Awhile back, my wife and I decided it would be a great idea to develop an iPhone and iPod touch game. We’d read a few articles and thought we could certainly use an extra $250,000 So, in our spare time, we developed Whack ‘em All. Whack ‘em All is based on Whack a Mole and is a fun little game available for 99 cents on the iTunes App Store. We spent about 250 hours developing the game and released it to the world on Christmas Eve last year.
How has it done? After two full weeks for sale, we have 811 users. Not bad right? Well, only 196 of them paid for it On January 1st, our app hit http://appulo.us and other assorted pirate and torrent sites. Turns out the pirating community for iPhone is very much alive and well.
Who are these pirates? How do they do it? Read on!
What follows is my conversation with the pirate/cracker/developer who cracked our game and made it available for free. Enjoy!
From: myself (email@example.com)
I’m the developer for Whack ‘em All I noticed you’re being given credit for cracking Whack ‘em All and making it generally available for free.
We (just my wife and I) haven’t even made enough money off of this to pay for the iPhone we had to buy to develop it on Just yesterday 40 times more people got your version of the app than bought it off the app store!
I’ve asked some of the sites if they would be willing to take your version of the app offline so that we can make enough money on the app to cover our costs.
I’m curious though why you’re doing this? Would it help if our game were free and we had banner ads?
As many iPhone and iPod touch owners have discovered, Apple’s iTunes App Store has many flaws which render it useless to the common user. Apple has chosen to allow a multitude of ridiculous, worthless, poorly-represented applications through its “strict” screening process, nearly all written by mediocre programmers with a dream of getting rich quick. Many of these programmers game the reviews system, misrepresent their application in the description, and generally try to swindle the honest buyer. Applications generally do not cost much, but small fees add up. The iPhone/iPod community has wasted so much money on these programs, an epidemic has taken hold where people have simply stopped buying apps they aren’t certain of so they don’t find themselves purchasing yet another waste of a program.
Apple could quite easily solve this problem by implementing a sort of trial period for each application, but they do not. The user is forced to buy blindly without ever getting to try the application first. Appulo.us is a collection of links to allow iPhone and iPod touch users the ability to try out full, unlimited versions of device software before making the decision to buy it.
You cannot accuse me for those 40 people because all of them would have NOT purchased your application anyway. And as said above i only want to give public the change to try out your game before spending their money. I at first did not crack any games but after i purchased a few games which were not as good as the description let me believe i wanted to help others not to waste their money on something which even has no return policy. To solve this problem either talk to Apple to allow trials or as you said, you can release your game on Cydia with ads.
I appreciate the response! I’m happy about all the exposure the cracked copy of the game is generating for us. Hopefully that will translate into enough earnings for us to be able to develop another game Pirating is a fact of life these days and I appreciate that if it wasn’t you it would have been someone else
A couple of quick questions would really help me understand more about this and hopefully improve the quality of games and apps on the app store:
Could you point me to some resources to be able to understand how you cracked the game? I’d love to understand more about it!
Do you crack just any app (like from a list someone gives you), or do you only crack apps that you’d like to play?
I’m thinking about publishing a story about this on my blog. If there is anything you would like the public at large to know, let me know and I’ll pass it on
Thousands and thousands of new people saw your app on Appulous so i hope that got your app more publicity. When i crack an app, any app, i do not do it to hurt developers. Without you we wouldn’t even have our community =) I do this so people would know is an app worth their money.
Now before i answer your questions i’d like to know where did you get my email if not from Hackulous? Because im sure you have heard of Hackulous and therefore visited it so you should know these already… But anyway
I use Crackulous. It is an “one-tap” cracking software developed by Hackulous but only available for Beta testers and Staff. (No, you cannot become a beta tester But if you check our Tutorials section you’ll find a guide “Cracking Apps With xCrack”. xCrack is version 0.1 of Crackulous which has now been developed to version 0.9b. We are planning on releasing Crackulous to the public when it hits 1.0 but i cannot give any date for it.
At first i cracked the ones i had on my iPhone but i didn’t have many so i looked our Requests section to see which apps are wanted and cracked 30 of them. But i never even liked the idea of being a cracker so i cracked total of 35 apps and now i’ve “retired” From 35 apps i got just about 3-4 thanks… (You can find most_uniQue’s Cracked Apps from our Releases section)
So in the future i’m only going to continue being a moderator on Hackulous and helping others with their problems because that’s what i like to do and that’s why i joined Hackulous in the first place.
And i don’t know but is it allowed to release your games on e.g. Cydia with ads? Because that would be a huge benefit for you.
Visit Hackulous and take a look around: http://hackulo.us/ And why not to introduce yourself to the community at our Introductions section.
PS: You can add me as your friend at hackulous if you want
Thanks for the tips on Crackulous! I’ll have to check that out. We’ll be looking into a free version with ads soon, I would assume the ads would still work even with Cydia, we’ll find out! I’m going to post this on my blog today, so perhaps you’ll get some props there
Cracking an app so people will later buy it is a total load of crap. That’s the same BS people give for stealing music. No one rebuys stuff they got for free.
This guy is trying to portray himself as some kind of App Store savior (helping out the people who can clearly afford a $300 iPhone save $1), he’s just some smart ass jerk stealing money from developers.
Developers (like me) do thousands of free open source things and contribute a ton of knowledge to the Web. Who the hell does this asshole think he is trying to steal money from a community who contributes more to their industry than any other?
@Tim: With all due respect, I think your stance may be a little nearsighted. There is absolute evidence both statistically and through personal admission that many people involved in the cracking scene do, in fact, purchase apps they enjoy. And if they’re not doing it pointedly to support the app’s developer, they do it for instant and automatic updates to the app.
The argument that someone who spent $300 for a phone can afford a $1 app is one I find as frustrating as it is flawed. The argument assumes that all iPhone owners both bought the device themselves, and were wealthy enough to not have to budget the purchase. The grand majority of the demographic involved in the cracking community are high-school-aged students — people who either got the device as a gift and don’t have a bank or credit card to link to an iTunes account, or who worked relentlessly at minimum-wage jobs to earn the money necessary to purchase it. On a more personal level, I’m a small time developer on a very low budget, and I started saving for the $600 phone shortly after its announcement. If everyone who owned an iPhone were as wealthy as this argument would have us believe, there wouldn’t be talk of a recession in the US.
Furthermore, you’re balking at these people for saying they can’t afford a $1 app — and partly, you’re correct. $1 is certainly affordable. That is, if there’s only one app to try. In all actuality, there are six digits worth of apps on the app store, and if everyone tried out every app they were interested in, those costs would add up to quite literally hundreds of dollars. The fact of the matter is that app screenshots and descriptions and reviews are often highly misrepresented to the point where one can’t trust an app’s quality based on these things. There’s a limit to how much money a person will spend on disappointing app after disappointing app before giving up entirely, and that’s what we’re facing in this little niche industry. People need to know they won’t be wasting yet another “just $1″ on an app they’re going to delete 10 minutes later. $1 is not affordable when you go through 20 other one-dollar apps to find that single good one.
It’s my experience that people very rarely set out with the intention of being “assholes” or “jerks”. They have their reasons for what they do, and more success is gained from addressing the reasons than from directly attacking the people with name-calling and the like. From one open-source developer to another, you might find yourself more influential in your opinions if you don’t seek to insult the people you’d like to change.
It just really burns me since developers do so much work for the community for free just to get ripped off when they actually try to make some non-ad revenue.
And yes, if you can afford the iPhone + the hefty monthly bill they attach to it, you can afford $1 to support an app. Maybe people should control their own App purchases rather than steal them if they’re worried about those $1 purchase adding up.
“Maybe people should control their own App purchases”
Didn’t Kyek just tell you: “The fact of the matter is that app screenshots and descriptions and reviews are often highly misrepresented to the point where one can’t trust an app’s quality based on these things.”
So if you want to get the best app you are bound to buy some unwanted application which will quickly add up to a lot of $$.
I can’t talk about the App store, ‘cos I don’t have an iPhone nor an iPod touch, but I can talk about music: just today I bought five CDs that I already had in downloaded mp3s because I liked them enough to.
Can’t be too careful with my wages. I don’t want to waste them on CDs I might not like.
Well, I’m not a developper but I’m an avid user of piracy I’m afraid. I haven’t bought my iPhone yet, but I’m planning to buy it very soon.
I pirate (softeare,movies,music, etc) because of 2 main reasons: (very) poor content quality and because, as a student, I can’t afford to. The purchase of an iPhone will eat a large pie of my money, so there goes that belief that people who buy an iPhone can easily afford to buy 1$+ apps.
I appreciate the work of the developers, more so such as you as a freelancer and not a company, and I plan to buy the software I think it’s worth my money.
In the particular case of the App Store, I find it idiotic that there is no trial period because I don’t want to blindly pay for something probably not worth my money. I believe that if the App Store had a trial period, the piracy problem would plummet.
