Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
View All     RSS
September 30, 2014
arrowPress Releases
September 30, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


 
Can't Catch 'em All.
by MichaelVaughn Green on 02/20/12 06:58:00 pm   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

You can also find this post on gamedesigncenter.org

"Fake Pokemon Yellow ends up on iOS App Store", that's what I read on Joystiq the moment I opened their App on my iPhone. As I shook my head in wonderment, I thought to myself, "Of course this would happen." Game makers are all too familiar with the rampant copyright and abusive cloning habits that have infested mobile platforms. It's easy fodder that fuels the eagerness for companies, like Nintendo, to seek out anti-consumer legislation - that they believe - would better protect their IPs. (i.e. SOPA and PIPA.) How could such a well known franchise be flagrantly approved by Apple and sold to the masses? What can Apple (as well as other mobile OSs) do to help combat the spread of scammers who seek to abuse the openness of the mobile landscape? I’ve outlined a few quick initiatives that mobile providers could develop to help curb the spread of infringement of copyright holders. 

  • Public Developer Profiles 
  • Pre-Developer Education 
  • Peer Reviews
  • Consumer Awareness


ioS Pokemon Violators
Developer Home of Anime has released other copyright violators this month, Digimon and YuGiOh.
 

Public Developer Profiles Like most people, I’ve never heard of Home of Anime, the developer of the Pokemon Yellow iOS App and what’s frustrating is that I couldn’t  find concrete information on this developer through Apple’s iTunes service. Forcing developers to create public profiles, for consumers consumption, could reduce fraudulent behavior. If anonymity  is allowed to exist, scammers will continue to produce and sell stolen content. Offering accessible information that exposes who the developer is, where their is team located, a link to their website, etc., will promote better consumer education and empowerment. 

Pre-Developer Education 
Comparatively, Apple has great online resources for their developers, but reading pages of TSAs is not likely to happen. Generating interactive content that educates developers on copyright laws might force them to rethink their game ideas. Developers from other countries, whose copyright laws may be incredibly relaxed, could be unaware of the seriousness of copyright infringement. 

Another useful tool may be case studies that Apple provides. For example, after Apple takes down this App (if it hasn’t already) they should develop a quick online campaign that illustrates why this App was removed from the store. Develop a dozen of these cases to expose the outliers and others who violated copyright rules without knowing it.  

Peer Reviews
As a game community, we tend to get on our soap boxes... a lot, and rightfully so. However, Apple could easily set up a community of trusted professionals and developers who could quickly review content before it is released on the App Store. Open peer and community reviews of content may thwart individuals who want to try to “game” the system. A panel or community of reviewers could easily spot stolen content before it is released. Furthermore, Apple and other OS developers, need to be more transparent about their review policy and oversight. 

Consumer Awareness 
Apple may argue that it isn’t their place to educate consumers on copyright laws and spotting fragrant rip-offs, but instilling confidence in your consumer base that could lead to more paid downloads. Most content users are not familiar with game developers or their publishers, they just see “Pokemon” and download it. When it doesn’t work, it’s a loss for Apple and the consumer. Apple has an incredible tool that could easily educate their users. Develop those Apps, make them fun, and you could see less people burning up the customer review boards. 


consumerdoesntcare
Consumers realize it's a scam, but they don't care. They just want the Pokemon.


These proposals will not solve all of the copyright issues that currently plague the mobile markets, but these simple steps could lead us to stronger rules and regulations. Policies that should thwart the scammers, empower developers, and protect the consumers. 

Finally, Nintendo, people want Pokemon on their iPhones. I believe you can have your cake and eat it too. More on that later.


Related Jobs

Raven Software / Activision
Raven Software / Activision — Madison, Wisconsin, United States
[09.30.14]

Network Engineer - Raven
Raven Software / Activision
Raven Software / Activision — Madison, Wisconsin, United States
[09.30.14]

Senior FX Artist - Raven
Raven Software / Activision
Raven Software / Activision — Madison, Wisconsin, United States
[09.30.14]

Lead Designer - Raven
Topalsson GmbH & Co KG
Topalsson GmbH & Co KG — Munich, Germany
[09.29.14]

LEAD GAME DEVELOPER (M/W)






Comments


E Zachary Knight
profile image
While I appreciate the fresh look at what can be done about copyright infringement on the iOS, I still find some of these suggestions would have their own problem that would need addressed.



The public profile is a great idea actually. I am surprised that such a feature is not built in already.



Pre-developer education will probably have zero effect on any of this. Most developers creating scam apps are well aware of their legal implications and are skirting the law despite this. no amount of education will change that.



Peer reviews don't seem to be a workable solution. While it may be near impossible for Apple alone to judge proper licensing of copyrighted materials, I doubt throwing in a dozen more people with limited ability to judge proper licensing will help. This could also introduce a bullying affect as people could use this power to block apps they feel competes with their own.



Consumer awareness can only go so far. While it might help some consumers, the majority would ignore it. I also doubt that awareness would have changed the outcome of this little app. Would the average purchaser have been able to figure out that the app in question was copyright infringement with just the information provided? Probably not.



I honestly can't say what would be the best fix for these issues. However, I don't think throwing more bureaucracy into the mix will help anything.

Jason Wilson
profile image
"Peer reviews don't seem to be a workable solution. While it may be near impossible for Apple alone to judge proper licensing of copyrighted materials, I doubt throwing in a dozen more people with limited ability to judge proper licensing will help. This could also introduce a bullying affect as people could use this power to block apps they feel competes with their own."



Perhaps rather than having the Peer Reviews be the final say in the matter, the Peer Reviews could be used to flag questionable content for Apple to take a closer look at. It would make Apple's job a little easier. Developers could be reviewed in a similar manner. Developers that continuously push out questionable apps would be subject to a more stringent review process, while trusted developers wouldn't.



It still wouldn't be perfect, but it could help detect these problem cases sooner without inconveniencing honest developers.

MichaelVaughn Green
profile image
"Perhaps rather than having the Peer Reviews be the final say in the matter, the Peer Reviews could be used to flag questionable content for Apple to take a closer look at. It would make Apple's job a little easier. Developers could be reviewed in a similar manner. Developers that continuously push out questionable apps would be subject to a more stringent review process, while trusted developers wouldn't."



This was more of the approach I was thinking with the Peer Reviews. I do think that some of these quick suggestions could generate unfair competitive practices. But you could easily offer another level of transparency to help curb people from just slamming apps because they believe it would compete with their own. If anything, we need more transparency, which hopefully won't lead to more bureaucracy.


none
 
Comment: