February 10, 2011 | By Eric Caoili 1 comments More:
A week after developer and Humble Indie Bundle organizer Wolfire Games publicly complained about a Mac App Store game using its Lugaru assets without permission, Apple has finally pulled the game from its marketplace.
Wolfire released the source code for Lugaru HD under the General Public License last May and encouraged developers to mod and port the PC/Mac/Linux title, though it retained all rights to the 3D action game's assets, characters and other non-code content.
When releasing Lugaru HD to the Mac App Store for $9.99 in late January, the studio found another developer, operating under the psuedonym iCoder/Michael Latour, had also posted a version of the game titled Lugaru without Wolfire's permission.
iCoder told Kotaku that it believed it had every legal right to market and sell the software, arguing, "The license 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."
Wolfire responded by insisting that the unauthorized re-release violated the license. The indie studio also complained that iCoder was selling the game for $0.99 (later $1.99), potentially tricking consumers into thinking its unsanctioned release was a cheaper, official alternative to Lugaru HD.
"We expect 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," complained Wolfire's Jeffrey Rosen in a public posting about the matter.
The developer attempted to contact Apple over a week ago, expecting the platform holder to quickly investigate the accusation and take down the counterfeit game. Wolfire says it never heard from the company, but the bogus version of Lugaru has been removed from the Mac App Store as of today.
"We're not sure who took it down, or what will happen to the customers who were tricked into buying the fake copy, or the money they paid for it," says Rosen. "We still haven't heard anything from Apple."
Wolfire notes that quite a few consumers purchased iCoder's Lugaru, as the title reached #60 on the Mac games chart before its removal. The studio is offering to give anyone who purchased the game an authentic version of Lugaru HD and a bonus Steam key for free.