Intellectual Property Infringement by Developers on Google Play

I’m getting more into Android development, or I was until Google’s Android team stabbed me in the back.

To make this story short, I posted what was basically a soundboard, with clips of Mathew McConaughy’s famous quotes. It was a joke app I made after a few friends and I started this running joke of “I was flying space ships before it was cool to fly spaceships.” in a Matthew McConaughy voice (Interstellar Movie + Lincoln Commercial = Funny but overused joke).

Here’s the weird thing though. I had originally made the app (io.mxb.matthewmcconaughysoundboard) and it stayed on the market for a week before I went to update it and realized I had lost the password to my keystore. I had to reupload my app with a new package name (io.mxb.soundboard. matthewmcconaughy), and when I did, not even an hour after uploading, I received the infamous email stating I had infringed on intellectual property.

This is a notification that your application, Matthew McConaughey Soundboard, with package ID io.mxb.soundboard.matthewmcconaughey, has been removed from the Google Play Store.

REASON FOR REMOVAL: Violation of the intellectual property and impersonation or deceptive behavior provisions of the Content Policy. Please refer to the IP infringement and impersonation policy help article for more information.

Your app and/or elements of its listing on Google Play, including title, description, logo(s), or promotional screenshots must not include unauthorized usage of protected works belonging to a third party.
Your app icon and promotional screenshots must not contain images that appear confusingly similar to existing products.
This particular app has been disabled as a policy strike. If your developer account is still in good standing, you may revise and upload a policy compliant version of this application as a new package name.

This notification also serves as notice for remaining, unsuspended violations in your catalog, and you may avoid further app suspensions by immediately unpublishing any apps in violation of (but not limited to) the above policy. Once you have resolved any existing violations, you may republish the app(s) at will. Before publishing applications, please ensure your apps’ compliance with the Developer Distribution Agreement and Content Policy.

All violations are tracked. Serious or repeated violations of any nature will result in the termination of your developer account, and investigation and possible termination of related Google accounts. If your account is terminated, payments will cease and Google may recover the proceeds of any past sales and the cost of any associated fees (such as chargebacks and payment transaction fees) from you.

If you feel we have made this determination in error, you can visit the Google Play Help Center article for additional information regarding this removal.

The Google Play Team

I thought I was protected under Fair Use. But I’m not a lawyer, I don’t know. I’m just very upset and confused. I even attempted to appeal their decision, most likely made by a bot. They denied reinstating the app and stated that their decision was final.

I’ve seen several apps with celebrity soundboards, some even with ads and paid versions. But I had no intention of putting ads or making a paid version of the app. It was just a free, funny app idea I had from a friend.

After much frustration, I actually found the keystore password, allowing me to use the orginal app I developed, which wasn’t flagged because it was unpublished. This saved me much headache and motivated me to sorta stick it to the Google Play team. I modified all the images in the app to represent my idea of way they should look like, more comedic. Because that’s how I see Matthew McConaughy.

My new description for the app is:

*This is a FAN made app and was not endorsed by any organization or individual. I really like Matthew McConaughy, he’s a great actor and I thought I’d honor him by putting together some of his best lines in a compilation of a work of art and parody.*

Ever wanted to carry around one of the best actors to date? Now you can!

This is my first app, and I’m very happy you’re here! The other version of this app, was removed by the Google Play Team. It really hurt because I love Google, and their products, including Android. I attempted to appeal the decision but was declined almost immediately. I felt really horrible and like everything was very impersonal. I lost all hope and motivation app development. But after reading several blogs, talking to some friends, and reading as much as I could on intellectual property and infringement, I’ve decided to take on this app again.

The images and sounds in the application are completely changed to represent how Matthew McConaughy has changed over time. From a funny guy, to romantic comedies, to flying spaceships. The images and sounds are also meant to bring on a certain feeling in the app user and are derivative works of art.

This app is protected under the fair use. Again this is fan made and was not endorsed by any organization or individual.

I clearly state several times, that this is a fan made app, and a derivative work. Clearly protected under law.

I just reposted the app, and we’ll see what happens. I’ll update this post soon.

Link to app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.mxb.matthewmcconaugheysoundboard

Posted in Computers, My Life, Notices, Philosophy

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