I agree that a trial period would be a great addition to most apps. I can’t remember the name of the one I downloaded about a month ago, but it was a free trial version. I didn’t like it, so I didn’t buy the full version, but I think it was a $5 app. Developing a trial version of a $1 app may not be as economical (I don’t know what goes into developing 2 versions). Maybe Apple could put a timestamp on the free version of the app so you can have it for 3 days or something. I dunno. It’s not right to flatout steal these apps from hardworking developers though.
January 5th, 2009 at 4:12 pm
“It’s not right to flatout steal these apps from hardworking developers though.”
That I can definitely agree with. It just seems like it would be so simple for Apple to implement such a trial system, but instead of the little bit of development that would take, they’re spending thousands for their law firm to try to get sites like appulo.us shut down. It just seems like there’s a better solution to the problem.
The other issue on the table is that there are a multitude of regions where people can get iPod or iPhones, but CAN’T get into the iTunes Store (even for the FREE apps!) because it’s not available there. All this does is drives more people to piracy. I understand why Apple contractually can’t allow certain regions to buy third-party media like music or videos, but they are in full control of the Applications branch. Another seemingly easy change for them to make would be to allow App Store access to all regions while limiting access to the rest of the iTunes store.
I’m obviously not a coder inside Apple, but it seems like neither of these changes would be costly or time-consuming. And if they took place, there’d be little need for the piracy scene.
January 5th, 2009 at 5:21 pm
When you take the pro-hacker arguments and apply them to other consumer areas, it becomes clear how ridiculous those arguments are. Here are some sample quotes that are analogous to the arguments made above:
“I stole a scarf yesterday. It’s not for selfish reasons; in fact, I think it will actually help the manufacturer. I think that if I wear my stolen scarf then others will see it and surely want to buy it.”
“There are so many great cookies in the local bakery, and I just can’t afford to pay a dollar for every one. There is no way to know in advance whether or not I will like a cookie before purchasing it, so I am going to steal them (and the recipes) and make them available for free to all my friends.”
“I think that bookstores should offer a free trial period for all their books so I can tell whether I will like them before purchasing. Since they don’t, I’m going to break into the local Mom-and-Pop bookstore and steal the books, then scan them and post them on the Internet for everyone to read. Surely people will purchase the books after they have seen how great they are!”
@fairlady: This is not nearly the same. Yes, in many cases “I want to try before I buy” argument might be pure bollocks, but mind you there’s a huge gap between tangible aspects of “real world” applications you describe and the virtual world of software. There are at least 3-4 apps I have purchased on AppStore that I have stopped using days after buying. Some of them are $1 apps, some were more expensive. I have no way of refunding my purchase and I had no way of test-driving any of these apps.
Unlike with a nice woolen scarf that I could (a) try in a shop, see if it looks well on me or even (b) return to the store a few days after if I realized I do not like it. And bookstores — you know very well how easy it is to try a book in a shop, even to the point of reading it in full!
January 5th, 2009 at 6:55 pm
@fairlady: Respectfully,each of your analogies are fundamentally flawed.
If I steal a scarf from a store, I am depriving them of that scarf so that they can no longer sell it. However, if I get a duplicate of the scarf and it catches others’ attention and they buy it, the store has gotten more sales than it would have if I did not duplicate the scarf.
The cookie analogy has many flaws, but I’ll point out just a few. Again, taking cookies is depriving the store of an item they could have sold. The bakery is the sole maker of the cookies and so it stands to reason that the quality of each cookie is equal. Therefore, judgments of whether or not you’d like a cookie can be made from the description. Many bakeries DO provide free samples for those not familiar with their food. And what does recipes have to do with anything?
Book stores allow you to sit and read books before purchase. Even online book stores are now offering the first handful of chapters of each book online, for free. Barnes & Noble doesn’t have a contract with book suppliers that legally allows them to condone reading of the book before purchase — they just do it. If you really wanted to, you could go through an entire book there. They count on people’s morals to get them to buy the book if they like it. So actually, this is probably your most accurate representation of the iPhone app cracking scene. Not even bookstores expect you to buy something that you don’t have a chance to check out first.
Eric TF Bat:
January 5th, 2009 at 7:04 pm
@fairlady: what actually happens when you apply the arguments to other areas is this: it shows that the analogy is flawed. If I steal a scarf from a store, the scarf no longer exists to be bought by anyone else. That’s clearly and obviously a different situation from software: when I steal software, the software still exists. I’m stealing a pattern of information, not a collection of molecules. The analogy is broken, and therefore worthless.
Try this instead: you run a scarf shop. I have a digital camera. I take a photo of your newest design and use a clever computerised knitting machine to produce exact copies of your scarf, which I then give away. What proportion of the people who accept my free copies would have bought your “real” version? What proportion of those will realise that they’d much rather be seen in a genuine FairladyCorp Scarf rather than a cheap knock-off, and will therefore buy it once they realise how good it is?
If you think the numbers are still not in your favour, factor in the dozens of other scarf shops that claim to sell good scarfs but actually sell cheap, nasty nylon ones that don’t keep you warm and smell of burning plastic. The scarf industry is being devalued by all these nylon nasties, but the National Bureau of Scarf Regulation refuses to police the problem and the nasty companies won’t give you a refund after they’ve tricked you into buying their stuff.
Now how do you feel about my try-before-you-maybe-buy scheme?
January 5th, 2009 at 7:06 pm
Ah, but you can’t take the same argument for anything of substance fairlady, software is intangible, you can use it thus:
“I watched George Carlin, he told a great joke about airport security, I myself cannot come up with anything like that so I’ll ‘borrow’ his.”
“Say, this algorithm will work great for my search query, they want some money but I’m just using it for myself so it’s ok.”
[...] daceptikon wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptApple could quite easily solve this problem by implementing a sort of trial period for each application, but they do not. The user is forced to buy blindly without ever getting to try the application first. Appulo.us is a collection of … [...]
Note: for those of you who may not have made the connection, I am the graphic designer / developer on the Whack ‘em All project, and co-owner of Fairlady Media, which created the game.
Thanks to all of you for your thought-provoking responses to my post. I’d like to address a few of the points that have been made:
@ceesaxp, who said there is no way of test-driving an app… Not only are we charging the lowest possible amount (aside from free), we also provide a detailed feature list, screen shots, a demo video, and a support email address (just in case someone is not satisfied with the product). At this point, Apple does not have a mechanism for us to create a time-limited trial version of the software (to the best of my knowledge). We’re doing our best to provide upfront information so that people get their dollar’s worth.
@Kyek, who said “And what does recipes have to do with anything?”… The analogy was meant to point out that software contains original intellectual property, just like an original recipe does.
@Eric TF Bat, who said “The analogy is broken, and therefore worthless.”… I’ve taken enough Philosophy courses to know that isn’t true. Just because a part of an analogy does not fit perfectly, does not mean that lessons cannot be learned from other parts. The part of the analogy that still fits is this: stealing software (and other intellectual property) is illegal, just like stealing scarves.
@Randin, who said that software is intangible… It does seem that way to some people, I guess. My role in the Whack ‘em All project was graphic designer / illustrator. Each critter was created in my imagination and then drawn pixel-by-pixel, from their whiskers to their ears. They are mine, and I deserve credit for having created them, just like Einstein deserves credit for his Theory of Relativity.
January 5th, 2009 at 8:46 pm
The main problem you’re running into with that logic is that it’s not “stealing”. It’s copyright infringement. The term “stealing” is an emotionally charged buzzword put into use by the MPAA/RIAA. Duplicating software is in no way, shape, or form “stealing”. You are copying something, not stealing it. Therefore, you cannot apply the same analogy to shoplifting. There literally is no exception to this logic.
Also, while you may be one of the few app creators that are honest, you can’t expect people to know that going into a world of misinformation and lies. It seems like you’re expecting people to trust you, when in a world of lies and half-truths, trust is earned.
@fairlady: It’s a difficult issue. Yes, Einstein deserves credit, but he doesn’t charge you every time you apply his equations.
The problem here is that we finally found a way to take ideas and make them not only perfectly reproducible, but also come alive.
The crux? The cost of making them come alive (development) is high, while marginal cost (cost of one more copy) is literally zero. So clearly, you need compensation for your efforts – we can’t live on love alone. Also clearly, from the consumer side, it looks like you’re charging something (the purchase price) for nothing (the marginal cost)
It’s an issue we’re not going to solve legally – once we introduced digital copying, the demon was out of the bottle.
The only way to solve this is coming up with a way to finance development that takes into account that the cost of copying is zero, and copying will happen.
Now before you think I’m supporting the “pirates” side – I’m not. I make my living as a game developer, so this is an issue that’s near and dear to my heart. I’d like to keep my job as much as the next person. But that doesn’t mean that I’ll just ignore reality – we need to find a different modus operandi. A closed platform (like the iPhone) is actually one of the better environments – the state of piracy on the PC is scary compared to that.
January 5th, 2009 at 9:25 pm
Oh, shucks, I forgot to put a bunch of smilies in my post, too!
