of a slain man if her husbands murderer should get the death penalty. I already know what her opinion is going to be. She is justified to feel the way she does, but the fact of the matter is she won't be objective, and shouldn't be considered to be objective. Know what I mean?

No, he is a witness, but so was I, and that's not how it went down. It was just like you would imagine it would be in any thread on the forums here. People asking for patches or whatever.

People may have gotten frustrated because they kept trying to download and the links were broken. But nobody did more than just ask for it to be put back up, and requesting different file hosting sites because basically none of them work in all countries. And that site was largely European and Asian users.

I've spoken to several folks recently who don't believe that their slain family member/friend should get the death penalty, but otherwise I see where you're coming from.

Trying before buying is important when we talk about products costing hundreds, thousands or possibly million of dollars.

But it gets ridiculous when we talk about about a starbucks coffee amount of money.

There often are demo versions. There are always several pictures and sometimes even video clips. There usually are plenty of people writing reviews for an app. The more popular/important apps get special reviews on this forum or threads where people talk about features and bugs.

And anyway - no dev is going to care if you grab a copy, try it (for a reasonable time) and then either delete or buy it.
Obviously the debate is about people who keep trying and never buy.

Really - having a debate about justifying piracy and try before buy for apps that often just cost a buck or 5 is beyond silly.

If you are a starving student and creatively aquire a copy of Photoshop then Adobe will shrug that off as building market share. They'll sell a licence later when you go full-time professional. But we're talking 1000$ software here.

Don't tell me that people able to pay for a smartphone and pay their monthly 3G bills can't pay $1.95 for an app without "evaluating" it for 3 years.

That's BS!

Hey, if I give you email address will you Paypal me some money to buy a few apps? They're only a few buck each, no sweat right?

What's that you say? No way? But but but, that's silly, it's only the price of a cup of Starbucks! What? Your money isn't my money? Really? That's BS!

once again, a petulant, spoiled child who believes he is entitled to things because others have it or perhaps because he just wants it.

Is that anything like a petulant spoiled developer who believes he is entitled to other people's money just cause he works for a few hours on weekends or just because he wants it?

Wait, are you trying to tell me I'm not entitled to things that I want? Aren't you entitled to the things you want?

I think you completely underestimate the amount of time and money spent to bring these apps to the world.

he has no idea.

no

freaking

idea.

You're not entitled to anything you want. Life doesn't work that way. You're entitled to whine about what you want, but that doesn't mean it should automatically be yours.

The difference between my paying $1 for software and giving you $1 is that I'll get some value from the software. As it is, I've paid you nothing, and still feel like I deserve a refund.

No, your original post says that it's a waste of time to attempt to combat it. However, in general, it is not.

Just because it dosen't kill you isn't a good reason to engage in any given activity. Cheating on my wife won't kill anyone, but I still don't do it. Lying to my kids won't kill anyone, but I still don't do it.

Honesty. It's always the best policy and will let you sleep well at night.

Derek these ppl probably don't understand because they never took the time and effort to build something from scratch...

Fair is Fair if you want something you have to pay for if... (In a civilized society anyway)

quote By Derek Kessler on Sat, 04 Feb 2012

"I don't feel like I should have to pay for this meal, so somebody should make it available to me for free."

There, doesn't that sound ridiculous?

not really ,sounds like a food bank to me, only its more like
"I cant afford to buy this meal , so i hope someone makes it available to me for free."

Hey Cap,

Sounds like you got burned trying to get the app without paying for it. Don't worry, I'm sure one of your friends can loan you $2.99 to actually by an App.

Actually I have it. Not entirely sure where I got it from since I don't use pirated software on my TP and I know I didn't pay for it. I'm guessing I got it via a promo code.

The price is irrelevant as long as there is no way to get your money back if you're not satisfied with your purchase. As far as I'm concerned taking my money and giving me a crappy product is fraud. So why is it wrong one way but not the other? And how am I supposed to know if a product is worth buying if I can't try it first (and I'm sorry, but third party reviews don't cut it)? Am I just supposed to risk my money, or otherwise be labeled a pirate, simply by ensuring I get my money's worth?

In short, yes. If you don't want to risk your money, then don't buy/use it. But don't think you are being morally righteous by stealing.
I'm not aware of any right to a free trial. Is that something you are born with or something you made up just now?

