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Three Major Pirated App Sites Seized In Government Sting

Authored by: Steven Blum — Aug 22, 2012

The law came down hard on three websites offering pirated Android apps today. Applanet, SnappzMarket and AppBucket were all seized as part of a government sting, and their sites now display that they're under seizure by a warrant issues by the US district court.

Applanet, the largest of the sites, has over 88,000 Facebook likes as of right now. While we've never visited the site, it clearly had a very large following. The company's Facebook posts make it appear that the owner of the site was very supportive of efforts against ACTA and other efforts to consolidate media ownership. The site claimed to be home to more than 15,000 Android apps.

SnappzMarket and AppBucket were smaller sites with 16.4k and less than 500 Facebook likes, respectively. SnappzMarket described itself as an 'alternative" Android Market. Their last Facebook post indicated that the site worked with Paypal, which seems weird since they supposedly offered only free apps. AppBucket's Facebook description, in contrast, is intentionally vague: "we are about anything you want us to be about," it reads.

Oddly, the reaction to the governement sting among Android users has been mixed. While Android Police praised the government shutdown, readers of Reddit were more skeptical. "The FBI and DoJ abusing their powers and seizing domain names without fair trial is not something to be celebrated, " wrote one user. "And there are a million of these sites. This changes nothing."

The FBI agents involved in the seizure downloaded thousands of copies of popular copyrighted apps from these alternative markets, according to officials. "Software apps have become an increasingly essential part of our nation's economy and creative culture, and the criminal division is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the creators of these apps and other forms of intellectual property from those who seek to steal it," Lanny A. Breuer, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Criminal Division, said in the statement. 

I think this is great news for anyone who cares about intellectual property. Yes, you could argue that Google could cut down on the pirated apps by making PayPal accessible to folks outside the country, and making Google Play giftcards available to those in Asia, and they absolutely should. But you really can't argue that pirating apps is good for Android, or really anyone, in the long run. If you're really too cheap to pay $.99 for an app you really want, maybe you don't deserve that smartphone you're holding. 

Source: Android Police

Steven Blum has written more than 2,000 blog posts as a founding member of AndroidPIT's English editorial team. A graduate of the University of Washington, Steven Blum also studied Journalism at George Washington University in Washington D.C. for two years. Since then, his writing has appeared in The Stranger, The Seattle P-I, Blackbook Magazine and Venture Villlage. He loves the HTC One and hopes the company behind it still exists in a few years.

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  • Ilgaz Aug 27, 2012 Link to comment

    @DaBarnator everyone must know how hard it is to write a novel and yet they demand ridiculous price cuts from e book stores.
    Why? Because there is no paper. Believe that? All these years, they thought they were buying "paper", not what is written inside.

  • DaBartonator
    • Mod
    Aug 25, 2012 Link to comment

    I think school systems should mandate a programing class I. Art, writing, math are all parts of peoples lives yet programing is and im going to one of the few schools in the state with good technology programs (Salthawks rock!) but if people knew how hard programing can be they would respect the work of others.

  • Ilgaz Aug 24, 2012 Link to comment

    One really wonders if people got understanding of what kind of monetary and social, even legal problems can a Trojan on an always connected computer can do.
    How would you explain your own device billed to you distributing child porn? These things happen on PC all the time and guess who learns Linux& Java development now? Same black hats. Android security suites are all in stone age, don't trust to them too and don't test limits of absurd via installing cracked anti virus.
    Things will really become serious since these little devices even have 4G connection. Iloveyou created disaster while broadband was a dream and always on was a luxury.

  • Why rip off a dev who spent countless hours coding and debugging. I hate it when people expect and demand for free quality apps. Okay maybe free pos or wtf apps but not for good apps that actually helps you in your work or keeps you entertained or organizes your physical and digital life.

  • only fake android fans use pirate apps

  • jose c Aug 22, 2012 Link to comment

    I used to use applanet, but then I realized it payed off more to just buy the app, get timely updated, support the developers, and have the app link to my email so I can just dload it on any of my dozen android devices. it pays off to buy apps. I can't even calculate how much I spend on apps lol

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