Mobile app publisher hijacks users' Twitter accounts to tweet false piracy confessions


107 Responses to “Mobile app publisher hijacks users' Twitter accounts to tweet false piracy confessions”

  1. fuzzyfuzzyfungus says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that the “Hey, let’s gain unauthorized access to a computer system in order to libel our customers!” plan was not run past Legal before it shipped…

  2. EH says:

    Is it slander for them to say that the user promises to stop?

  3. bobtato says:

    I don’t even use the software and this has made me fume with rage.  It’s, like, a rich virtuoso symphony of absolutely terrible things to do to your customers, all piled up on top of one another.

    Also, how exactly are people using pirate iOS software?  Are they saying that for every one paid download, they have 100 jailbroken users with pirate copies (and how would they know)?  This outfit sounds like a clutch of spiteful, confused morons.

  4. corydodt says:

    As a software developer, I would like to tell all prospective app developers: YOU ARE NOT A GOOD ENOUGH FUCKING DEVELOPER TO PULL THIS FEATURE OFF SUCCESSFULLY. YOU WILL FUCK IT UP.

    When you put a feature into a piece of software, spend three seconds imagining what it will be like if a bug happens in that feature. Then spend three more seconds contemplating the absolute, 100% certainty that there will be a bug in that feature. Then decide whether you really want to do it that way.

    • theophrastvs says:

      “feature”?  “bug”? are you reading the same posting here that i was?

      • Tribune says:

        the company says it is a bug that it kicked in for some people – implying it is a feature that has bugged as far as they are concerned. The rest of us may not consider that correct terminology but I teh company that produced it probably does.

        • theophrastvs says:

          oh, thankee for the explanation.  but i’m still surprised at the parent-commenter’s certainty of programmer’s ineptitude.  i suspect that the program functioned nigh-perfectly as designed.

          • dragonfrog says:

             As designed, the program would have gained unauthorized access to all the computers where it was installed, but only libeled those users who did not pay for the software.  It failed in that it libeled more people than intended – a bug as far as the developer is concerned.

            A bug-free computer virus is a thing (not a common one – software being what it is, and virus writers being who they are) – without bugs, this software would have been an example of one; as it is, it was a virus with implementation bugs.

          • rrh says:

            This is a Trojan, not a virus.

            To be a virus it would have to attach this behaviour to other apps.

    • ^This.  As a younger developer, I would put impolite error messages in to my applications.  Well, sooner or later those snippy messages trigger inappropriately and one sees the advantage of humility.

      To the posters who don’t understand why this is a “bug”, it’s a bug because whatever they were using to infer that the app had been pirated was not valid.  

      But yes of course, the design of this “feature” is symptomatic of the extreme hubris.  Which in turn makes me wonder about the price.  $55, really?  Must be a really fine dictionary.

      • Tribune says:

        Oxford English Dictionary is a mighty fine dictionary. I have to say if i were affected I would be complaining to the Oxford University Press and getting this mobile edition scraped and the license/contract/whatever arrangement voided with the software company.

        • DrDave says:

          It’s not the OED. It’s the ODE. I doubt there’s a connection to Oxford University Press.

          Edit: I stand corrected. It is from OUP.

          • Tribune says:

            oops – well can we burn it safely then?

            “The Oxford Dictionary of English (formerly The New Oxford Dictionary of English, often abbreviated to NODE) is a single-volume English language dictionary first published in 1998 by Oxford University Press. This dictionary is not based on the Oxford English Dictionary and should not be mistaken for a new or updated version of the OED. It is a completely new dictionary which strives to represent as faithfully as possible the current usage of English words.”

          • BillStewart2012 says:

            So is it going to start tweeting messages about “We named our dictionary that so we could sponge off the reputation of the OED.  Our bad!”?

  5. Anton Sirius says:

    This not only makes me want to pirate the software, it makes me want to steal hard copies of the Oxford dictionary.

  6. JonS says:

    How can that, even remotely, be considered a ‘bug’? Are we supposed to believe that some programmer inadvertently wrote some code that accidentally snooped on the users device, then had some kind of seizure that resulted in yet more unexpected code that produced grammatically correct twitter posts?

    No, this isn’t a bug. The code part working exactly as intended. The only “bug” was that Tracey Northcott VP of International Communications doesn’t have two braincells to rub together, and so couldn’t imagine the shitstorm headed her way once she released this virus into the wild.

    Bug? Yeah right. Just like black is white, up is down, and Tracey Northcott is a competent professional.

    • Boundegar says:

      I think the “bug” is the false positive.  Jenn Frank probably paid her copy, or maybe it was a review copy.

      I wonder what this software would do if you don’t have a Twitter account?  Would it make one for you?  Maybe using your real name?  The possibilities are endless!

      • Zadaz says:

        As mentioned in the article the app closes if you don’t enter a valid Twitter account, keeping you from using the application at all.  Which is the technological equivalent of your big brother slapping you with your own arm and saying “Stop hitting yourself! Stop hitting yourself!”

    • corydodt says:

      A “bug” is about the intention of the developer.

      The intention of the developer was to secretly spy, and to humiliate exactly those users who pirated their software.
      The software did not work as intended, because it humiliated other people.
      This constitutes a bug.

      The rest of it is simply malware.

    • Steve Taylor says:

       No – a bug because the app started hijacking the twitter accounts of users who *hadn’t* pirated software rather than the accounts of those who *had* – thus clearly a bug.

      No matter how much we approve or disapprove of what a piece of software is supposed to do, it’s not buggy if it does what it’s supposed to do, and it is buggy if it doesn’t.

      • JonS says:

        (and also @corydodt and Boundgear who both made basically the same point):
        Sure, but isn’t pretending that false positives is a “bug” rather than “an inescapable fact of life” a little … naive. At best. Bayesian statistics has been around for quite a while now, after all.

  7. miasm says:

    Since establishing the first member of Enfour Group in 1992, we have released many and varied products on to the japanese and international markets. Products which bring people, and their computers together; products which enhance personal communications; products that break down barriers of language and culture; products that release you from the confines of desktop computing to take with you into the real world.

    We believe computers have the capacity to break through cultural barriers; to effect positive changes in global attitudes at an ever increasing rate. In this global computing society we live in, the machines themselves are not of major importance. It is the way in which we, the human inhabitants, interact with, and to each other that is most important, not the machinery itself.

    Devices need to be mobile -> pervasive -> wearable -> invisible. They also need to speak your language, but more importantly everybody else’s.

    Enfour Group is dedicated to the research, experimentation and development necessary to span the gap between man and machine. Our experience in Asian language handling and imaging will bring more enabling technology to a wider audience. We will continue to develop language and educational software, mobile computing solutions, and online contents and play an increasing role in the move toward standardized information. Our ultimate goal is to offer enabling, switched-on lifestyles, and create for our customers a greater sense of achievement and personal fulfillment (sic) without the perception of using tools. We will achieve this by incubating venture companies to take advantage of new technologies and become producers for hardware and service providers.

    Enfour Group will continue to release products that expand a person’s horizons, and raise their expectations for a better future. #reallysorryaboutthewholebugthing

    • oneswellfoop says:

      WTF is that supposed to be?Can a mod snip this piece of trash out of the posts please?

    • Funk Daddy says:

      RIght, I see you say you’ve done this before, with tools that bring your people and other people’s computers together, breaking down their barriers. 

      You find these computers help you effectively shame people you have lied to, and then ramble on a while about how you just heard about Marshall Mcluhan and think he is the bee’s knees.

      You think that soon enough you’ll ditch the failing western markets and get along fine in the big new developing Asian markets, so fuck all us, you’ll go buy business in China.

      You’re going to keep trying to get into people’s virtual wallets, people’s expectations about what happens when you get caught won’t be met. #reallysorrywegotcaughtbutfuckyouanyway

    • salsaman says:

      Your company has just been shown to have made a colossal error in judgement.  Then your company was shown to be incompetent. You damaged your brand when you violated your customers’ trust.