So it's better to guarantee no purchase at all than it is to have at least a chance of one? Duly noted.

And morality has nothing to do with it. It's simply business.

There's a chance of a sale if the product is not available on private sites. You make it seems like 100% of the people pirating software wouldn't pay for it. Perhaps they would, but they see that they can it for free. Last I checked, people almost always choose the free option vs. the paying money option.

On the other hand, the people who are pirating the software have just about a zero chance of paying for it ever. They have become accustomed to paying nothing. Your argument that the developer should work on a way to get that person to pay is misguided - chances are it will just get pirated again after the new features are added.

Try a trial version of the product first. Like I did with Music Remix before I bought it.

If there isn't a trial version than you have to rely on reviews/comments/posts to determine if you want to buy it.

if the product doesn't work or work well, then write a bad review, contact the seller and ask for support to fix what doesn't work.

It would be great if a developer could turn off the functionality of the SW if you wanted to return it (maybe this exists in some environments), but until then, you aren't able to return it and ensure you aren't using the SW anymore (like would be the case if you returned a tangible product.

Can you see how this completely lopsided process leads people to piracy?

I'm supposed to take my hard-earned money and risk it on an untested product that may or may not suit my needs based upon the comments of other people I don't know? I'm sorry, that's unreasonable. It doesn't matter if it's $1 or $10,000. It's my money, and I'm not going to throw it away.

Do you buy a car without test driving based upon what you read in Consumer Reports? Do you buy clothing without trying them on from stores that don't offer a return policy based upon forum posts you read online? Better yet, would you ever buy a product other than a movie, CD, or software, from a store that had a no-return, no-refund policy? Never. So why is it ok for media, but completely unacceptable for everything else?

And if a product is horribly broken or doesn't suit my needs you think it's acceptable that I, the PAYING CUSTOMER, should then have to bargain and haggle with the developer in order to ensure I get what I paid for? Seriously? In what Bizarro world would that be acceptable for any other consumer product or service?

Oh, and I love that last bit. That if I decide I don't like a product and I want my money back that I must automatically be a thief. Cause that's a sure-fire way to endear your customers. Just a small footnote in case you ever want to go into some kind of business: don't piss off the people from whom you want money.

I will agree with you on one point, and have to disagree with you on one direct and one indirect point:

Agreed on getting my money back. I would love to have a "refund" or "try-before-buy" option in the app store. I think it would drastically cut down on the crapware. I predict that if Apple did it, and put teeth in it, a HUGE number (some sources have estimated 30%+ paid apps are crapware, but I think it higher) would simply get pulled because of excessive refunds.

Disagree on this this though: Scale matters to people. In this case, we are talking about discretionary income. It might not matter you you personally as you have discerning spending habits, but as you have probably taken finance and marketing courses in college, I will trust you to look it up. $1 is different than $10000, and perspective matters a great deal. If I only have $5 to spend, then $1 is significant. If I have $10000, then $1 is a rounding error. Again, this is standard discretionary income stuff from marketing 101.

An indirect point to note, and this is only because of the context in the article: WebOS devices have a built-in music player, so therefore this is a "want not need" scenario. The people that pirate it have ZERO excuse.

oh, do you try out everything in a store before deciding to walk out with it?

There is no right to a return, -anywhere-.

You are obviously unaware of common sale laws. In every sale (at least in the US), there is an implied warranty of fitness. This implied warranty states that, if the product does not perform as advertised, you have the right to return it within a reasonable period of time.

Implied Warranty: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implied_warranty

This applies to all sales unless otherwise noted (typically using the statement "As-Is"). If I sell my car and I don't have the phrase As-Is in the sale, then it's found that the gas tank has a gaping hole in it, the new owner (an idiot for not having it checked out first) has thirty days (in my state) from the date of sale to seek restitution.

Now if that same sale happens and I have specified all sales are final, no refunds, or I have used those two little lovely words, "as-is", such as, "This car is being sold as-is," then I've covered my ****

But that's a physical, tangible good. Intangibles, such as software, information, blueprints, intellectual property, and many more, do not enjoy this luxury.

