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Developer
UberschallSamsara
Posts: 1,029
Registered: ‎12-29-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10 LE, Dev Alpha C

Public service announcement for pirates and wannabe pirates

[ Edited ]

Speaking only for myself here, not RIM. 

 

Flame on:

 

Just so you know, packaging up somebody else's SWF that you pulled down off of some "file sharing" website and distributing it as your own, perhaps to get a free PlayBook, violates copyright law as well as the terms and conditions of the offer.  

 

Go read the terms and conditions if you haven't already done so:

 

1) You have to have publishing rights to the work (which you do automatically if it is your original work).

 

2) You can't just link to some site (which probably includes pulling in somebody else's SWF at runtime and just playing it).

 

3) RIM can reject at it's discretion submissions that constitute an excessive number of apps in some category.

 

   I don't know how exactly they interpret this but I would guess that if they get multiple submissions from multiple vendors that are the same ripped off SWF, that that would constitute an excessive number of apps in the category.  And there is no way for you to know if some other pirate or wannabe pirate is also ripping off and repackaging the same SWF that you are.

 

   
So in summary, if you're ripping off a SWF and repackaging it, you are wasting everybody's time.

 

You're wasting your time because the submission should get rejected.

 

You're wasting RIM's time because they should be approving legitimate works that enhance their platform and ecosystem (which will attract legitimate developers, who would rather not be involved with platforms that are cesspools of warez.  Not naming names here but then again, I don't really need to.) 

 

You're wasting the time of all the folks who have made legitimate app submissions of original and/or licensed work, and are still waiting on the test house for approval.  

 

And, you're wasting the time of the generous contributors on this forum when you wander in here and your very first post is "I have this SWF but (for some unexplained reason) don't have the source code.  How can I play it?  I DEMAND THAT YOU HELP ME RIGHT NOW!!!" 

 

Flame off.

 

Forum members, suggest that you consider the nature of first time post requests for help here.  Just a suggestion.

 

Developer
JRab
Posts: 2,462
Registered: ‎11-04-2010
My Device: Bold 9700

Re: Public service announcement for pirates and wannabe pirates

ahh. i was wondering what that wink was for in the other post with the Fighter2.swf haha.

 

but i undoubtedly agree, piracy of apps and simply loading up someone else's SWF is just wrong. so that begs the question, how do we know who we're helping though? i guess i should add a little bit of common sense to my tool belt :smileyhappy:

 

and on the note of telling them they are wasting time - i doubt they would care. i mean they are ripping off someone else. if they are willing to cheat to get a playbook, i strongly doubt they'd be taking anyone else's concerns into account. just sad.

 

i just hope that RIM does go into the source code some how and find apps that load someone else's work. dont think they'll catch them all, but at least some wont get away with it.

J. Rab (Blog) (Twitter)
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Developer
UberschallSamsara
Posts: 1,029
Registered: ‎12-29-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10 LE, Dev Alpha C

Re: Public service announcement for pirates and wannabe pirates

Nope, can't catch them all and it's no reason for the forum to not offer help ... but some posts do have a distinct smell.  Or even a dead giveaway, like, say the name of a SWF file that you can google.  :smileywink:

 

I'd be surprised if the app review team hasn't at least once fired up an app and said "hey this looks exactly like some other app submission that came through here a couple days ago".

 

Probably doesn't cost the trolls much to roll the dice with cheating, so it's gonna happen.

 

One good thing about the identity verification for vendors is if they kick you for being a pirate, you're probably kicked for good.

 

Would be great to see a high profile post, say on the dev blog, and other tech blogs where the info would get circulated around to the bottom feeders in the "scene", with a headline like "RIM cancels vendor accounts due to submission of pirated work".  Something the bottom feeders could take back to their nests and share with their compadres.

 

Ya know?  

Developer
UberschallSamsara
Posts: 1,029
Registered: ‎12-29-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10 LE, Dev Alpha C

Re: Public service announcement for pirates and wannabe pirates

 


JRab wrote:

so that begs the question, how do we know who we're helping though? 