      #yourapologyisworthless #oedneedsnewiospublisher

    • Avram Grumer says:

      Uh-oh. Looks like someone’s given the OED app permission to post BoingBoing comments. 

      (Pssst, everybody: It’s not really Enfour posting that.)

    • flickerKuu says:

       I will never buy anything your company has ever made or will every make. Better change your name now.

  8. I guess it would be a shame if Enfour’s corporate Twitter account suddenly started offering unsatisfied customers triple their money back.

  9. Todd Knarr says:

    a) This wasn’t a bug. It was what’s listed in my employer’s change-request type field as a “requirements error”. Someone in management asked for something they should’ve known would blow up in their face, that they were undoubtedly told by the techies would blow up in their face, and they were so caught up in themselves that they pushed it through anyway believing that nobody else could possibly be right about the consequences until it _did_ blow up in their faces. The software worked exactly as it was supposed to, it’s just that management refused to think through what they were asking for.

    b) Even if it _were_ a bug, just going “Sorry, my bad.” doesn’t get you off the hook. If there aren’t any consequences, there’s no incentive to learn from the incident and avoid making the same mistake in the future. In fact, knowing that there aren’t any consequences to making false accusations may well encourage more false accusations.

    • Hardley says:

      Part a) kinda reads: “management is bad, techies are good”.
      There is no question that this was a bad idea but I know (and have worked with) more that half a dozen developers who would do this *in spite* of what their manager would say against it.

      • EH says:

        Those managers should hire more expensive developers.

      • Todd Knarr says:

         Not so much “management is bad” as “management who won’t even consider what anyone else is saying are bad”. I have a dozen or more instances every year where I bring up a problem with what management’s asking for, they dismiss what I’m saying on the spot without giving it any consideration and order me to do it their way, and then when it’s done they’re upset because exactly the problem I brought up comes up and gives them heartburn. And then they complain that *I* didn’t anticipate the problem and prevent it. Well, I did, and they told me *not* to prevent it, so what did they expect?

    • Rob says:

      Bugs aren’t limited to code. “Requirements Error” is PC for “bug”

      • Todd Knarr says:

         Yep, but it’s a bug at a completely different level, one that as a developer I rarely get the final say on. The business side comes up with the requirements, and as a developer if I don’t hand in code that meets those requirements I can lose my job. What do you call code that correctly and properly does exactly what was asked for, within the limits of what’s possible in the system? And if one argues that there’s a bug in the requirements, that boils down to saying that the business side doesn’t know what they want. Which I won’t argue with, but the business people will.

  10. Michael Polo says:

    Maybe it was supposed to post to your twitter when you make a spelling mistake? A simple case of syntax vs. morality

  11. stephenl123 says:

    In Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington this is the crime of ‘Computer Trespass’.  I think Enfour is using the ‘bug’ rhetoric to try to protect themselves under the ‘intent’ provision in Virginia.

  12. Catherine says:

    I think that all who bought the $55 OED mobile phone app from Enfour should be refunded their money and paid damages for the illegal snooping and coercion to allow the app access to Twitter that was imposed on them. The company officials who approved, ordered or backed this should undergo criminal investigation. The tweet looks to me (a non-lawyer) like forced self-incrimination, which is against the law in the US. I’d be very interested to see how a judge would treat it if the incriminating tweet resulted in a court case against the alleged, “outed” offender.

    Needless to say, Enfour has permanently lost all chance of getting any of my business.

    • I wonder what happens if you bought it but don’t have Twitter.  Does it boot you out if it can’t hijack your feed?

    • flickerKuu says:

       I have a dumb question. Who pays $50 for a dictionary?

      • jennatar says:

        Yeah, I admitted (over Twitter, natch) that this was really the more humiliating confession.

        Still, before I bought Enfour’s software I did a price-comparison, and the Oxford Dictionary of English (Deluxe!) costs the same amount whether it’s printed or digitized. The iOS version works in offline mode, too—it’s a massive download—so I figured what’s the worst that can happen, right? I feel sort of bad, because that software has settled a lot of bets. Oh, well!

        • dr says:

          As an individual subscription to the (real) Oxford Dictionary, the OED, is around $300/year, $50 is a relative bargain. 

          • wysinwyg says:

             OED is a historical dictionary and this is a modern usage dictionary so it’s not really a fair comparison. 

  13. vile says:

    Question: What can be done, legally and publicly to wipe this company from the face of the Earth? I think we should do that in order to warn the rest of them. 
    Without active community participation we can’t prevent thing like this one from happening. (Not buying is not nearly enough).

    • EH says:

      This idea is aligned with some of the original angles of the Occupy movement, but nobody gave them any credibility because they didn’t articulate a platform. If you wanted it, you could have helped it happen.

  14. Thomas DeVries says:

    This is a very common ‘request’.  Read the log-ins carefully at many sites and you will discover that the newspaper (Hello, Los Angles Times, talking about you here) gets access to yr Twitter and Facebook accts, and can post in your name.  It’s a feature. Don’t let them tell you they don’t know or claim it’s a bug.

    • BillStewart2012 says:

      LA Times is really obnoxious about this.  Signing me up to follow other LA Times news sources?  Dubious, but maybe.  Signing me up to follow their advertisers?  No thanks, and I don’t want to have to mass-block anybody it signs me up for.

      Tweeting as me?  No, absolutely not – not even if they reciprocally give me permission to start tweeting as @LATimes:twitter  LATimes.  And “Updating my profile”?  Sorry, not unless I get to update the LATimes’s profile.  “All The News That Fits!”

      And by the way, Twitter, this is one reason I don’t have Twitter apps on my phone.  Not only do I not want to provide Twitter real-time access to my geographical location or any information at all about my phone number or other phone identification, but I especially don’t want third-party apps snarfing up this stuff because I didn’t notice some permission request.  Does anybody know of a good privacy-respecting https-only Twitter app for Android?

  15. sqyntz says:

    always seems publishers that repackage opensource material get very preachy about piracy…

  16. Thomas DeVries says:

    Went back and looked.  Check this out.

  17. mark zero says:

    How did this make it past Apple’s app review process, and will the app be pulled from the store?

    • Karl Heine says:

       I was wondering the same thing. There are a million things that are against their guidelines. Crap like this would be a good addition to the list.

  18. Dan Hibiki says:

    So is apple banning this invasive app? Or do they not care, as long as it’s not competition?

  19. deejayqueue says:

    From what I read of other accounts of this, the DRM software looks on the iPhone for apps like Installous which allow pirated software to run, then triggers the “I’m a pirate” tweet. 

    Nevermind that some people might have legit reasons for having that software, or that it’s none of Enfour’s damn business what other apps anyone has on their phone, or whether or not that software was even used to download or run any of Enfour’s apps. 

    This is not only Libel, it’s active malware, behaving exactly like a trojan without the user’s consent or knowledge. 

  20. I bet if some “affected people” or journalists complained / inquired to Twitter, they would disable the API key for that developer, and probably ban them across-the-board as a violation of their TOS.

  21. Florian Bösch says:

    Ok, just so we’re clear on the score here. People have gotten their devices and services hacked (which is a criminal offense). They’ve gotten spied upon (which is a criminal offense). They’ve gotten defamed by libel (which is a misdemeanor . And they haven’t done anything wrong, and even if they did, it would’ve been a civil case.

    I personally would like to see some Jail time here for the responsible.

    • I think the stage where users provide the app with access to their Twitter account and agree, contractually, to what that entails probably impacts the perspective that anything was ‘hacked’.

      Not that it makes what they did ‘OK’, but the concern that laws have been broken (I’m pretty sure) is completely unwarranted. Probably depends on location I guess.

      • BillStewart2012 says:

        The interesting question is how much of that clickwrap-agreement stuff is valid in the UK. UK libel law is quite broad, and if they’ve forged “self-insulting” tweets from a UK user, it would be a lot easier for that person to sue them than it would for a foreign user to sue a Japanese company in Japan.

  22. bcsizemo says:

    Y’all are falling down on the job here:

    Christ what a bunch of assholes.

    -there someone had to say it.

  23. I note that some people are being hit multiple times.  Take a look at poor Tracy LU
    For her, it started back in mid September and continues up to this very hour.  No end in sight, really.

  24. Avram Grumer says:

    Isn’t it funny how, when Enfour is apologizing for this screw-up (that’s a PDF), they’re “a small family-owned company with few employees”, but on their corporate website they’re a “World leader in multilingual mobile solutions and content”? 

    • flickerKuu says:

       They’re also a world leader on bullshitting people into spending $55 on an app that’s (barely?) better than Wiki?

  25. Funk Daddy says:

    W you came out of this without first using Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English version up

  26. Kl-0 says:

    I thought this was sort of an interesting legal problem, here are some thoughts off the top of my head. I am speaking only very generally, and am only giving my opinion about similar facts, and not suggesting the legality / illegality of any actions by any involved parties.

    1) Libel is a civil offense (and so generally no jail time). Laws vary by states, and there are Constitutional constraints on what sort of libel laws a state might pass (this is a bit complicated, but interesting to read about on Wikipedia if you are interest, see generally: ) however, it doesn’t seem like any Constitutional constraints would kick in under these sorts of facts, and so whatever the state law is would probably fly.

    2) Many state libel laws are kind of complicated, but here are the elements (according to a random website I just grabbed it off of without fact checking) of New York State’s, which is fairly representative:

    the statement must be
    a) published to a third party without privilege or authorization
    b) with fault amounting to at least negligence;
    c) that caused special harm or defamation per se.

    3) often defamation “per se” is defined by states as accusing someone of a crime (and in some places includes things like accusing someone of infidelity, or being stricken with an awful disease. Again, this gets kind of too complicated to get into in this forum)

    4) Software piracy is probably a crime, and so the defamation per se requirement would probably be satisfied by this sort of language in many jurisdictions. Also, since the purpose of the program was to post these messages, it seems likely that it would be considered to have satisfied the negligence standard as well. Obviously, publishing the statement to Twitter would probably count as publishing to a third party, or this is what I would write if I saw this on a law school exam anyways.

    5) These facts also potentially raise some sort of goofy/uncommon tort issues, such as invasion of privacy (which again, can vary dramatically depending on what state one was bringing a claim), but I am sort of out of my depth on this issue.

    6) Similar facts on a law school exam would also make me nervous of possible criminal liability, which again, could vary dramatically from state to state. I don’t know much about these sorts of laws in my own state, much less enough to give a broader survey, but my understanding is that it is generally frowned upon to gain unauthorized access to the computer system of another. Whether that has occurred here (for the purposes of whichever law one applied, each state would probably have different elements which must be satisfied) I have no clue.

    7) Similar facts on a law school exam would also make me extremely concerned about potential violations of one or more criminal fraud statutes (which again, would vary widely by state), as there may be some suggestion from the posts that the owner of the account is making the statements. I also don’t really know much about this area; just my gut reaction on this one (and again, I could be completely wrong).

    8) It is entirely possible that legal counsel for whatever company has looked at these issues, and determined they were not acting wrongfully / illegally in any way (or that no legal counsel looked at these posts, but they are still not violating any laws). Again, I am just shooting from the hip about some interesting (to me anyways) legal issues. I am only basing my thoughts off of the facts of this post, I have done no legal or factual research, and I am not suggesting that anyone has acted criminally or wrongfully in any way. Sorry to make you read two disclaimers…

    • BillStewart2012 says:

      Enfour is Japanese, and it’s pretty tough for US state law to reach them, unless they’ve got a US subsidiary.  UK libel law is a lot more flexible.  Probably makes more sense to ask Twitter to block Enfour’s access for Terms-of-Service violation.

  27. oldtaku says:

    An Ars article goes into more detail and includes more non-apologies from Enfour, in which they blame the users and brag about how their code is ‘coding to below the standard objective C level’ (i.e., bad code written by some self-proclaimed genius coder doing things a dictionary should not be doing).