This is my one and only post on this thread about this topic, so I'm also going to tack on Rovio's opinion on the matter:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/appsblog/2012/jan/30/angry-birds-mu...

but they wouldn't know, they're only the second best selling mobile phone game.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_video_games#Mobile_phone

The problem you're describing is one inherent to the current app store model--I agree that it would be a better market if it were fixed so that "return and refund" were possible.

This isn't the developers' fault, however--they had no more say in how HP set up the App Catalog than the consumers did. To blame the devs and to use that as the basis of your entire rationale is pure sophistry and a wholely disingenuous position.

If you want to make a legitimate statement, total up the cost of the apps you've bought that you'd like to return, then steal that amount from Meg Whitman's home. At least then there would be some consistency to your argument, even if it were still lacking anything to admire.

Hey Cap,

You said "Just a small footnote in case you ever want to go into some kind of business: don't piss off the people from whom you want money."

I might not be suited to run a business, but I guarantee you are less suited. I mean, you wouldn't even be able to pay the bills at the end of the month since you'd just let everyone buy your product, copy it then return it for a full refund that you would gladly provide because not only do you naively think that they aren't stealing from you, but you are cool with them pirating it from you.

If you open up a business, let me know, so I can be your customer. Sounds like a good deal.

Nobody said that selling a crappy product is OK.
Nobody cares if you copy a product, test it a little bit and then delete it or buy it.

Apply some common sense and please understand that this about people who never pay - but would have if they couldn't get it illegitimately for free.

And your arguments are weak even for crappy products because of the very low prices for apps.

Getting up in arms over a cup of coffee worth is - IMHO - silly.

And don't try to tell me that the app catalog is filled with crappy software that got good reviews. That would be a ridiculous claim.

So if you are just paying a handful of bucks anyway - and the risk of getting surprisingly crappy software is pretty low then what is your point here?

so, NOW you're advocating piracy, halfway down the thread. So, are you just trolling, or do you really believe the **** you say?

One question Cap: Being that the people on the site are requesting that the new version be uploaded because the pirated copy they have no longer works, is not the logical conclusion that Music Remix is not a product they decided to try, found to be a fraud, and then never used again?

I haven't put in a lot of time and energy. I searched for their DNS/host providers and emailed them. That's it. It's up to the DNS/host providers to decide what they'll do.

This is not about seeing an uptick in my app sales. It's about taking action against a site who blatantly tries to steal from you by posting your app to 100+ sites and posting the links. I emailed the admin and asked them to remove my app from their forums and they ignored it. As a result, the DNS provider (who was CC'd on the email) may decide to take the site's DNS resolution down. We'll see later on today. And again, the admin simply has to remove the forum threads with my apps to avoid this. Very easy.

But to what end? And what exactly did you hope to accomplish? If your goal is to sell copies of your product (and honestly it shouldn't be anything else) going after those that will never become customers is futility, while severing an avenue for those that may become customers is nothing short of shooting yourself in the foot. So while it might give you some sense of satisfaction in the short term it will have absolutely zero effect on the problem in the long term, and may actually harm you financially to boot.

The belief that copyright infringement is "stealing" and that people have a moral obligation to buy everything they use needs to stop. It's not and they don't. Morality has absolutely nothing to do with it. Business is business, and you simply cannot expect individuals to be held to some kind of lofty moral standard when businesses are given carte blanche to do anything they want, no matter how reprehensible, in the name of all-mighty capitalism.

I can think of at least 2 things you could have done in the same or less amount of time that would have actually benefited you both emotionally and financially. First, you could have gone into these forums, announced yourself, and gently reminded people that a free version of your app is available on Preware for those who wanted to try it, and thanking those in advance who opted to later buy it. I'm betting most of them have no idea there is a freeware version available.

Second, you could have gone into those forums, announced yourself, and offered up some discount codes, say 50% off the regular price for those who were willing to buy it instead of pirate it.

In both cases you're showing people that you're an upstanding guy who is at least trying to offer up an olive branch to people and provide them with an incentive into becoming paying customers. And that's something quite impressive to those who feel disenfranchised.

What you did is try to one-up them and outsmart them, which is not only going to piss them off, it's only going to make them work that much harder to **** you. Characterizing them as something akin to cockroaches or maggots certainly ain't gonna help.