It angers me to hear that people think that cracking the applications so that users don’t have to pay for them is somehow legitimized by the flaws in Apple’s system. It’s not. Cracking the applications is just one response out of many to the problem, and those who make the choice to respond by making the software available to people who don’t pay are doing something that is morally questionable – nobody is forcing them to do it.
To cast the crackers as some how ‘good guys’ and Apple as somehow ‘bad guys’ is intellectually dishonest. Without Apple there would be no iPhone which obviously the people here like otherwise they wouldn’t care. The App store, flawed as it is, permits numerous independent software developers to make a living producing software which once again, people obviously like otherwise they wouldn’t care enough to crack. What Apple provides is well known, and nobody is compelled to buy it, and there is competition too in the form of Android, so it’s absurd to cast anybody as victims who need saving in this story.
Having said all that…
I cannot fault the argument that the App store is flawed in exactly the ways that people are claiming here. I am (currently at least) personally able to afford the applications I want, and have bought a significant number. Some of them cheap, and some of them as much as $20. I’ve probably spent more than $100 on iphone apps to date. I work in technology and have considered myself an early adopter for decades and am generally prepared to try things that don’t work out just for the experience.
Only a small number of the Apps I’ve paid for actually deliver any value to me. Most of them were just not useful enough for one reason or another. In the end, I only actually use 7 of the apps on a regular basis, and 4 of them are games. The others, though slick looking and good ideas, just didn’t really work in practice.
The biggest problem is that I am now reluctant to try some of the apps that interest me, particularly ones that cost more than one or two dollars. This is sad because I would like to pay more for fewer higher quality applications, and the lack of an opportunity to try them first is preventing me from trying them. I have numerous desktop apps that I tried and then bought because I was actually still using them when the 30 day trial period expired. I have to agree that the current model is not encouraging people to buy more expensive apps.
But in the end…
Cracking the apps and making them available for free is not a solution to the problem. Some people may well buy the apps they get for free, but many will not. Are you seriously going to argue that everyone who would have paid if they had to will pay if they don’t have to?
The trend in ISVs for the Mac has been to provide a trial period, but then to enforce payment at the end. Many of them have written to say that voluntary payments didn’t work for them. So cracking the software solves the trial problem but at the expense of the payment side of the equation.
Cracking the apps adds something that Apple missed (try-before-you-buy), but at the expense of taking away an important thing that Apple provided (people who actually use the app have to pay). It doesn’t make things better. Let’s also stop pretending that it’s somehow not illegal. What other laws do the crackers think are legitimate to break, and why?
I sincerely hope that Apple does enhance the App store to allow trials. I think people here are right that this would improve App quality. I also sincerely hope that the crackers don’t harm the livelyhoods of the independent makers who would otherwise produce those high quality Apps, otherwise we’ll only have apps made by huge corporations who can spend a lot on marketing, and a another thousand fart apps that take no effort to build.
Oh yeah – and if Appulo.us is somehow about providing missing try-before-you-buy functionality, why are the excellent Instapaper Pro, and Labyrinth, applications in there?
Both of these have trial versions in the app store which I was able to use before buying the real thing, and both of them are amongst the 7 apps I actually value.
January 5th, 2009 at 10:11 pm
@Robin: You are absolutely correct, and that’s something that’s come into debate many times. However, what won it out is that if we removed those apps, people living in regions without iTunes Store access would be completely out of luck. It’s a sad state of affairs, but that’s why I mentioned that both of these issues must be solved (comment #10) in order for the piracy scene to die down.
January 5th, 2009 at 10:17 pm
Considering that all paths lead to the free software movement, my advice is to release a copy of your program on another platform and without ads. You can still try to sell the program wherever you distribute it and even leave it up on the iPhone store, assuming some portion of the core of it is easily portable.
Well as I point out in my long posting above – I agree that the app store policy is retarding the development of higher quality apps – and that there are customers who have been harmed because they’ve wasted money on apps that don’t live up to their expectations because they don’t work as well as is claimed. That seems to me to be a legitimate grievance even though I don’t think the cracking solution is valid – we can agree to disagree on that one.
However, what is the harm done to those in regions where the app store is not available? They know it’s not available before they buy the phone. Nobody is buying anything that doesn’t live up to expectations, and so nobody is being harmed.
How do you justify depriving Marco Arment (author of Instapaper Pro) of revenue when nobody has been harmed by his application?
Out of interest, has publishing this helped boost your sales, or have even more people downloaded the pirate copy?
January 6th, 2009 at 8:32 am
I’m curious about something regarding the number of users you’ve seen pirating the game. Of the approximately 600 people that pirated the game, can you get some idea of how much they’re playing it versus those that paid for it legitimately? I’ve always wondered how the “I’m only pirating it because there’s no demo” argument holds up in terms of how much time the pirates spend playing a game versus legitimate customers.
Since you’re tracking high scores I figured there would have to be some way of looking at their scores and determining how often and for how long the average players are playing.
As of this morning, our daily sales are up by 1 from 13 to 14 We had 20 pirated users, down from 72 the day before. So – I would say this may have helped sales, but certainly not dramatically. This is however a great resource for Apple, other iPhone developers and folks out there on either side of this great debate on piracy. A big thanks to everyone who has contributed so far! Please Digg the article and Up Vote it on Reddit.
Great question ThomW. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to discriminate between a paid user and a pirated one in the current version of the game (and the associated reporting). The usage appears to be equivalent though. That is, folks that didn’t pay anything for the game appear to be playing it as frequently as for as long as folks that paid for it. Therefor, I would expect some of the folks who didn’t pay for it to become paying customers if the arguments above hold up. Should be interesting!
AFAIK, an iPhone costs $1K in Russia and the iTunes store is NOT available.
AFAIK, the ratio of iPhones “legally” sold to Russia to those unlocked and “smuggled” is 1:1, something like 100,000 of both.
AFAIK, now iPhone sales in Russia are around zero. Too late, too expensive, too inconvenient.
So, here are 200,000 potential pirates.
January 6th, 2009 at 11:16 am
I almost always use cracked software before I buy it, this is manly because most trail software disable certain functions or have 30 day trail periode if demo software have 30 day of use trail, I almost never use a stollen serial or crack. I use some software that I didn’t pay for, mostly because it is to expansive or I rarely use it (if use it more often I will buy it). for a lot of apps or movie it is for me like free peanuts at a bar, if it is there I wil eat it, if not, I will not buy it. moste of my music I buy , simply because emusic is asking a fair price for there service.
January 6th, 2009 at 11:48 am
Seriously lad, until you’ve grown up and gotten over your ego complex of craving recognition (perhaps try publishing on iTunes yourself), you might as well just shut your trap because you sound naive and not nearly as smart as you think you are. Please don’t confuse whit with wisdom, very careless… The debate you make for warez has so many holes, it leaks all attempts at holding water. You’re just another one of those cowards who is too afraid to publish his own creation to the public, so he rips other people off and attempts a state of glory in the limelight. Period.
Stop being such a sheltered, scared little bitch and you’ll find stealing form others to be a lot less satisfactory. You’re chewing on scum in a lonely corner of the internet, there’s nothing elite about it. Your sense of entitlement is laughable. I wish you had the courage to promote your cause transparently and not hide behind your mum’s monitor. It’s humorous, really.
to be perfectly honest, I thought the thread was going quite well until I read that. This is not a place where flaming is appreciated, especially when handling a delicate, multi-leveled subject such as this one. There is also no need for personal insults, just because you disagree with something or cannot find a counter argument.
January 6th, 2009 at 12:13 pm
You guys are no better than shoplifters. It’s just (for the moment) easier for you to steal. Imagine explaining to a shopkeeper that that candy bar is too new for you to know if it is worth buying. So not only do you steal one, you steal twenty and distribute them to strangers. THen you ask for donations! Ridiculous!
January 6th, 2009 at 12:25 pm
There’s nothing civilized or delicate about it. I know the scene… it’s misplaced entitlement, greed, and fear. A bunch of self-righteous, shallow, scared misfits at best.
TIM – I also emailed this to you, but thought I would share:
“Cracking an app so people will later buy it is a total load of crap. That’s the same BS people give for stealing music. No one rebuys stuff they got for free.”
That just isn’t true. If people hadn’t given me songs off of CDs from people I had never heard of I would have never bought the CDs in the first place. Just last week I was given 3 songs off of a new album, and I liked them so much I purchased the whole album from the iTunes store. And the same is with movies. I downloaded the first have of a pirated movie that I had never heard of (but had heard of the actor in it). It was awesome, so I downloaded the second half. It was such a good movie I ordered the DVD from amazon the same day. I have also purchased a lot of shareware AFTER using the pirated copy. Bottom line is, if something is good enough, people will pay. I know many people that share the same views as me. So, don’t generalize and don’t be an idiot (usually done by generalizing). Just mellow out and know that maybe, he is right and you need to look at things from another perspective. Have a great day.
January 6th, 2009 at 12:33 pm
I must apologize however, I mistakenly thought @kyek was @most_uniQue. My apologies for misplaced anger.