  28. flickerKuu says:

    Once again, failed anti-piracy protection that HURTS the consumer who legitimately bought the product. This fact alone drives me to steal software on purpose. I will never buy this app or anything from this company. Until they figure out how to do it right, and not continually delay and  attack the legal consumer, I will continue to pirate things with no guilt or shame.

    • Marc Mielke says:

      Does this actually happen if you’re using a pirated copy? Usually pirates are good enough to include a crack to bypass all the anti-piracy crap. It would be funny if the code only caught registered users. 

      • flickerKuu says:

         That’s the point. You are better off just getting Pirated software to begin with because it is stripped of any of this nonsense that slows down and punishes the PAYING customer.  Just like with DVD’s- do you want to just watch the movie instantly or 8 unskippable screens with FBI warnings and trailers for movies you are forced to watch? Until software authors stop assuming and defaulting the user is a pirate first, and a paying customer after proving it, they do not get my trust or respect.  

  29. jennatar says:

    Would like to stress that this happened with the iOS version of the Oxford Dictionary of English (the ODE), not the Oxford English Dictionary (the OED). That’s all! Thanks!

  30. jimkirk says:

    In their apology letter they say that they find a 100 to 1 ratio of pirated to legal copies.  *IF* that is true (and it may well be inflated, like many movie studio piracy numbers are), I’d suggest they apply the old Laffer Curve of “voodoo economics” fame.  At $55, that’s a crazy expensive app, no matter how good the dictionary is.  I bet if they only charged $5 the legitimate sales to piracy rate would more than make up for the lower price.  

    That said, I have zero tolerance for companies that treat customers like that, even if the app functioned as intended.

  31. sqyntz says:

    How about we all start a crowd funded kickstarter project to build a free (as in beer) wiktionary app so that we don’t have to deal with Enfour. I promise to contribute. I really will.

  32. P.F. Bruns says:

    App Store staff, law enforcement, and several tons of attorney should be called. Enfour must be destroyed.

    • I imagine the conversation would go a little like this:

      “I agreed to allow a piece of software to post Tweets on my behalf and then it Tweeted on my behalf!”


      Joking aside the problem is with the Twitter API and the conscience of the App developer. I’m pretty sure they broke Twitter’s TOS with this move, but that’s probably it.

      • P.F. Bruns says:

        Ah, but the tweet was (in the case of a legitimate purchaser) libelous. Apple shouldn’t allow apps in its App Store that do so. I’m not suggesting people contact Apple to redress their grievance against Enfour; I’m suggesting they contact Apple to ban demonstrably abusive apps and to study the possibility of suing Enfour on their own for exposing Apple to liability.

        • Good point – I suppose due to the way in which Apple demonstrably vet their marketplace it’s only fair to expect them to address it in some way – they won’t have the same get-out excuses as Google (search) etc.

  33. robuluz says:

    It’s OK. I got the pirate version and that works fine.

  34. somnambulist says:

    Enfour needs to be banned from the App Store over this. It’s an issue of trust. The whole point of the App Store application process is to keep companies that act this way out. I’ve written suggesting this to them, I hope others do as well.

  35. MikSas says:

    “The road to perdition is paved with good intentions…” Enfour got a LOT of explainin’ to do…

  36. taj says:

    They’re based in Shibuya. I wonder if any victims are in Japan and will sue here… What a pair of assholes!
    Will someone please challenge them for the source of that 1:100 paid:pirated number Tracy is throwing about in the letter?

  37. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    Just 1 little question from someone on the outside of this…
    Why is everyone upset?

    On a daily basis we have hundreds of thousands of DMCA takedown notices, a majority are not actually valid.
    Someone claimed a birdsong, doubled down on that claim… and all they got was some bad internet press.

    In 3 days CCI begins a program allowing peoples net connections to be tampered with on mere accusations in the US.

    Music sales are in the toilet in Japan because they made downloading a felony, people are now scared of any online sources even the legal ones.