You have to realize that despite the law you don't hold the power, they do. And that you can't strongarm them into buying your products, cause they just won't. You must appeal to them, entice them, and woo them. The number of pirated copies is irrelevant. The number of paying customers (and potential paying customers) is. The latter is the one you want to impress, not alienate. The former is best ignored.

it is stealing as it's taking and benefiting from something you have no legal right to have.

going after pirates is a positive because if items are easy to find and free then people that otherwise would pay won't. If there is a target that charges and right next door there is another store offering the exact same merchandise for free even people that would normally pay will go get it free.

The fact that there are people that will only go get something free and never would have gone into target to pay doesn't negate that fact that formely paying customers are now not paying.

And bottomline, the right to copy, distribute, or adapt my work is my right and mine alone.

People who own a Pre or TouchPad "feel disenfranchised"???

I guess maybe if they stole the hardware, too...

Would *all* of them have otherwise bought the app? No - of course not. Would some percentage of them do so - of course. It's just a few bucks after all and they obviously do want to use it.

And I can totally sympathize with a dev that feels satisfied if at least the greedy free-riders don't get to use it - or at least have to jump through extra hoops. Some of them will give up. Some will conclude that it is just less hassle to pay the 1-5 bucks.

What is your point? Don't you like to get paid for your work? Would you not get upset if your employer /client stops paying you after you worked for him/her?

Just because doing the right thing isn't easy doesn't mean it shouldn't be done.

If I was him, I'd feel pretty good about sticking it to the scum sucking pirates, even if it is a lot of work. There already is a homebrew version and if I recall right, a demo version. Stealing is wrong, and a guy ought to get paid for his work.

Avast, ye pirates!

Captain Fabulous is way off base here. It's easy to justify stealing on the web because you can't see your victim. I spent a couple of years downloading all the free music I wanted until I realized that it was in fact stealing, and I had been fooling myself.

I kept all that free music and I have been systematically purchasing it on itunes. I'm nearly done eight years and about $40.00 dollars per month later. I am now happy and proud to have such a great music collection, instead of a little ashamed.

It will be great to benifit even users who want developers to keep making apps for Webos.

Oh yes and you entered the wpcentral ip adress not webos nation lol

I think people need to find ways to compete with pirates, not attack them.
like it or not, they are your competition.

Compete with the pirates....? Ok, release a special version for the pirates. Something that puts a banner or changes the launcher icon everytime its used. Maybe swap the ringtone out to Pirates of the Caribbean sayings or theme song.

A company I did some work for released a game a little while ago, that if you tried to import characters into it from the pirate leaked copy that went around the pirate sites about 2 months before final release, that it would give them something like -1000000 (negative one million) experience, and all new characters created would start at -1000000. Of course, every single person who complained to the customer relations people got a refund of their purchase price, and Microsoft blacklisted their Xboxes free of charge. :)

BS. There is free and not free. It's not an issue of "competing." They "pirates" have no right to use my hard work. The music i wrote, the movie i wrote, filmed, directed, The article i researched and wrote.

you guys comments are out of this **** world!

I see where you have legitmate arguements...in the arena of software as relating to Microsoft or somewhere when they used to not let you use the software even as a trial without paying $400. But in the arena of apps...most have a trial version withenough full features that you can try for free without pirating. In the case of DanPLC, there is an almost full fledged homebrew version of Music Player Remix to TRY FOR FREE! You like, BUY THE DAMN THING like I did.

Understandable that some do it for reasons as they cant afford it etc etc...but again apps are only a buck or two...and definitely (in this apps case) is not a neccesity as there is already a musica player in webOS that would suffice if you can't afford his app. Give these developers a break...GEEZ! How would you like to get hired at a job for say $75,000 a year, and a week later them coming to you saying they like your work but are only going to pay you $35,000 now....would you stay at that company very long............

i agree that the money argument is a facetious one based upon the fact that there are usually free alternatives. and that the small price for the apps shouldnt drive people to piracy. I think this is just a rationalizing argument people use. they steal to steal. its a cheap thrill. and they are never going to stop stealing.

also you analogy doesnt actually work because this is exactly how many companies do business. outsourcing be the main one. why should they pay a
$75,000 a year to some person when they can pay some person in a undeveloped world ten cents an hour? so if you dont want your job to leave then take a pay cut to $35,000. businesses are about maximizing their profits at the expense of all others.

most ppl have publically said they pirate stuff because software/games r too expensive, in this world of mini apps that arguments not worth ****

Even that argument doesn't stand up for software/games. Games eventually drop in price and almost any software you can think of has an open-source alternative that just requires a little bit more of your time to use.

