Wednesday, February 1, 2012

CRD Removed From Android Market

On January 30, 2012, Lucasfilm Ltd. filed a DMCA complaint against Companion Remote Desktop claiming that we were infringing on their copyrighted works. Google responded immediately (or more likely, automatically) by removing our app from the marketplace.

After careful research, we determined that we cannot display screenshots of the SWTOR game on the android market. In a nutshell, our app was removed from the market because of the promotional screenshots that illustrate what the working product looks like.

We are obviously frustrated by this for a number of reasons.

  1. There are dozens of paid apps on the android market that are ranked much higher than ours. Not only do these apps have SWTOR in their name (infringement) but they blatantly use art assets directly from SWTOR in their UI?!?
  2. Google has locked our app entry completely. The Android market provides no way to correct infringement issues (yet another drop in the bucket of things wrong with the android market). Resolution is literally 3 clicks away to remove the infringing screenshots displayed on the android market, we simply aren't given the option to do so. 
  3. We have the option to counterfile, in which case if we are found to infringe we must pay legal fees for wasting peoples time. Since we can't correct the infringement, we can't counterfile, convenient!
Overall we can't help but feel that our app was specifically targeted. We definitely aren't lawyers but we are pretty honest folk that are trying their best to abide by the law. If you look a few posts ago, you'll see that we changed the name of our app because we learned that using SWTOR in our name was a copyright infringement. We made this change proactively, not at the demand of a lawyer. If we had known that screenshots showing the game client were infringing on Lucasfilm then we would have fixed them immediately. 

We went out of our way to be good citizens for BioWare. We read the SWTOR EULA extensively and deliberately inhibited Companion Remote Desktop functionality so that it would be fully compatible with the EULA. All things considered, we were quite possibly the most considerate and responsible developers in the SWTOR app ecosystem.

We don't know what this means for our remaining markets. For the time being, the app is still available on Amazon, HP and pending on iOS.

Companion Remote Desktop was far more popular than we imagined and the funny thing is that over half of the features in it are disabled. Image recognition, automation, macros, all things that were disabled because of the EULA.

Hypercane Studios is now working on a generic mobile remote desktop application. We are taking the fundamental concepts behind Companion Remote Desktop and applying them to the desktop as a whole. Because this app will not be specific to an MMO or application, it will not be bounded by any EULA.  We look forward to sharing more details about this and are eager to hear your thoughts and wishes.