View Full Version : Copyright Violation Alert-Android App: Authors Beware

10-16-2011, 11:46 PM
I visit Harlan Ellison's site semi-regularly, and on his message board, one person posted the following. Since he gave the "ok" to pass this along, I thought I would.


I've only had time to skim the Pav of late, so my apologies if I have missed anything momentous and failed to comment.

I wanted to stop by and report that there are a lot of books I have found pirated, in media many would not think of: Smartphone app (short for "application," for those without a techie bent) markets.

I have a smartphone which runs on the (Google) Android operating system. The "Android Market," the clearinghouse for all apps which run on Android (some for pay, some for free), also includes e-books.
I did a search on the market for "science fiction," hoping to find interesting apps or wallpapers.

What I DID find was that someone named Marvin Khan had uploaded an app which contained every one of Frank Herbert's Dune books.
Looking further, I saw that Mr. Khan had uploaded several Zelazny books. And Donald E. Westlake. Marion Zimmer Bradley. Heinlein. Dick. And lots more. Many of the 183 books listed were in the public domain--but more than half, I'd say, were most assuredly not.

(At first, I thought that the guy was just reposting works of deceased authors, probably thinking them therefore copyright-free, but then I saw that he had also pirated Philip Pullman's books, as well as many of the bestsellers' list's darlings type, as well--Dan Brown, Stieg Larsson, Dan Brown, et alia.)

Rather than flag every app as inappropriate, piecemeal, I contacted the Android Market staff directly. Making certain to point out that I was not a lawyer, that I represented no one, and that I was merely a person who respected intellectual property, I explained the situation, making certain to reference "Ellison v. Robertson, et al.". They were very cool about it, and promised they would check to make sure the developer had license to distribute those books.

THEN I found MORE idiots doing the same thing, by the simple expedient of searching for any app with "Dune" in its title. Doing so, I found many more pirating developers stealing many of the same books.
(Those developers, by the by, would be "HAYYEON", "lookatme", "lchb139", and "BOYDSTUN", by the way.)
So I contacted Google again, and let them know. The same guy answered, so he knew where I was coming from, and thanked me for maybe saving them from lawsuits from the likes of Charlaine Harris/HBO, the Chicken Soup for the Soul people, James Patterson ...

So. If you're an author and want to be sure you're not being pirated, here's what you do.

Look on the Android Market: https://market.android.com/
DO NOT look under "Books," DO NOT look under your name. Look under "Apps". Search for the titles of your books. (Narrow the filter to "Free" rather than "Paid" apps, while you're at it.)

If you find that your books are being pirated, then go tio the Android Market "Contacting Support" page: http://www.google.com/support/androidmarket/bin/request.py?contact_type=contact_policy

Put your info in, click "Call Me," and they will call the number you provide instantly. Let the staff know the situation, then sit back, secure in having struck a blow for truth justice, and the Pay-the-Writer Way.

(Please pass this on to any authors you think might want to know about it--and those of you who are Apple-centric might want to take a looksee at the App store and iTunes, as well ...)

Katrina S. Forest
10-16-2011, 11:58 PM
Sadly, I'm not surprised that people would do this, but it's disappointing that Android doesn't have a better app approval system. They should've caught these before they went to market. Have you passed this along to Writer Beware?

10-17-2011, 12:06 AM
I've caught (and reported) a few unauthorised ebooks in the iTunes App Store before. I don't think anyone is checking rights on stuff, especially not on Android, which by comparison to Apple is the Wild West.

Alessandra Kelley
10-17-2011, 02:08 AM
Sadly, I'm not surprised that people would do this, but it's disappointing that Android doesn't have a better app approval system. They should've caught these before they went to market. Have you passed this along to Writer Beware?

I have an Android phone and ... well, I just don't download ANY apps. Unlike Apple's rigor, Google does not pre-vet apps for the Android. I guess they figured it was cheaper and easier to let the invisible hand of the marketplace take care of it for them instead. Thus any scummy pirate, hacker, malware-vendor, or incompetent can post an app for the Android.

I think it's dumb. I wouldn't touch an unknown Android app.

Why do I have an android? Because we do software development and need multiple systems to test things. Otherwise it would be iphone forever.