US authorities have denied access to at least three websites offering illegal versions of Android apps.

Websites like applanet.netappbucket.net and snappzmarket.com have been blocked. When you visit them, an FBI warning shows a sign saying that first-time offenders involved in copyright infringement face up to five years in jail.

- Why is it this way? They do not want their product to be duplicated and illegally distributed. But hold on, this happens with every other product. When a new product reaches the market, other companies are going to try to imitate your product and make it more cost effective. Should this be illegal as well?

- It takes work and effort to imitate a product, or in this case an app. This happened to iOS devices, back in the days when Cydia (an app repository for iOS devices) was illegal. Apple then decided to “legalize” the jailbreaking of their devices such as iPhones and iPod Touch. Now Cydia is a legal app repository. Will something similar happen the Android devices and apps in the future? I’m sure that Android users do hope so.

“The theft of intellectual property, particularly within the cyber-arena, is a growing problem and one that cannot be ignored by the US government’s law enforcement community,” said the FBI in a statement. “These thefts cost companies millions of dollars and can even inhibit the development and implementation of new ideas and applications.”

- Does it make sense to copyright an idea? All of our ideas come from someone else. We acquire them and incorporate them in our lives. Google should be glad about the critical increase of Android devices owners. They should enforce their apps to be freely available. As this way there would be an even greater increase of users and more people would buy Android devices.

Authority’s work have spread their piracy control in such states as Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Texas. Furthermore, officials from France and the Netherlands, have helped seize evidence from computer servers situated in other countries where US laws don’t apply.

- Hopefully the people who live in countries were piracy is not punished, would create more servers and host such apps. It would similar to thepiratebay.org, which is hosted in Sweden, and American laws can’t reach that far.

The  US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, Sally Quillian Yates, pointed out other sites which face similar action. She said “We will continue to seize and shut down websites that market pirated apps, and to pursue those responsible for criminal charges if appropriate.” As we know, Megaupload was shutdown at the beginning of this year, because of copyrights complaints.

- Anybody in the market would be glad that their content or product is getting distributed at large, and this way they may become more popular. People still pay for cable television, as they want to watch their favorite show or movie the minute it comes out. The quality is much greater than when pirated and uploaded to the internet.

- More people are going to choose to buy the app or product if they can afford it, as it may run smoother than a cracked version of it. But the others who cannot afford the original app, should be given a chance to use them, as it may serve them of inspiration to building a more innovative app.

The FBI’s warning that first-time copyright infringers could face jail time and up to $250,000 in fines, the lobby group’s lawyer, Keith Kupferschmid, said he thought any punitive action would be limited to offending sites’ administrators only. He added “I would be very surprised if either the US government or other government or the copyright holders went after the downloaders themselves.”

Sucay is a freelance writer within the DRS Network. Story published here.

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