Then they don't have to buy it. Ferrari's are too expensive. I don't take one. Macbooks are too expensive i don't take one. Movies are too expensive, I just don't go. Yeah records are too expensive i just don't buy them. I got an Amazon wish list full of expensive stuff like books that i having taken from a store without paying. The excuse people use is just that, an excuse.

Sadly that sort of thinking is rampant in the tech geek world. But sadly it's a product of people that have very little understanding of laws and why they exist.

But if you could, would you? If some guy created a machine that could instantly duplicate any item would you take that Macbook that the machine spit out? How about an iPhone 4S or an iPad 2? Would you take one of those too? After all, it doesn't belong to anyone, as it just got spit out of a machine. It's not like you walked into a store and took it off the shelf and walked out with it, and it didn't come out of Apple's warehouse. It cost them nothing to make so it's not like you're taking money out of their pockets. So no harm in taking it, right?

And if you say no then we all know you're full of **** Of course you'd take 3 three. And you know you would.

It's interesting that you believe that everyone else would make the same decision that you would make--even though you've probably never met anyone else on this forum, let alone known us well enough to draw that conclusion.

Captain, you seem to be making two parallel arguments: One that piracy isn't wrong (because of the "infinite duplication" possibility) and another that, whether it's wrong or not, it's not good business to punish piracy. I'm only engaging in the first discussion--since that's by far a more interesting one than how Dan should use his time.

The answer to your question is no, and the proof that I'm not full of **** is that I don't pirate software, or music, or movies. And the reason I don't is that, from a contractual perspective, I have no right to take it. Dan (like Metallica or Dreamworks) makes the fruit of his labor available with the understanding that people will pay for it. It's an implicit contract that it's only available to people who will fulfill its terms. Whether or not that's good business, it's a reasonable restriction, and I don't see any reason not to honor it.

I really think webos has/had an api that allows an app to check with the palm server to see if it was purchased. Am I wrong about this?

But more importantly, some of the responses scare me. I hope we can keep these thieves contained on the internet. I would hate to be robbed one day then have the robber tell me that I shouldn't fight back because he would have stolen my money via welfare if I didn't give it to him on the street. Because that seems to be the logic here.
A world where it becomes ok to steal, providing it's easy to steal the item, is pretty sad.

That API is currently only available to PDK apps. I'm not sure if Music Player Remix has a PDK component, but I think it is all javascript. For a javascript app to take advantage, it would need to be a hybrid app, which could potentially shrink the market for Music Player Remix, since HP has a ridiculous policy of not allowing hybrid apps on "legacy" devices despite the fact that they work with no problems.

I just want to point out that the "ridiculous policy of not allowing hybrid apps" on devices running an OS version prior to 2.1.0 is because there is a system-level bug whereby updating the app while the app is running would overwrite the plugin file with a 0-byte file (same with services on 2.0.x)

Also, given that the media indexer didn't come into the equation until 2.0.0, the market wouldn't get smaller at all.

Doesn't mean he should be forced to add it in, especially given the easy nature of removing that plugin from the app (as pirates have been known to remove trial code and similar things and redistribute the app)

As was mentioned, there is a PDK api for this. But here are the main issues with this:

1) It would require a PDK plugin which would not allow the app to be distributed to webOS 2.0.0 devices. Some of my paying customers (running webOS 2.0.0) would then no longer be able to access the app.

2) Frankly, I don't trust HP's backend servers (that the API would be using to verify purchases). HP has a lot of issues with their app portal and I can imagine scenarios where it tells paying customers they didn't buy the app.

so.. what actually uses 2.0.0? just curious. i've never seen one.

I have no idea who still runs on webOS 2.0. But there may still be folks who never received the latest 2.1 or 2.2 updates. If they bought my app and I set my "min version" to 2.1, they would no longer be able to re-download the app even though they paid for it.

