A few days ago, we found an app very similar to Ear Spy: Super Hearing app of Overpass. After further investigation, we found out that the code was a bit different, but was definitely trying to copy our app. Okay, so we were flattered! Sometimes imitation is a form of flattery, but it’s also annoying. When we checked on the app description, it showed exactly the same description as Ear Spy has. Every word is the same. They even copied Eric’s (Owner & Founder of Overpass) way of including the word “Gnarly” in the comments. Now, this is not just annoying but disturbing. Recently, I have featured an article “How To Get Your Google Account Suspended”, maybe it’s time for the copycats to sit down and take time to read it.
I suggest copycats should read the Google Play Developer Policy. The Policy states: “We don’t allow apps or developer accounts that impersonate other entities, brands, or otherwise infringe on intellectual property rights of others (including trademark, copyright, patent, trade secret, and other proprietary rights). We also don’t allow apps that encourage or induce infringement of intellectual property rights.” Google complies with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). They may disable access to content that violates applicable copyright law. If they receive a valid infringement notification, the app will be removed and the developer may receive a strike.
In addition to Google Play’s policy, I want to make it clear that it doesn’t matter what country the copycat is from or if they copied it from a foreign country because there’s an international agreement that exists. The Berne Convention, a treaty that unified copyright laws internationally, formally mandated several aspects of modern copyright law; it introduced the concept that a copyright exists the moment a work is “fixed”, rather than requiring registration. It also enforces a requirement that countries recognize copyrights held by the citizens of all other signatory countries.
The legal penalties for copyright infringement are:
- Infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits.
- The law provides a range from $200 to $150,000 for each work infringed.
- Infringer pays for all attorneys fees and court costs.
- The Court can issue an injunction to stop the infringing acts.
- The Court can impound the illegal works.
- The infringer can go to jail.
I truly believe that being an innovator is better than a copycat. Improving on something that already exists is acceptable, but to copy something exactly as it is (and claim it’s yours) is totally absurd and unprofessional. It is also an act of self-sabotage. Your lack of self-worth and confidence to produce something authentic and successful prevents you from achieving your goals. Imitation will just be a pattern and will take you nowhere.
I remember Steve Jobs saying:
” Microsoft has had two goals in the last 10 years. One was to copy the Mac, and the other was to copy Lotus’ success in the spreadsheet – basically, the applications business. And over the course of the last 10 years, Microsoft accomplished both of those goals. And now they are completely lost. “
I hope this article may bring the message to all developers and even other professionals on their respective fields….that Integrity is still essential for success. Honesty and moral uprightness are some of the secret ingredients of a real success. Let’s not be just mediocres and copycats, but be the innovators and the best of our own fields!
If you have insights or comments about the article, please leave a comment below.