January 6th, 2009 at 12:38 pm
@Kyek: Where is this “absolute evidence” that pirates buy apps they enjoy? All evidence I’ve seen, which has been gathered by tracking the app usage details of pirates (yes, devs can do this), has shows the exact opposite: Pirates do not pay for the apps no matter what, even if they’ve been heavy users for a while and you stop the app from working unless they pay for it.
January 6th, 2009 at 1:46 pm
Music piracy and software piracy are not equivalent. If someone gives you a mix tape with 15 different artists you can still be motivated to buy entire albums from those one-song samples.
No such equivalent works for applications where they are regularly shared as a whole.
Your best bet is to plan a game as a series of multiple releases spread over time (such as the current strong bad series). Instead of one $5 game release five $1 games, spaced apart in time. Perhaps the people that pirate 1 & 2 will buy the last 3, netting you some money. Also, Apple should provide a system so that games with an online component can authorize only those people that have paid for the app.
Snate: Your last point about Apple providing a system so that games can distinguish paid users is fantastic The folks at Hackulous are providing me with tips on that as well with the intention of defaulting to a demo for pirated copies of the game. If I get anywhere with that, I’ll post about it
January 6th, 2009 at 2:54 pm
I’m a pirate. I download cracked software, ripped dvd’s and cammed movies.. why? Because for too long I’ve been ripped off by false advertising, sham reviews, and cruddy software/movies/etc – I *do* buy the stuff I like, and delete the stuff I don’t, so in many ways I’m a good customer.. but only a good customer to the good retailers/producers/developers.
How many times have you bought an overpriced CD because you liked a single song only to find that the entire album (other than that song) sucked? I don’t buy music from the Apple store because $.99 a song is a complete ripoff – the cost of an song has always been broken down as a fraction of the physical album’s cost, which is total fallacy.
Downloaded music should be AT MOST $.25 a song, considering the record company doesn’t have to press CD’s, package them, or ship them to distributors. If you want $.99 a song, it’d better be coming with some extra album art or commentary or something.
A prime example of try it then buy it for me was Gnarls Barkley’s album – I downloaded it first, and when I realized that I’d been listening to it for three days straight, went out and bought the LP – I already had a digital version, so the record is just for display and my collection. Same goes for the most recent Death Cab for Cutie.
Once artists wise up and realize that they no longer need the RIAA and major labels, then start pushing their music out on the ‘net for a moderate sum, they’ll do a lot better, and the music quality will go up because people will only buy what they truly like.
If your game got pirated, and people are playing it, that means that there’s something there to like – the question is whether it’s good enough to pull the money out of their pockets.
@ThomW – With regards to WoG, I pirated it. It’s such an engaging game, I’m planning on buying it via Steam once I get paid this Friday, so add that to your tally I also pirated Peggle, which I burned through in a day and deleted because it has no replay value.
Remember, locks (and DRM/activation codes/etc) are for honest people. If someone wants in badly enough, they will get in. The best thing you can do is embrace it, and try adding a reminder to the app like with MiRC – just a friendly reminder that real people made the app and that they’d like to eat, too.
January 6th, 2009 at 3:37 pm
@Pirate: Every pirate says the exact same thing. However, none of the real data available supports what they say. Instead, all the data available says the same thing: Pirates do not buy legal copies of the stuff they pirate, even if they like it.
Also, just because you think $.99 is too much for a song it doesn’t give you the right to pirate it, you have the right to not buy it. If you buy a CD and think it sucks that’s something you need to take up with the seller, again it does not give you the right to pirate stuff.
I have a lot more respect for pirates who admit upfront that they’re pirating because they don’t want to pay, rather than pirates who desperately try to justify their actions with ridiculous excuses. I have an app in the App Store and I’ve just accepted that there are cheap people who will cheat when they get a chance – they won’t pay no matter what so there’s no point worrying about them.
Also, just because you think $.99 is too much for a song it doesn’t give you the right to pirate it, you have the right to not buy it.
Yes, but to most people, it doesn’t “feel” like stealing. Ultimately, they’re not taking something, they’re copying something. (In their minds)
And if something seems nonsensical enough to a large enough number of people, laws are going to be ignored. (Speeding laws, anyone?
So what can we as developers do?
The obvious one: Heap on more DRM.
Not sure that is a solution. While I am a developer, as a customer I find DRM so hamfisted that it’s completely unacceptable. There are certain (perceived) rights I as a customer have. One is to do as I see fit with the things I own. Play it on any device that can play it, transfer it to a different location, etc. Current DRM miserably fails.
So what alternatives do we have? Punishing the ones who don’t pay us doesn’t seem to work too well. Can we instead reward the ones that do buy from us?
Online/Episodic content is one way to achieve that. I.e. don’t sell the content, give away the viewer and sell the access to the content and computational services on the server side.
Seems to work quite well for WoW/EverQuest/Eve and all the other MMORPGs out there.
Where I’m stuck is the question how that translates to the typical stand-alone game.
January 6th, 2009 at 6:34 pm
@Robert ‘Groby’ Blum: DRM is fundamentally not a solution since any form of DRM can, by definition, be cracked. I think the Apple model for App Store is just about right: To run cracked copies you need to jailbreak your device, while purchasing legitimate copies is extremely easy. This way you’re not losing any paying customers (as research has shown) since the people who jailbreak and run cracked apps won’t pay anyway.
The major problem is with apps that require significant server side investment (bandwidth, computing power) which the cracked apps are using without compensating the developer. That, by the way, is theft in the same sense stealing a car is theft: The resources that the pirates are using are away from legitimate users and that the developer must pay to replace.
[...] jrtb » A conversation with an iPhone pirate (tags: apple development iphone piracy) [...]
January 7th, 2009 at 2:45 am
You can’t get the IMEI, but you can get another unique identifier. The problem is that there’s no way to tie that to a valid purchase. You would also need to track the usage somehow since the crackers could include a valid identifier in the cracker app and send that instead of the real one.
January 7th, 2009 at 1:33 pm
James, smart move to engage the pirate with that tone. I would have said “Dude, quit stealing my stuff!” and that would have been the end of it. Much more interesting this way.
@Everyone suggesting this is a farce and that pirates don’t buy apps:
I agree with you, but please understand this wasn’t my argument. I think I hashed this out a bit more in my reply to James’ previous blog post, but to summarize here, I know the grand majority of pirates aren’t going to pay for what they’ve already gotten for free. I have absolutely no delusions that the entire piracy collective will reform and suddenly all purchase apps after they’ve been fairly tested. That would never happen and no one familiar with our community would ever claim that.
What I’m saying is that the iPhone app story piracy scene is unique. Of course you have your run-of-the-mill pirates who just won’t pay for anything and are there to get apps for free, and nothing will ever change that. But we’re ALSO host to the more honest crowd who have no problem paying for good apps, but don’t want to go broke trying to find those good apps. It’s a legitimate problem with the app store business model completely outside of piracy, and currently these “cracked” apps are the only universal solution. No, it’s absolutely not the best solution, but currently it’s the only one available. I truly hope Apple changes that.
There are so many here who say “well then people just shouldn’t get apps at all if that’s what it comes to” or “people in countries where iTunes isn’t available knew that going in, and have no excuse”. Is pirating apps “right”? Of course not. But let’s be realists. Especially in a time when money is tight for everyone, give an honest man the option of trying something before he buys it and he’s going to do it. It’s human nature. If an honest man in a foreign country really wants an app that he’s not being allowed to pay for, he’ll probably take it rather than going without.
And so, reiterating my point to make sure I’m perfectly clear, piracy is going to exist for all forms of digital media, no matter what you do. I’m not claiming every iPhone pirate is miraculously willing to pay for software. But what makes this different from music piracy or other forms of software piracy is that there IS a group of honest people perfectly willing to pay for the apps involved in it, and they’re there because it’s the safest and most financially-sound option available to them, rather than wasting their money over and over again on misrepresented programs they end up deleting not even a day later. And if you need proof of these people existing, there are many first-hand accounts on forums like hackulo.us, and many lengthy discussions about the problems with the app store. Most recently, a pirate there made a thread asking if the text on http://appulo.us/appdb/?page=about was just for show, and was greeted with a flurry of people who affirmed — in our closed community and not for some PR scheme — that they agree with it wholeheartedly and purchase the apps they plan to keep. After all, if all we wanted was totally free apps, why would members of the community be actively helping James find ways to protect and monetize his app in the piracy scene?
Money is made by accommodating people’s needs, not by waving sticks at them and telling them what horrible human beings they are. We make no excuse for the pirates who would be doing what they do regardless. What we’re sharing is why the otherwise honest people are involved.
January 8th, 2009 at 2:37 am
I will never again waste money on something I haven’t fully tried before I buy it. It’s kind of like marrying someone before you’ve had sex with them…whooops! Where have we heard that argument before?
Maybe there’s a religious argument in there and why we’re all drawn to “try before you buy”. Human nature?