So unless I absolutely have to, I'll never set the min version to 2.1.

as long as some webOS user are prohibited _ without any fault of their own - in buying software, pirated software will be an issue.

I'd gladly pay for software I may want to use, but I'm not allowed.

So stop whining, dry your eyes, and put pressure on HP to globalize software sales.

I'm sure there's a few bucks in it for any developer.

But we HAVE been putting pressure on HP, for quite some time. Dealing with HP is a fruitless proposition. They almost never change in a timely manner. And now that webOS has been shelved and OS webOS is months away, there's little chance that the app catalog will be expanded more globally.

That being said, contact the developer first if you can't buy the app due to a silly restriction on HP's part.

There have been others in your situation that have found legal ways of purchasing the apps as discussed in forum threads such as this: http://forums.webosnation.com/hp-touchpad-apps/290307-success-bought-app...

So it may be possible...it just requires some work.

Soooooooo, you're saying people are lazy ? ;0)

I've been using hours on that project, not with much luck, though.

Instead of forcing otherwise law abiding users into piracy, HP could turn to Paypal as a solution.

However no matter how you twist it, the main reason for piracy on webOS apps are because of idiotic restrictions. That doesn't change anything.

I've also read a lot of threads where the prepaid thing doesn't work..... So why bother using all kinds of loopholes to be allowed to use your money, when it doesn't work ?

Maybe there should be a verified "howto" on how it can be done.

I wish HP would allow paypal payments and remove all geo-restrictions. But I doubt they will at this point. They're busy working on open sourcing webOS. I doubt they're going to dedicate resources to opening up the app catalog.

However even if there were no geo-restrictions and a variety of different payment options, there would still be piracy. The main reason for piracy is people wanting to get something for free without having any fear of getting caught.

Can you use the web distribution route and just have people send you money via paypal to buy it in countries where it's restricted for some odd reason on HP's part?

If I did that, the pirates would just share the link to the web feed and folks could download the app for free and get updates pushed right to their device by the catalog.

That doesn't sound like a great idea.

And it's still technically in violation of the developer agreement to distribute outside of the HP app catalog.

That's amazingly childish and naive. In many cases, expanding into other territories cost money. You need to establish payment systems and things to make it available.

I can't get a skytv app in my country because they don't have the right to distribute all their tv and radio content here.

If you can't get something fine but don't try to justify your own theft. That's like trying to justify robbing a Ferarri dealership in Italy because the model is not offered in my home country.

That part is obviously not the problem a dev would worry much about.

Let's assume for a second that devs worry about the real potential sales - which seems very obvious to me.

I'd like to see this post on all the mobile nations sites.

The webOS faithful should band together to help our developers combat this issue. Pirating webOS apps will only deter development.

Music Player Remix is an amazing app that I was glad to pay for after trying in HomeBrew. The great thing is, not only was I able to transfer the app from my Pre 2 to 3 but is available to me for download to my TouchPad if I want it.

Sure. Give us the option to use paypal, and it'll go away.

You should be speaking to HP if you want more options for purchasing. Nobody here can make that happen, and HP already knows the developers want this.

The catch is the users (the ones that will be making the purchases) need to show HP there is money to be made. HP knows the developers want more opportunity to make more money, there is only an upside for developers as they don't incur the costs HP has to.

Thanks Palm/Hp for their geo-restricted App Catalog. A can buy any app for my iPhone4 but I can't do the same for my Pre2 because I live in _unsupported country_ (and feel myself like a second-class citizen). Open the catalog for all users with webOS phones around the globe before blaming them for supporting the piracy!

p.s. All apps on my TP are officially purchased.

They're not blaming those users for piracy. It's best to contact the developer first if you live in an unsupported country.

Some of developers do not want sell their apps outside AppCatalog. What should I do?

Devs also CANNOT sell outside of the App Catalog, per the developer agreement

Yeah thus the problem.

there are plenty of iphone apps that you can't buy in certain countries. It's no different.

Apps! Not full catalog!

so, curiously, were any webOS devices sold in any of these countries that don't have app catalog access, or were they obtained via illegal importation?

Illegal importation. And so? I wish that device and I buy it.

What? Illegal importation? Teh item is not in list of goods prohibited for import in my country, i paid item's price, i paid import taxes, i get item and i'm using it.
Please be more specific.