    The US has seized domains and servers not based in the US on baseless claims of piracy, they seek to extradite people to the US to face breaking the law in a country they never set foot in.

    Megaupload… ’nuff said.

    Laws are passed to protect corporations from the loss of billions of dollars, but no one can actually find those billions of dollars ever having existed.  Corporations get to play by different rules.  Protecting IP is more important than laws meant for us little people.

    This is the future we are stuck in now.
    If your sales slip, blame piracy.
    If your product sucks, blame piracy.
    If someone else makes rounded rectangles, blame piracy.

    To fight piracy you can break laws, it is your right to!
    Who cares how many innocents you get, they don’t matter.
    You have to get those damn pirates! 
    Focus on them, and ignore the people who paid you.
    Consumers are just sheep to be sheared, don’t worry about making a good product make sure to get them pirates.
    Spend money on better DRM, shaft paying consumers more, this time it’ll stop the pirates for sure – the last 50 times was just a fluke.

    How much competition is there in Apple’s Walled Garden for this companies products?
    How many different ways are there for them to keep anyone from offering a competing product that might be better?

    This is just 1 sign of the world we are slipping towards, I think its time to remind corporations that consumers matter more than imaginary boogeymen.  That spending millions on the next DRM that will save them, instead of improving the product is short sighted and will drive consumers to alternatives…

    Or maybe I babble to much…

    • “How much competition is there in Apple’s Walled Garden for this companies products?”

      Loads!  Same as on Google’s Walled Garden, and probably even Microsoft’s Walled Garden.  I’m not so sure about Symbain’s Walled Garden though.

      The rest of your point is spot on though, and summarises the point nicely, just thought I’d point out that the anti-Apple slant is both obvious and unnecessary, same with the rectangle comment. They’re all as bad as each other, don’t become a puppet for the current media target whilst making a good point – dilutes it a bit.

      • wysinwyg says:

        The fact that you’re going out of your way to protect Apple in particular makes me want to single out Apple in particular.  Maybe the problem with Apple isn’t so much the company as the fans?

      • That_Anonymous_Coward says:

        Apple was relevant because the offending app is iOS based.
        I do not have an iThingy, so I honestly don’t know how many dictionary apps are available for iOS.
        I did learn from coverage of this story then Enfour makes many different products at different price points that all seem to do almost the same thing and accuse paying customers of being thieves.

        It also helps to remember Maya who lost her voice because of patent disputes being used to remove the program she used to talk to the world, because it was far better than the overly priced, bulky, and not innovative speech board another company markets.  Apple pulled the app at the first sign of problem before they were required to by law.  In Maya’s case it took all of the bad PR and threats from lawyers to attack the patents to get an agreement letting her keep her voice.

        So a much better, more innovative, better product was removed from the market by a company that hasn’t innovated in a very long time.  There are many stories of apps being denied or pulled from the market, because they compete with a legacy player.

        If I was really attacking Apple I would have pointed out the wholesale theft of the idea to wirelessly sync music, and Apple added insult to injury by copying the icon the developer had designed.  They kept him from the market, took the idea and rolled it into their product… seems anti-competitive.

        I am sure we can find examples for Google and soon enough MS doing the same sorts of things.

        The fact that there is a patent for rounded rectangles isn’t so much a slam at Apple as it is at how broken the system has become.  Millions of dollars in legal fees, billions in settlements… and not a single dollar of that makes the products better for consumers.

        Stopping piracy is more important than making a good product now.  They upped they number of unskippable threats on plastic discs of content, to make sure consumers who purchased the product are subjected to the message that they should buy content.  Treating your paying customers like that is stupid, but it is now acceptable because we must stop piracy!

  38. Seth Dickens says:

    As it it wasn’t bad enough already, it’s also happening with the Longman dictionary app, too now. A friend of mine in Istanbul has just had her twitter hijacked and a message posted to her twitter feed,also stating (falsely) that she’s a pirate. Also warning messages on her ipad saying “I’m a pirate”. How much more crappycan this developer be?

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