January 8th, 2009 at 3:51 am
This post is collecting information instead of solving situation
A story of the animals, the birds, and bats
Some very interesting ideas by all the commentators here. I have been in technology industry for 30 odd years and have heard many of these arguments ad nauseum. But it amazes me that seemingly intelligent people cannot differentiate simple concepts. I think similar “intelligent people” are running the financial systems of the world. I think we can see where that’s heading….
I mean, come on guys, the constant comparison of software / music / video piracy with real world goods that are made and sold is ridiculous. If a pirate downloads music / video or software that he/she aint gonna buy anyways, nobody has lost anything. Thieving scarfs or real CD’s, DVD’s etc. causes a real world loss to retailers.
I have literally paid hundreds of thousands of £££’s over the years for software that is total garbage. Totally unfit for purpose and a complete rip-off. Read the terms of your licences and you will see that you have very little come back on this gigantic fraud. Several iterations of the early versions of Microsoft operating systems fall into that bracket. Certainly the existence of cracked software or key generators is a real boon for trying stuff out. Much software then gets bought for real if it is any good. I agree that most music and video is never bought. Does anyone slaving for peanuts with ever increasing debts worry too much about Madonna or Bono or any of the other celeb greed mongers losing a few quid?
For iPhone I find the value of apps brilliant. Of course there are many that don’t stick around on my iPhone but at 59p or a few quid I’m happy to donate a bit of cash to a fledgeling industry.
Having an official Apple authentication for apps that have been downloaded via itunes account seems a good one. I think/hope it is not too long before this happens. This will give a real boost the Apple developers that invest a great deal of time and brain power to producing great apps.
For those interested in the sudden worldwide financial meltdown please watch the videos “Money as Debt” and “Zeitgeist: Addendum”. You can find them on Google video or YouTube. I was seriously outraged about the information exposed in these videos. If you want to get excited about something big and nasty follow watch these videos.
Awww : ( Thats a lot of hours wasted… I develop a few software(TuneLyrics), but all of them are free and I know it takes lots of time to develop a single app. Maybe you should have a free version that comes with lots of ads and a paid one for users who like it. : ) And I am not sure if there is such a function- maybe like an auto blowup or erase button to punish the pirates? LOL : )
But seriously, less people are willing to buy apps so maybe you should start making money off ads. I only use free apps anyway : ) Reply and tell me what you think
i’m a pirate. i steal stuff because i’d rather have that dollar and the product in my pocket.
there have been times where i am actually pissed at the makers of whatever i am pirating for wasting my bandwidth, when i could’ve pirated something useful.
i pirate because i can, and the same rests with the other million of us out there. i’m not saying what we are doing is ethically correct, but there is not a chance in hell that we are going to stop if it is this easy.
sorry for my honesty, hope this helps.
January 8th, 2009 at 8:57 pm
@fairlady: your scarf argument is waaaaaaaaaaay flawed. They want to try before they buy (or so they say). When you go to a clothing store to buy clothes, how often do you buy it without trying it on in a dressing room?
Its lose-lose for you btw. Even if you do buy blindly often, keep in mind stores have return policies that the app-store does not
January 8th, 2009 at 9:06 pm
I’ll be happy to try out your game (for the first time btw) when your ad supported version comes through, James.
I think ad-support is the best way to go because those of us who are broke will happily put up with an ad or two to save a few bucks. Maybe you should consider that people can have the ads removed by donating you a dollar or something? That would be win-win.
“pirating will always be there”: that’s true, kyek. I know a lot of people who do pirate their music, software, etc. But when Microsoft charges 200-300 for windows–or even for office, how can you blame them?
BTW–and MOST IMPORTANTLY– those same people, also download games, but they do buy ones they like. I know several people who download pirated games UNLESS they are made by a specific developer (i.e. Blizzard) that is known for releasing quality stuff.
Pirating will always be there, but there would be FAR LESS pirates if the overall quality of the products offered improved.
January 8th, 2009 at 9:12 pm
@Christoff: I’d love to see your data. Moreover, I’d love to see your valid data and how you collected it. I would venture a guess that games like GTA IV, Starcraft, Diablo II, Counterstrike, The Sims, Half Life 1 & 2, and plenty of others who have a pedigree of excellence fare versus lesser known (perhaps popular, perhaps not) games. I don’t want hard numbers of hacked copies. I want the information in %. I’m sure popular games are still pirated more, but I would bet you plenty that they have a higher percentage of legitimate users.
I’m just curious. Would that cracker crack your game if you had a trial version available for download?
Then again, even if he doesn’t crack it, other crackers would’ve gone for it.
January 10th, 2009 at 3:49 pm
I agree with WeiZhong, most_uniQue and Kyek are just 2 out of thousands of crackers.
Like Criss Angle said in a CNN news interview, he is an illusionist and he said that the real heroes are behind the scene. Which also means behind that 2 pro crackers will be super pro crackerssss, and nobody knows.
Lets play DOTA in warcraft III, the never ending story…
January 10th, 2009 at 4:08 pm
I will not blame to crackers or to developers but I want to blame apple for all of this and also thanks them too.
Illegal apps will make more people interest and curious then buy the iPhone/iPod Touch to install cracked apps = Money
Legal apps will bring the developers closer to them, e.g. 50% – 50% You made the apps, We sell them = Money
Apple stay on both sides, and sucks money money money but harm no ones
Developers earn “money” or “nothing” from hard working. Crackers earn “thanks” or “Donate” from other iPhone/iPod Touch users and also hard working ^ ^
[...] iPhone App Store. Bossert e-mailed the person who claimed to have cracked and distributed it and posted the response on his [...]
January 14th, 2009 at 7:18 am
Back in the 90′s I downloaded an application that could generate software license codes. It ended up deleteing all my files. I hope those poor college students take economics 101 where you learn the foundation of “There is no such thing as a free lunch.”
By Jail Breaking, unlocking or cracking the iPhone or apps you are inviting malicious code to your device. Considering I use my phone to access e-mail, web banking, and contacts I really do not ever want to risk or compromise it’s security or integrity.
That doesn’t mean I do not want some additional functionality. Inevetablity that is going to come at the cost of buying the next generation than so be it. I’m not looking for a free lunch. But having a trial period would be nice. Just as being able to use my iPhone in the states while on vacation without paying .69 euro cents a mintute would be nice. But I bought it knowing the restrictions because not only did I research Apple and T-mobile.de sites but also by reading blogs and tech articles.
Pirating is not necessary. Remember there are always going to be flush first adopters who are going to talk about their expereinces because they want everyone to know they are the first. Do your homework do not be lazy and do not expect a free lunch. But using illegal methods to deprive someone of a return on their investment for the sake of lacking options or functionality is unfair and in my opinion invalidates all your points and does little to get Apple to change their policy about trial periods. But complaining to Apple that the application does not work as advertised and that you want your money back would probably peak their interest.
I do not know what the solution is for Apple. They should implment a free trial. Just as they offer 30 seconds of sample aduio from Itunes. I also think that if you truely found lacking value or mistated claims that Apple would allow you to dispute the charge. I for example have found some video and sound quality to be poor on some TV showes I downloaded. I waited until the invoice came and there were links to report the problem and I was refunded my money.
[...] then emailed the guy who cracked and distributed the game around, known as ‘the pirate’ and ‘most_uniQue’ – who said: As many iPhone and iPod touch [...]
January 14th, 2009 at 6:43 pm
I don’t own an iPhone, iTouch or iPod. I do own a computer which is close enough, I guess. The subject and argument is “Stealing ANYTHING is wrong” and will remain so. I think if the “iSystem” is flawed it’s up to the consumer not to buy into it. If you have to save up for months for something you can’t afford to use the way you want to use it then don’t buy it. iJunk is a luxury not a necessity or right. Am I way off base or totally missing something?
January 14th, 2009 at 8:17 pm
Hello to all,
I am a software developer for a small company (less than 10 people). We try to count with every penny we get from our customers to cover our expenses (we do spend more than what we make every time we develop a new piece of sotware). Every time I write a piece of software I feel proud that I was able to make software that somehow will help the end-user in their everyday life…
However, I do not like the idea of hackers cracking it, making it available everywhere for free and then claiming some “super hero” you can’t touch me B.S. Most of these warez sites (and also some hackers) ask users for donations and a lot of them do get an average of $3000 + a month from their users to cover the cost for server and ” distribution of pirated software” (You are telling me they don’t make a profit?). Not too long ago some warez operator posted on his/her blog that there was enough money left that he/she was able to buy a Blu-Ray player and a nice HD TV. I don’t even think anybody in my company has an HD TV or Blu-Ray player yet…LMAO. I don’t think it is fair for the illegal distributors and hackers to gain fame or money while the developers get nothing in return…
However, a few years ago we decided to try the ads system but nobody at the office liked the ads (just as the average user, we hate ads in our software, it gives us a sense of decay). Then we tried to make a shareware/donation system for some of our apps. Just for fun, to see if people would buy, donate or at least e-mail us about them (we had promised free upgrades for life, reg, code and free tech support if they donated money). Within a few weeks we had 500 users out of all of them only four e-mailed thanking us and adding comments about the software, Two donated money… The other 494 are still active users but have not had the will to at least donate 5 cents.