@eblade

Welcome to the our wonderful nations. Do you have any alcohol, fire arms, controlled substances, or a wireless device that might be in violation of our stringent laws?

Dan, I am 100% behind you. Dan is one of the best webOS developers. Unfortunately, it seems he's always had some problem for which he has trouble getting awareness or traction, but he always fights for his customers, and I've helped him a few times on spreading awareness. I'll help him here in whatever capacity I can, because I can bet that whenever he takes down a pirate, he's taking down a pirate of my app as well. I'm just a college student, trying to use app revenue to make me a little more comfortable without a huge financial burden, and whenever my apps are pirated it really hurts me. To all who pirate out there, don't. If you can't get the app due to some silly catalog restrictions on HP's part, just contact the developer. We'll be more than happy to help you if you get in touch with us. Just downloading from a pirate will help no one.

The geo-restriction was Palm's own pirate recruiter.

Irrelevant.

It's pretty obvious that devs mostly worry about lost potential sales in supported countries.

the dev's sell there apps cheap so why go out of your way to get it free....you take a girl out and buy her dinner and maybe a movie just to get yourself a piece when you can just pay for it in the app cat

you don't get it, do you ?

cause they are a bunch of kids that don't care about paying for anything and have no sense of the law.

i do not support "piracy" but as long as there are ways to get the software but there there are rocks lying in the already small app-road for webos users:

1. geo-restricted paid app catalog (this would be a point in the webos-wishlist)

2. developers not releasing the app for a specific device, even if webOS Version/power of the device would be working.

These two points seem also be seen so by webOS-Internals which is one point why they released App Tuckerbox (all countries) including the "ignore device"-option (all devices), which only works on free apps.

Perhaps it's time for a worldwide internals-paid-app-catalog, as HP seem not to open it soon.

I'm not not a big fan of HP and their 2011 policies regarding webos. But let's just assume for a second that it would have been in HP's interest to sell to the whole planet and that there are reasons why that is not so easy.

Every market you add to the catalog means considering local taxes and laws and more languages to support. Not only translations for the app - but also in tech and customer support.

Which is one of the reasons why we'll never see a commercial app catalog by webos internals.

Perhaps if HP removed their discrimination against half the world,and opened the catalogue to every webos user,maybe those acquiring apps from pirate sites would not feel the need to do so.While I do not condone pirating,and have never used pirated apps,it annoys the **** out of me that I have a device that I can't purchase apps for.Maybe its time for a another catalogue outside of HP's control.

It's not discrimination.

Do you really believe that HP excluded many countries out of spite? Just to annoy some customers?

They made serious mistakes with webos. I'm not a happy customer regarding HP.

But adding markets is not a simple thing. Currency conversions, language support, local taxes and laws - believe me these are not trivial things and involve teams of lawyers and a bunch of employees for every market so they can handle this stuff and provide support.

Currency conversions - it's visa/bank and paypal's work.
Language support - get itunes, switch language and what? There are still apps that are only on english. And it's not bad, coz it's international.
Local taxes - allways and everywhere was, is and will be personal problem of customer which by default must know laws of his country.
Laws - if app is not about religion, kid's pron, hate, racism and fascism - it's not against common laws of most of the countries.

Each phenomenon has its own reasons. In my point of view ofc.
In most cases "customer" of piracy distribution will never buy this. But since software is available (for free) from pirates - this man use it. If it not available from pirates - that man will not be using this software at all (even if price will be 1$). This category of "customers" is not "lost potential customers" for developer, they simply was no-customers from beginning. And with marginalisation of hi-techs (web2.0, 99$s tablets and stuff, you know) this category of "no-customers" will only grow in numbers.
But there are another categories of "customers" of piracy distribution - and they have reasons (understandable reasons) to do it. It can be lack info about quality, features and abilities of app, lack of demo/trial of app - "try before buy" scenario. It can be only one way to get app at all - unfamous hp's regional lock for app catalog (and yes, it's not trivial thingy to get valid US card with adress; and yes, not every developer write back to you when you ask about other way of purchasing coz some devs drops their apps long long ago and/or do not care of it). And those categories of "customers" are really "lost customers".
So, it's not about 1$ or 2$ or 3$, it's about reasons. Imho, ofc.
And last thing. Devs, please, do not do things like blizzard, ubisoft, ea and other. Do not invent "crafty defence mechanisms" like always-online DRMs, limited numbers of activations and stuff. This will not save apps (especially good and popular apps) from pirates, this will only spoil usage of apps for everyone (including for honest users).

