Pirates hawking ported Android apps through BlackBerry App World

Developers say RIM provides tools, incentives for moving Android apps to BlackBerry -- but no shield against piracy

As though RIM wasn't having enough trouble retaining customers, now the company has ticked off developers by failing to prevent pirates from hawking ported Android apps through the BlackBerry App World.

Even worse, RIM is arguably accountable for the existence of those pirated apps: It is offering a $100 bounty for every Android app ported to BlackBerry 10 and Playbook OS, along with a tool capable of doing the Android-to-PlayBook port.

"If you have an app published on Google Play, you will probably want to search the BlackBerry store for unauthorized copies from time to time, because RIM does not seem to have an effective process to stop pirated versions from being uploaded," cautioned a Reddit user and purported Android developer.

The user said he'd been receiving support inquiries from BlackBerry users for his Android application, but has never ported the app to RIM's application store. He also found that a paid version of this app was in the store, at three times his asking price on Google Play.

"Sure enough, someone had downloaded my app from Google Play, converted the APK, and published it for BB using his account, along with half a dozen other Android apps that were obviously not his own," the user wrote. "Most of them have since been taken down, but his account remains active, and he still has three apps published that look like they might be from Google Play."

Beyond dinging RIM for not exercising due diligence in determining the authenticity of apps before selling them, critics are complaining that RIM has made it overly arduous to developer to report pirated ports. The process, as outlined by RIM, entails reporting the violation via fax or by emailing a scan of a signed document.

This isn't the first time Android ports have shown up in the BlackBerry App World without the developer's knowledge. Last February, MoboTap said a company called Handster had ported its free Dolphin Browser to the BlackBerry market without its permission, according to Engadget. Handster, an application aggregator, said that under its standard distribution agreement, it is allowed to sell apps via its main store and its partner network -- of which RIM is a member.

This story, "Pirates hawking ported Android apps through BlackBerry store," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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