To add to the story we were shocked that some warez/torrents sites had our “free” version for download (even though we had it for free at our website). Other “warez on a CD” sites (the ones you buy the CD/DVD for $15 and they sent you a CD/DVD full of pirate software) also included our software in their pack.
Yes, I was once a poor student but now I am a professional developer and making software is my source of income… so props to Fairlady Media for having mercy and allowing a hacker to walk away… I don’t think I would go easy on a hacker that cracked my code…
January 15th, 2009 at 2:11 am
Hi, has anybody found the tutorial mentioned by the cracker?
January 15th, 2009 at 2:23 am
“Let he without sin cast the first stone.”
Are those who are voicing their disgust about software cracking stating that every bit of software they own is legitimately obtained and the licenses are their own?
- You didn’t get MS office “from a friend, coz the kids needed it for their school work” but you couldn’t warrant the £430.63 for it? (full mac version price)
- You’ve never downloaded a song or copied a CD.
- You’ve never read the newspaper at the stand then put it back because (due to the state of our media industry) you gleemed all the information you required from it within the first two pages and didn’t want to buy the other 24pages if adverts it came with?
- You don’t borrow novels from friends, you buy your own copy?
All these things are helping yourself to the originators work without paying them their dues
[...] are playing pirated versions of the game. We have averaged about 20 downloads per day since the pirating story broke. Prior to that, we were averaging about 10 downloads per [...]
January 24th, 2009 at 5:44 pm
-Considering that pirates are an economic factor for the developer, the pirates may as well consistently pirate everything than play favoritism. So noone gets an advantage from their competitors being pirated.
-Humans are humans, as such sellers and buyers can be assumed as moral equals. Given the chance will developers not try to make as much money as they can? Do customers not shop around for the cheapest price for everything?
*By developers I really mean the people who make the platforms too, just anyone
-Does a home video recorder(VCR) have any other purpose at all than to record films and tvshows broadcast on tv?
-As the cost of publishing has come down it is indeed not a free lunch. Unfortunately even the old expensive forms of publishing don’t provide much safety.
-Is it supply and demand? Developers of entertainment software could always try to go on strike for a while and negotiate with pirate community.(And find another bothersome job in the meantime, as their trade collapses around them) Yes developers never collectively reign in the supply to create more demand.
-Yes, Pirates have to watch out for getting irresponsible, doing things by rote. Make each act of piracy mean something.
-They probably do have a role to keep developers on their toes; keep them from getting too greedy.
-Well about DRM and so on… if someone patented or copyrighted a sex position. “It’s my body and my bed.”
January 27th, 2009 at 10:18 am
I’ve only read the first few posts so forgive me if this has already been said.
Piracy is theft. Simple as.
If you shell out for an iPhone in the first place then find you cant afford then
a) you shouldnt really have bought one in the first place if your that hard up.
b) there are plenty of free / lite games etc out there of games so you have no need to pirate.
I develop software so i can eat and pay bills. You may as well come round my house and take my fucking telly and empty the fridge while your there.
Humans are humans, as such sellers and buyers can be assumed as moral equals. Given the chance will developers not try to make as much money as they can? Do customers not shop around for the cheapest price for everything?
So when some thieving little fucker knicks your car stereo and sells it to someone down the street thats ok is it? After all its cheaper.
Might be stolen but hey, who gives a fuck right!
-Does a home video recorder(VCR) have any other purpose at all than to record films and tvshows broadcast on tv
In the uk we have to pay for a TV license. So you’ve already paid for the programme upfront. Makers of TV programs are paid so the stations can show there films / programmes so your argument is crap.
It also just shows that its nothing to do with price. A pirates argument used to be “its too expensive”. Well guys these apps are $1 and you still dont want to pay. So whats your fucking argument now.
Tell you what I thinks. Its just some spotty little twat that has no ideas of his own and just wants some attention.
January 27th, 2009 at 6:09 pm
Crackers are pointless, all they do is harm. They give off all this childish righteous bullshit thats like a bad smell.
One day perhaps when they finally realise women hate them the way they are, they’ll get a job and wake up.
I am slaving 18 hour days, every day, as a solo developer to bring my game to iPhone. If you have a problem with Apple’s iPhone store, then crack the store, not the apps.
Oh wait, you aren’t good enough or able to crack the store or even hurt apple. No, all you can do is harm the child because the parent is too big.
January 29th, 2009 at 5:53 pm
January 8th, 2009 at 8:24 am
I mean, come on guys, the constant comparison of software / music / video piracy with real world goods that are made and sold is ridiculous. If a pirate downloads music / video or software that he/she aint gonna buy anyways, nobody has lost anything. Thieving scarfs or real CD’s, DVD’s etc. causes a real world loss to retailers.”
What total absolute nonsense, the two situations are entirely analogous. Of course the person may not have bought the software/music/video but then again they might have, in the same way they might not have bought scarves, CDs, DVDs etc if they couldn’t get them for free.
Just because products are digital doesn’t mean they have any less worth – by that standard anything that can be digitised or copied doesn’t hurt the producers? By extension I suppose that counterfeiting is OK too.
I recommend the cracker’s best bet is to steal the iPod and save the $600 then the apps won’t be too expensive.
For years after I got into computers I downloaded all manner of cracked and hacked software. I’ve tried out loads of music and graphics applications, most of which I would never have considered buying, I see it as no more harmful as collecting stamps in an album (the analogy).
I now buy the applications I use most as I think they are worth the time that I spend using them.
I would totally agree with the cracker that the people who downloaded the cracked version of your game would definitely NOT have purchased it legally, let alone even known about it in the first place through the iTunes store etc.
I’m not in agreement with any of the Piracy / RIAA / performing rights etc arguments that say they are loosing money because of people sharing. To quote, “Home Taping is Killing Music” and that was back when the humble cassette tape was introduced, is Music Dead now?? No! Are artists suffering? No! Are the record companies loosing their grip and control over their artists? Yes!
So things boil down to a lack of control in the money making sector, the marketing department through its rattle out of the pram and they are throwing a tantrum on the floor until it makes government pick up its rattle. (another analogy!)
anyhow, here’s my Jan stats http://pdtnc.wordpress.com/2009/02/01/january-09-microstock-earnings-stats/
Talking of piracy, do you check the search terms that brought people to your blog? I get things like ‘Dreamstime +Rapidshare’ pretty frequently meaning there are plenty of people out there distributing stock images on a pirate basis… its the modern world, we should get used to it as the people who need to buy the images will continue to pay for them and I don’t think we should be too worried about the ones that slip through illegally.
I have used cracked software before. It’s how I learned to use the tools that I use today.
However, I have to point out one simple thing: just because you want to try before you buy does not mean that you have the right to crack and app to make it happen. If you are breaking the EULA, which could be illegal, then you can be held legally responsible for your actions. Also, realize that breaking encryption (which most DRM is) is against the law in the US. Of course, so is exceeding the speed limit.
Now, again, cracked software allowed me to learn the tools and concepts that I use daily for my job, but I don’t understand why people feel so entitled to do whatever they want without any repercussions.
Only do things if you understand the possible ramifications. You can be held accountable for stealing. And yes, it is stealing. Stealing is appropriating (ideas, credit, words, etc.) without right or acknowledgment. Just because you “want” does not give you a right.
If you want to take action and assert your rights how you see them, be aware of what that means legally and what it means to those affected.
[...] A conversation with an iPhone pirate. A funny/sad/hilarious/provocative/stupid (depends about your point-of-view) about iPhone pirates. I gotta give credit for the pirate to answer openly to those questions. [...]
[...] A conversation with an iPhone pirate. A funny/sad/hilarious/provocative/stupid (depends about your point-of-view) about iPhone pirates. I gotta give credit for the pirate to answer openly to those questions. [...]
March 17th, 2009 at 2:16 pm
i agree with most unique. Ive bought about 15 apps that looked cool and had a nice descriptions, but when i actually tried them out they were boring, had horrible graphics, stupid (every fart app for sale), useless (fullscreen browsing pfft), etc. Ive always hacked everything i own specificly to avoid this problem. i.e.
Music i use limewire or find the album somewere online, if i like it i go and buy it. However, if i only like 1/20 songs on the album i just use limewire to download that song because if an “artist” writes 20 songs and only 1 of them is any good they do not deserve to be supported (thats why i dont buy the single song on itunes. And the same thing goes for video games, software, movies, etc.
I like knowing that if i spend my hard earned money on something i will get something worth buying and not just paying for a nice looking picture and description.
There is one fundamental flaw in the arguments presented by you ccrackers: If you people truly care about ‘trial-periods’, why cant you make your cracked apps stop working in a week or 3 days or something?
March 30th, 2009 at 10:40 am
Piracy whether it be software, music or films has been governed by strict rules. These rules dictate that the users of the pirated material must accept all consequences that come with using such material. Just like a criminal has to deal with the consequences of getting caught by the police in a stolen car!. The only difference when related to the digital realm is ….. there is no police. There’s nobody acting out the law! Why? Well this comes down to “3″ factors.