I agree completely that a lot of people pirating an app would have never bought it to begin with. But there is a certain percentage that would if it wasn't being offered for free. Also folks who may not have considered pirating apps may try it if they run across one of those sites.

So pirating sites do affect developers and their bottom line. But regardless of all that, it's still wrong. Stealing is wrong. It doesn't matter if it's something digital or something physical.

I agree with you to some extent. but do you think the average consumer is going to go to these warez sites or just click download when it is right there in their app store? For example I convinced two guys in my lab to buy the Touchpad when it was on the firesale price. both of whom I would call.....cheap....to be blunt. yet if I tell them to get an app and show that it is worth it they just click and download it. now they know I could probably find a free version for them that isnt legal but they never ask for it. instead they just go by the easiest route. granted my n=2 and is anecdotal but I would think that these guys who are not techy and very average users dont pirate. would you think it is the global average user who sees an app in the catalogue and runs to the warez sites?

Also do you think that due to the firesale a whole lot of cheapskates that are more techy and feel a little hackerish waiting for the touchpad to be CM9 booted and use that as their rational for pirating. ie "well I am going load up android as soon as it is fully ported so why should i spend money on webos apps?"

Most people I know who are techy and arent jerks usually buy the apps from the catalogues whether they have a webos, android, windows phone, or iOS device. granted I also know people who will never buy anything ie music/movies/shows/comics/etc. I just wonder if the population that is being addressed here is skewed due to the way things went down.

I don't think most people are pirates. I think it's a relatively small percentage. I think most people who don't want to buy apps just download free apps from the various stores.

Now there's some truth there. I've personally only bought a tiny amount of apps. On two phones less then 4. I like free. My current phone has 111 downloaded (not all installed but most lol). Of those only 1 was paid for. And that's why free pirated apps are bad and so inciting to otherwise lawful people. And i can say for a fact, I've never in my life downloaded an album or movie illegally then went and paid for it in a store or theater. My experiences any argument that piracy is helping the creator is by and large bogus.

That's true.

But let's not forget the other group - the cheap free-riders who rip off when they can get away with it - but otherwise would have paid the 1-5$.

And this is the only relevant group that devs worry about.

Hey Derek,

This is an honest question. There are lots of overseas touchpad users that are locked out of the HP Catalog because they are not on the approved country list. I am one of those since HP don't think that Brazilian VISA cards are good enough for them.

Many of those locked out users will not pirate software and are craving for good software such as your music application.

What can those in that situation do?

For example, in my case, I've been contacting developers of applications that I would like to buy thru their webpage and asking if I can pay for it using PayPal in exchange for an ipk. I am also a developer, so, I don't do pirate software, I also have found software I made in the hands of piracy sites. My reaction was different, I took screen shots and placed them on my wall here thinking: "my first pirated software, it must be good since people are copying it"

As for the being locked out of the catalog problem, some developers understood the case and decided to help, other, did not. In any case, the HP Catalog is broken when we look at it from a global perspective, maybe it is time for a new catalog.

(PS: never tried your app but I hear that is very good.)

Hi, I'm the developer of the app and the author of this article (Derek's the editor of webOS Nation). To answer your question, other folks in your situation have had success in buying apps. Here's one forum thread that discusses this: http://forums.webosnation.com/hp-touchpad-apps/290307-success-bought-app...

It sucks that some folks around the world has to jump through more hoops to get access to paid apps, but according to the discussion in this forum thread, it should be possible.

I have to admit, as an Australian user of webOS from the very early days of the Pre, I used a mix of pirated apps, and some that were supplied directly from the developers, (sometimes for payment, sometimes as a gift) I had no access to the paid app catalog.
I have now an account with the US catalog, and have pretty much purchased all the apps that I had pirated. ( I have no pirated apps on my phone or TP)
1) I always wanted to support the devs but had no way of doing so.
2) God it's SO much easier doing a restore when you have legit content :-)