Yep it is a judgement call but perhaps a good rule of thumb would be to not spoon feed complete code solutions to first time posters when their post has a funny smell.  Maybe instead, ask them to clarify their problem, or suggest the solution in broader terms.  That should burn off the more scurrilous ones.  Legit folks who are willing to roll up their sleeves will come back and demonstrate that they've actually lifted a finger to learn something.

 

Developer
jtegen
Posts: 6,541
Registered: ‎10-27-2010
My Device: HTC One, PlayBook, LE Z10, DE Q10

Re: Public service announcement for pirates and wannabe pirates

If there is a case where someone is taking someone else work and trying to re-package it under their own name, it seems kind of stupid on their part.  They have to verify with BB their identity in a few different ways.  If BB identifies them infringing a copyright, all they have to do is notify the author of the work and they would be able to legally go after that person very easily.  Lawyers love to go after cases like this.

 

With 3 weeks to build, test, sign and deliver an app, I cant imagine that anything at this point would do too much unless the code already existed in some ActionScript form.

Developer
tags07
Posts: 386
Registered: ‎12-12-2010
My Device: BB Style

Re: Public service announcement for pirates and wannabe pirates

I wonder where do you draw the line in case of Webworks apps... On one hand I wouldn't package CNN's website and call it my app... but I'd think linking against jQuery or other opensource javascript/css within your App should be acceptable as long as the terms of the license are honored.  There is a a wide gray area in between that I have no clue what is RIM's policy.

 

I wonder how much time RIM spends probing and discussing these issues.. wonder if they have tools to do the work. I know there are tools out there such as http://www.blackducksoftware.com/protex that can scan and report matches against other open source software. Hope they have invested in these tools to make their life easier.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Developer
RottenOgre
Posts: 274
Registered: ‎11-01-2010
My Device: PlayBook?

Re: Public service announcement for pirates and wannabe pirates

Wow.

 

Missed the thread that you're referencing but that's low.

 

Reminds of the recent story of some Flash game that was being converted into an iPhone app and they discovered in middle that somebody had already put it up on the app store! Same name, same assets etc.

Developer
taylortbb
Posts: 137
Registered: ‎10-26-2010
My Device: Bold 9900 + PlayBook

Re: Public service announcement for pirates and wannabe pirates

@tags07 I'm sure you're fine with jQuery, it has an open source license. This isn't about people packing open source software and selling it, which is often permitted by the software's license. This is ripping off commercial Flash apps you don't have licenses for. RIM doesn't prohibit open source code.
--------
Taylor Byrnes
Developer
peter9477
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10

Re: Public service announcement for pirates and wannabe pirates

 


tags07 wrote:

I wonder where do you draw the line in case of Webworks apps... On one hand I wouldn't package CNN's website and call it my app... but I'd think linking against jQuery or other opensource javascript/css within your App should be acceptable as long as the terms of the license are honored. There is a a wide gray area in between that I have no clue what is RIM's policy. 


"Packaging" another site is certainly violating copyright, so that one is real simple.  Do it, you'll get sued, you'll lose.

 

Providing access to another site is a different story, but if all your app does is grab content from that site and deliver it to the user, then you may be violating whatever Terms and Conditions (effectively a license agreement) that site provides.  Again, you'll likely get sued, and lose.

 

Including third-party source code is just fine, provided the license agreement for it allows you to.  You absolutely must read and understand the details of any such license agreements, or you expose yourself to lawsuits and/or things like getting banned from App World.  You can always find such licenses easily, so for example googling "jquery license agreement" shows you that it can be used under either the GPL (v2) or MIT licenses.  The MIT one is a so-called "permissive" license which quite clearly lets you use it for just about any purpose without significant restriction.  You can always read background on each license at, for example, Wikipedia or the Open Source Initiative site.

 

It's not actually RIM's job to "police" this, at least not directly.  They have some obligation merely by providing access to the apps, and of course for business reasons they benefit by being fairly "clean" etc, but it's between you and the people whose work you are stealing using whether you'll get in trouble, and it's the courts that would ultimately decide (possibly, for example, by granting someone an injunction against you, and directing RIM to enforce it by, say, removing your app and possibly withholding any income you've made from it, etc).

 


Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!