1. The internet is a HUGE place. Think of it as another world if you must. But in this world its inhabitants are invisible people “stay with me here”! You have the good will people who go about their daily business and staying out of trouble. On the other hand you have the people who will test the system. You know why they test the system …. because they know there’s a good chance of getting away with it. Shocking i know but its the truth, why do you think illegal music downloading is looked upon as the “norm” nowadays … they have a higher percentage of getting away with it! Anyways unlike the real world, you test the system here i.e. rob a bank, shop lift etc etc …. you know there’s a very high risk you’ll get caught! Thats because the police have your description, past history, address … anything they want!
2. Now in the digital realm the pirates know that the “real world” police are likely to have NOTHING on you … as i said before you are invisible! Now your probably thinking … yeah but theres internet police, the RIAA/MPAA theyve been arresting people and suing them. Well its plain to see that these organisations seriously dont have a clue. Last year the RIAA sued a 12-year-old girl. She was useing kazza to download a couple of songs and had a few tunes shared. They slapped a $250,000 fine on her. Imagine what that done to her family and to herself. Now some of you are probably thinking … that’s unfair shes only young and obviously very naive. Others are probably thinking … she deserved it! Well see this is my point, piracy is a deceitful web of lies. The big pirates give the public the material for free … put it on torrents, lime wire, file sharing etc etc and they watch all the desperate average joes grab for it!! They know that these average joes will be the ones taking the fall if they are caught!
3. Now that’s been said the final factor. The government and organizations fighting piracy know this. They know its the average joes that contribute to piracy the most by spreading it. Making it available to a wider audience. But they don’t want the average joes brought to justice they want the main source, the people who are delivering the goods in the first place! Although the RIAA doesn’t follow this route, in my opinion i think they sue the average joes to give off the illusion that their actually “doing” something! When in reality they sit around with there thumbs up their rears! Anyway i digress, the big governments want the main source of the piracy but these guys are extremely smart and quite often made up of computer wizardry people i.e. security experts, programmers, ex millatry digital defense analysts etc etc. You get the point! These guys know their stuff. Which makes it EXTREMELY hard to catch them. In almost all cases these guys have coded/written their own defense software against these organisations to prevent the unlikely event of them actually being traced!
As you can see the form of piracy is a huge spangled web of trust-issues and ignorance. The people who do this do it to push the system, your unlikely to get away with it in the real world but they know that on the internet the odds are stacked in their favor! In my eyes and im sorry to say to all these developers, designers, artists, anything digital that piracy will never be stopped! Its become a way of life for some people, sometimes unknown to them but others its a known factor! There will always be one that wants to test the system, push the boundaries! Even if the government built a “super computer” that filters all internet traffic …. there will be someone already working on a way to get around it! Its hard to come to terms with i know. Hard to think that there’s someone out there that’s using your hard work, dedication and time for free and not respecting you and buying it! The way i see it now as a software developer is …. If someone wants to use my software without paying for it, then they will bloody well do that! They think of it as a challenge!
Now Ive had a few ideas for the future on how ill be fighting piracy but ill be keeping them under wraps until i put it into motion. This is also a way forward i feel, let me pitch it to you! If every independent software developer comes up with his own software protection then there will be a HUGE amount of different protections all differing from one and other. This will obviously hinder the pirates in the long run as there will be too many protections around for them to learn and understand how to crack! Which therefore might put them off even bothering to crack an app as they know its a new protection method and they don’t have the time to learn it and try and exploit it! Hopefully then rendering them bored of doing such a thing which will then result in them just buying it because they cant be bothered to put in the time to crack it, i know crackers and believe me time is an issue with them!! With the crackers stumped, the actual public looking to buy this software will buy it on impulse because its taking too long for crackers to release it on the internet therefore parting with their cash because they want the full software and they want it now!
Its just a few ideas and realisim’s that bounced through my head when i saw this blog and i feel as though i had to input something! Obviously its not an answer to piracy but its another way of looking at it!
Anyway i wish all developers like myself and anybody that cares for this issue …. good luck!
As a high school student in a family of 5, with a family history filled with drug dealing, gun smuggling, and more, with half of my family locked up, does it seem like I have a promising future? Then, I took a webpage class in school. It was a fluke thing; my counselor messed up my schedule, and I was stuck with the course. I was, at first, pissed.
Then I got into it. I learned the techniques behind webpage coding. I realized I needed graphic software to create rich images for my sites. I was provided with it by the school, but could only use it 55 minutes every other school day. Didn’t help my education that much.
So I started looking around the internet and learned how to download and pirate Photoshop Cs2. Then, Cs3. I started playing around with it more and more. Small, side, personal projects. And my natural ability and love for it grew. I then learned of a free alternative, GIMP. Since it is free, I never heard of it since there is no advertising. I used it for a good amount of time and then went back into Cs3.
Skipping ahead 2 years, after learning photoshop and perfecting my abilities, I applied to college. And now I will be attending a D-1 school on a full ride academic scholarship for Digital Graphic Design. I’m thrilled! My parents don’t have to take a mortgage on the house to send me to community college. I can get a great degree at a great school and get myself a great job.
Do I feel bad about pirating Photoshop? Everyday. I know the cost of purchasing Cs2 and upgrading to Cs3. And when I can, I will purchase both. To give back. Thanks to the pirate community, I got a chance to get myself out of a failing family. I can start to change things. And I’m more than grateful for that.
Now, to iPhone pirating. I HATE not having the ability to download a demo. Most of them are crap replications of one another. In the first 6 months of owning an iPhone, I had 3 apps- all for free. And those crap ‘Lite’ versions are not demos. I learned then of cracking. It gave me a chance to test apps. And now? I am the proud owner of 20 apps that I leginimately purchase. In fact, I purchased one half way through this article. I realized I was relying an a cracked app, forgot to give back to the dev, so I went into App Store and purchased it. (Oh and about getting an iPhone while having a crappy family life….I worked as a paperboy for 7 years. Most of it went to support my family. I saved and saved and saved to one day make an awesome purchase. I made it the iPhone 3g.)
Not all pirates are evil. Companies have screwed the public far too long. Now, the community came together to fight against it. I am POSITIVE that cracking will die down if Apple fixed their flaws that Kyek pointed out. Most crackers are annoying teens that watch a video on YouTube.
I DO believe that there are other alternatives. Heck, I don’t think Kyek would continue to fund the Appulous and Hackulous project if Apple worked with the community a little bit. Apple has ALWAYS overcharged their customers. Sucks for them, as now its coming back to bite them.
My two cents.
Oh and James, for what its worth, I never downloaded your app illegally. I hate whack a mole
April 20th, 2009 at 1:47 am
As an indie software developer, you might as well be stealing the food out of my fridge. Oh wait, I don’t even have a fridge because I can’t afford my rent thanks to you pirate assholes. And since I can’t afford rent, I can’t plug my computer into my electrical outlet because I’m locked out of my apartment. If I can’t use my computer, then I can’t slave away for a year’s worth of 80+ hour work weeks to create a really cool, fun, unique game for you to steal. So when your tired of playing Starcraft 8 or Diablo 5, remember this post. If you hadn’t put me out the street, then you might actually have a new fun, unique game to play rather than yet-another-shitty-clone.
I wish pirates would stop trying to justify what they are doing. Just because you ‘want’ something doesn’t mean you have a right to steal it. It doesn’t matter how you try and sugar coat it because your still just a scumbag thief.
PS. All of the pro-piracy analogies in this thread are flawed and if you even spent two seconds thinking about your argument from the developer’s perspective, it would be blatantly obvious. It’s rather late right now but I will come back to this thread again and make a more elaborate post.
April 30th, 2009 at 1:28 pm
I know I’m behind the wagon with this whole argument and both sides are correct in their own understanding. But I have seen that a few things that have to deal with Appulo for iTunes Applications have not been addressed considering many of you seem to just be “attacking” Kyek and most_uniQue.
For developers, no doubt this is bad for you. These are often either your full or part time jobs. You rely on sales to properly survive. You seem to hate the idea of people trying before they buy because there are a large portion of people who do NOT purchase the program after trying it. The general argument is that they would not have bought it anyways. This is both true and false, many people admit or hide the fact that they pirate just to pirate to feel like an e-badass. But I know that I have downloaded many applications, found most to be total rubbish, and ditched them and thanked all unseen powers that I did not have to pay to find out that a minute into the game I wish I had an ice pick to gouge out my eyes. But I have found some Apps that I love and pirated THEN bought including Rolando ($5), Cozy Quest ($5), Pocket Hero ($2), Dream Chronicles ($5), MicroFight ($1), and Defend Your Castle ($2). Now these aren’t all the Apps I have purchased but they are ones that I normally would have just passed over if I did not get to try them first, true Rolando has a Lite version but many times (I don’t believe with Rolando however) it is a gimped version that does not even give you a proper trial of the application’s abilities. With purchasing after trying, I have pirated NDS games before but I reserved Kirby Super Star Ultra as soon as it was announced because I knew it would be a great game that would be worth my money, I ALSO downloaded the game so I did not have to carry the cartridge around with me. So convenience AND making sure you’re not wasting your money are factors.
