Have You Noticed The Brown(outs)?

The App Store, purportedly the Ivory Tower of Apple’s Digital Empire, improving its status the most powerful digital provider in the world. Unquestionably they tout financial numbers that put them in something of the 1% of the 1% of the fists of cash holders.

Honestly I love the App Store, with it I’ve bought more software than in any time of my twenty-odd years of computer usage. It’s a winner, that’s a fact. However, being a rose means the thorns are underneath.

While we love their products, their power and influence are inspiring more hacktivities than they have ever attracted. When I was a young Mac Lover we had but one necessary anti-virus. It ran in black and white and was updated once and a while by a concerned university professor. More than was required to protect the OS and its software, in those days.

Now I know I’m not wrong to think that it makes no sense for a company to have more cash than the government that makes it possible. What has caught my interest lately has been my experience with Apple’s famed App Store. Tweeting lately – yes, I do that – I realized I required a URL shortener.

Sounds a lot like a Skyhook, or a Boardstretcher.

A quick search on my iPod Touch turned up 25 results – after which I could preview an additional 25 if I so chose. I wasn’t impressed. I’ve learned to not trust Apps that don’t have ratings, have unlikely company titles like AB Global Marketing and Adult Reasoning for Children of Neglectful Parents. My instincts have steered me away from companies that have since proven to have scant regard for our personal rights – as we see them.

You may not be aware of this, but… we don’t actually have the right of protected personal information. Logically so, because that’s our responsibility. Share your age with your acquaintances at your own peril, for example. Being online presents the same risks, albeit with many greatly varied consequences.

Now this brings me to my point: Apple purports to be the vendor of your product, whether that be a Dating Simulation or a Geocaching App to the Hottest Game. I’ve not sold any Apps through their program, I’m not a capable programmer.

Everyone who has access to these software tools can produce an imitation of your title, and what recourse is their against someone who does this with just a few letters difference? Alright, an example.

Anyone play Canabalt? It was made available for iOS, and lately for Android, apparently. It would appear these talented fellas (and they are fellas) were hired to produce The Hunger Games: Girl on Fire. Splendid. It’s free, looks solid, and isn’t supported by ads. Nice little promotional tool, Lions Gate Films.

An imitator called Hunger Game Survival appeared in related games in the iTunes Store on my iPod. It’s clear that Becky Robbins, the seller, jumped at the chance to make a little associative profit. Interestingly this title doesn’t appear when searching Apple.com – only when searching the App Store via iTunes or your mobile device.

That may be a matter of how the titles are promoted. As mentioned, I’m not an App Developer, and I’m not familiar with Apple’s promotional terms.

Ultimately this is one example of thousands of original apps that have play-alike apps that parade unrestricted by Apple. Angry Birds has many imitators – as another example. No assurances seem to have been made about protecting publisher rights.

Taking the chance of policing publisher titles, many of which have been denied for obscure reasons, at the release of the iTunes store meant being responsible for any infringements. This could have hurt their sales figures and put the App Store at a disadvantage against its competitors. Isn’t it unlike Apple have so little control?

Apple has a history of doing whatever it dang well pleases, and I don’t see that changing. Now that they’ve got the biggest piece of the pie, who’s going to call them to accounts? Copyrights and Freedom of Speech are presently The War Online.

Why are we losing? Do we know why? Do we even care?

A few questions for another time.

hastypixels
hastypixels

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