Apple has a crack in the wall of its closed garden of delights. An open source game, Lugaru, has been sitting on the app store for $9.99 for some time – imagine the developer’s surprise when a copycat appeared, with almost the same title, undercutting the original by nine dollars.
The developers at Wolfire say from the bog: “This is a kind of software fraude we’ve never even heard of: a pirate simply downloading the app and resubmitting it to the same distribution channel at a lower price.” It’s not a bad idea if you can get away with it and your morals are shot.
What’s more bizarre is that Apple prides itself on its dilligence cracking down on dodgy apps. And as the developers say, Apple wants the Mac App Store to take the world by storm: it’s pre-installed on computers and listed in the Apple menu. “We expected pirated copies of games to be available in shady corners of the internet, but not in well-known digital distribution channels with famously long review processes.”
Jeffrey Rosen, co-founder of Wolfire, tells TechEye he’s disappointed with Apple’s approach, or lack of: “It is pretty disappointing that Apple didn’t do any due diligence on the counterfeit Lugaru app. Had they simply searched their own app store for Lugaru, they would have seen the real version instantly.
“Had they actually played the game, they might have noticed that iCoder’s screenshots are not even from the game he submitted (one of the screenshots is actually an unusual mod that turns all of the structures bright green).“
The markedly cheaper Lugaru appearing in the Mac App Store isn’t even the modern equivalent of sports jacket knock-offs that say Adidos found in shadier markets. It’s exactly the same software the developers toiled over, sitting happy through an official channel for profit. A more accurate comparison would be the bloke who sells DVDs in the pub storming HMV and replacing all the legit copies.
Lugaru’s twin brother’s “development team” at iCoder, talked to Kotaku: “While we do understand Wolfire’s regrets, this does not change the fact that we have every legal right to market and sell the software, and we feel that $1.99 is a fair price.”
According to iCoder, there’s nothing wrong with what it’s doing, legally. It allegedly submitted the software before it was even aware the game would launch on the Mac. “The licence we were granted allows for non-exclusive redistribution of the source code or the compiled product, modified or unmodified, for a fee or free of charge,” iCoder’s Alex Matlin said to Kotaku.