As for people commenting on how cracked software distributors are attempting to profit off YOUR work, this does happen in most communities. In the iTunes App community this is not happening. When Appulo had to go down because of increased traffic donations were placed on the front page, Kyek specifically stated that he DID NOT want to do this and to only donate AFTER you purchased every application that you intended to keep. As soon as they had enough money to improve the servers donations were closed and have stayed closed and they hope to get ad’s to support the server cost when those funds have been used up. Hackulo/Appulo in no way took any amount of the money to support themselves or profit off of it. I admit, many websites do this, one such account was Mega4i. They introduced a nice GUI and at first allowed an amount of free downloads. This turned into them trying to charge for unrestricted access to their downloads, these downloads were not even ones that they had obtained themselves or cracked, they ‘stole’ them from other communities. A team at Hackulo worked on a program to take down Mega4i and bypass their system of charging for applications, I was actually part of the beta testing team and I saw how this worked and how efforts were put into keeping the community as a respectable place compared to other pirates.
Now, for those who still hate us for what we do and don’t understand how our community works, please, go buy a few hundred apps and tell us how many of them are worth their money to you. How many of them you still use after a day or two and you see it’s just another rehash of other ideas. Don’t just huddle behind your Macbook Pro and iPhones saying how horrible it is that you lose part of your App profits because you are putting out an inferior product. And yes Apple does ‘suffer’ from losing sales, from what I understand they get 30% of every App sale’s cost.
May 2nd, 2009 at 2:35 am
I like food so perhaps I should steal every single item at my grocery store so I can test it first. And of course I am not going to try a sample in the store either. Samples are plain and watered down. I won’t truly know if I like it until I bring it all home and prepare the full meal myself. Who cares if I am costing the grocery store lots of money? As a consumer, I am entitled to steal first and then buy it later if I still like it.
You all need to understand that simply owning an iPhone does not grant you a right to steal. When you bought your iPhone, you should have been well aware of what you were getting. If you get burned on a stupid program, then you should have done a little more research. Try reading a review sometime or go by word of mouth. If you can’t afford to purchase several hundred apps, then you just need to use a little self control.
May 6th, 2009 at 11:08 am
This has probably been said multiple times but…
I pirate a lot of things. Really, a lot. But only on the iPhone, have I ever paid for the things I have pirated. Why? Because of the benefits. Recently I pirated Adobe After Effects because I needed to create a simple effect without paying $1,500. I needed it for only one video project and that was it. I’m continuously downloading movies because $20 is something I don’t have lying around. And I watch them once, maybe twice. Music is an exception, as I listen to music all the time. I admit that it’s wrong that I download the music like that, but I don’t have $10 lying around. I have an iPhone, but my parents pay for that. All the rest I have to pay for myself. As with apps, they are a little bit different. I downloaded iDracula for free. I played it for a week. A week. That’s longer than when I bought Rolando for $5.99. I went to the appstore and plopped down 99c for that fun and engaging game. I downloaded Hero of Sparta. I played it for 3 days and haven’t touched it since. I deleted it and wasted no money. I bought Brothers in Arms on my iPod Touch and now it doesn’t work on my iPhone. (I got an iPhone because I loved my iTouch so much). Same with Flight Control, Pocket God, Flick Fishing, and Classics. I downloaded them all first, loved them, bought them. And the reason for this is because I recieve automatic updates and better stability. The truth is, I’m scared to buy games and apps on the appstore. I’ve wasted so much money for games that were hyped about (Rolando, Brothers in Arms, Enigmo) that even 99c is something to be wary about. Of course, you may disagree with me, and say that my logic is flawed. But have you ever bought something from the appstore and regretted it? I like trials of software, and I do use them when they are available. What I think needs to be changed? Simple. Apple needs to integrate a trial version of apps. They do the same with their audio tracks. The developers need to only release one version of their app. Apple should take care of the rest. 24 hours or 48 hours is plenty of time to determine if you like an App or not, so Apple should have the Apps expire if they do not pay for it. This would be great, and Apple would be taking a step in the right direction. And it would be very simple for them to do so. But they haven’t yet, and I will continue pirating until they do. I don’t enjoy it, it’s a painful experience (installo.us really needs to work on their UI) but I’m not drained of cash if I don’t like it.
The reason I pirate is because I’m dirt poor, and I’m not even old enough to work. I don’t have a credit card or bank account, and all my money goes towards physical objects like my iPod touch I saved up for a year for.
[...] developer, saint Bossert, blogged the same ratio: 196 buyers, 615 stealers. He emailed digit of the pirates and got this reply: i exclusive [...]
August 26th, 2009 at 3:54 pm
I’m not sure any of you have noticed but we flame people who come on asking how to get free apps. we say BUY THOSE APPS, DEVELOPERS WORKED HARD TO MAKE THEM! Even check out my forum sig. I trial an app and promise to myself to either buy it or delete it aftr 3 days
November 15th, 2009 at 11:36 am
Yo every shut the fuck up i took me three hours to read this it was intresting but i think crack apps should be allowed because we all are going throw broke stages and we need fee apps because we dont have any money but goota say tjey got aroud your system very good and you should find a way for new security untill then we are still going to make cracked apps and post them in websites
November 15th, 2009 at 11:55 am
i just came across this posts. i had my share in getting apps proving themself as useless or (worse) bad copies of good apps and paid for it. … well you learn! this days i dont spend a dime on apps, before i find a free full version to check out. apps i really like and use i buy (yes, just to support the dev) and apps that work on a donation base aktually get generous amounts of me (depending on the usefulness) just to keep them developing the app and as a thx for trusting me to donate as i like it. kinda worked in the music business as well. good stuff will return cash. all my music runs on “pay if you like it” – i make more money than any label would pay me in royalties.
have some faith in people – if the product is good, you will be surprised!!!!
December 2nd, 2009 at 8:41 pm
I really think one of the important points of this is the fact that most people don’t use these applications more than a few times.
Take the new Call of Duty Game. It involves zombies and guns galore, and seems like lots of fun. Thing is, it costs $10. Now, this is an App that I actually bought. Upon downloading it and opening it, guess what I found? One map. A single one. 4 Weapons. The same, linear drawl to kill the same zombies from the same places, over and over again. I found a note saying that more content was on its way, but for a paid price. That’s simply ridiculous.
I, and others, pay money for apps that DO what they are supposed to do, and LOOK and WORK well. I’m not willing to pay money for something that isn’t anything like what it should be.
Basically, I feel that this argument would be a lot more one sided (against the pirates) if there was reason to believe that the majority of the apps in the App Store were actually worth the money they cost, and not just a get-rich-quick scheme for the people who write them. No offense meant.
February 7th, 2010 at 10:57 am
Well, the new in-game purchase kit should allow developers to sink the “I can’t try this game” argument.
But seriously, most of the arguments here in favor of piracy are totally without merit,and those making them are just as guilty as a scarf-thief. You’re stealing something that cost people time, money and effort to produce, and which they often rely on for their livelihood, because it’s easy and you think you won’t get caught.
I do agree that there is a problem with fair value in some of these cases. Something like the $10 CoD app with a single map is well out of order, and should result in major negative review marks. But it is a case of buyer beware: there are lots of people out there wanting to make a quick buck off others, in everything from second hand cars to shoddy building work, but joining them by making a quick buck off others is not the answer. Have a little dignity please.
September 8th, 2010 at 12:35 am
I know this blog has been up for a while and its probably useless for me to post, but I just want to throw my 2cent out.
I’m a developer myself and I know how hard it is to put a piece of software together. The sad thing is that, we developers are facing these cracking issues these days, not because too many regular people are using our pirated software, but because there are developers
somewhere out there cracking our softwares. You can never force people away from a free lunch, and I don’t blame them, its human nature.
For the people using pirated apps, just be aware of what you’re getting yourself into. You’ll never know when one of the apps you have downloaded has something in it that is not suppose to be there. Can you really trust those developer who makes a living cracking and stealing?
November 29th, 2010 at 7:02 pm
Even if every app is a get rich scheme, you don’t have a right to it. It’s not yours. It seems there is a ratio of 1:10 of people who can properly make a purchasing decision. This might explain the economy. Many apps are crap. So instead of “I couldn’t evaluate it,” comments, why don’t you actually evaluate it? Read reviews, user comments, watch screen shots, demos etc. Otherwise make the evaluation that “I’m not going to take the risk, therefore I will not buy it.” Then when you read this blog about “Why can’t I sell my game,” you can leave feedback like, “make a time limited demo” instead of pirating an app you like and forgetting to pay for it. ‘Well I only used it for several days.’ Seriously, how much use do you think you deserve from a 1 dollar game? 1 dollar! People pay more than that for water, which is free. A dollar. The argument about repeatedly buying 1 dollar games you hate until it adds up, reminds me of the quote “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”