FBI cracking down on Android piracy, three ‘black markets’ seized

by: Bams SadewoAugust 22, 2012
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Calm down, we haven’t done anything wrong. But it seems developers aren’t the only ones who are paying attention to the discourse on piracy on Android, which some put down to the open-source nature of the platform. The Federal Bureau of Investigation – alongside other law enforcement officials – has taken what is said to be the first ever action against websites that offer illegal copies of Android apps.

The three pirate websites that were shut down and seized by FBI are applanet.net, appbucket.net, and snappzmarket.com. The bureau is also issuing search warrants for nine wanted individuals related to the websites in the country.

According to the Justice Department, which executed the seizure orders against the three websites, law enforcement officials from the Netherlands and France were involved in the operation to help secure evidence of the apps that were stored in servers outside of the U.S. – making it pretty much a global-scale operation.

In a statement, assistant attorney general for the DoJ’s Criminal Division Lanny A. Breuer said that mobile apps have become an important part of the country’s economy and creative culture:

“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.”

We can think of a few more popular piracy destinations on the internet outside of the three that were taken down. So this first operation may just be a tip of the iceberg of what’s to come. Any thoughts and comments on the Android piracy crack down  by the FBI?


  • IncCo

    I think it’s silly really, the fbi needs something else to do

    • Billxxx

      The government is doing a great job of driving the growth of the darknet by those actions.
      Soon the silk road will be bigger then ebay.

  • Manga

    I wonder why people blame the open source nature of Android for piracy~~
    There’s piracy on windows and iOS as well and those are definitely not open source.

    • AndroidBrian

      Yeah piracy happens on all platforms but more so on Android because there is no hacking required to get free apps. You can download apps on the pay store to get free apps for god sake.

      People saying FBI has nothing better to do???? Millions of dollars are being stolen from all over the world .. This is the exact reason why the FBI exist. Not to mention the government wants to be able to tax Those millions.

      • IncCo

        Millions? Yeah right.. because those people that are dowloading pirated apps would pay for them otherwise ? I dont think so. Instead the apps gain spread and reputation by being pirated.

        • AndroidBrian

          Seriously? There’s 300 MILLION Android devices worldwide guy. If people weren’t going to purchase those or not, its still millions of dollars being stolen. And saying 2-3 million dollars was lost because of stolen apps is probably underestimating the amount that google and devs have lost due to piracy.

          • IncCo

            How is it millions of dollars being stolen if the people downloading wouldnt have paid anyway? Did they also rob banks or something?

          • AndroidBrian

            Do you not know what stealing means? It means to take or appropriate without right. Besides, who are you or I to say how many people will eventually buy those apps if they couldn’t get them for free?

          • AndroidBrian

            Side note, people think its cool to have free apps but all that does is slow progress. If devs got paid more they will spend more on making better and greater apps.Yeah there apps that have great sells but most if not all are produced by wealthy developers.

            Saddest thing about all of this is that I buy all the apps I want and the most money I spent on a application is $4.00. most apps are .99 cents or maybe $2.00. I never spend more than $15-$25 a year.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if there were hardly any paid apps at all, & just applications with annoying and intrusive ads instead. All because nobody wants to spend a dollar on something that they can get for free so easily,

          • Unverified User

            get a fucking real job with tangible goods. Intellectual property, thats a con artist’s work if I have ever heard of it. And as for the stealing part, stealing from the dev’s would be, IF, they have sold say, 5 million copies of whatever, and me and my friends come and liberate those funds from you. Kind of like what uncle Sam does to you in spring time. Or like what crApple does to the US government with their TAX policy. 9 Billion$


            Who is the thief now? Sumsmug’s suit against crapple for patent issues, ANOTHER money driven suit. Dont call people sharing thieves. We are not, we are just the people who were raised better than you.

            You dont like sharing? The next time you roll over to fuck your boyfriend or you old lady, remember , that hole is not yours. You gotta buy that shit pah’t-nah!

          • HanZie


          • Unverified User

            no bro, smart phones slow progress. all they fucking are, are eaves dropping devices to pry into the lives of the working class, to try and find out how these money hungry assholes can further exploit them and milk out every red cent that those poor people make. Assist the government with their fucked up actions, by “allowing us to blah blah blah. we never use it on our own people”. Meanwhile police raids and busts are taking place with relative ease.

            YOU are holding us back. YOU are wasting time developing inferior methods of doing everything. Text messages? Cant beat a keyboard and mouse on a computer. Gaming? What fucking gamer in his/her right mind calls anything with no or one fucking button to interface with a game? None! Console games are lame as well for their lack of flexibility and inferior hardware when compared to , again, the PC!
            Streaming video? 4g? wtf is 4g? Is it faster than 75Mb down? Or Verizons 100Mb down? Or googles 1000Mb download speeds? Nope not at all.
            Why the fuck would I watch TV on a small ass screen like that? I remember when the PSP came out the world was insulting it for its size and its “no need for that” bundle of options like videos , internet, gaming, music, net radio, webcasts, and controller interfaces. People said that a device doesnt need all of that. Now look at you noobs with giant button less bricks in your pocket , GPS’ing your every move, checking your dumbass into places you goto. Accessing your information without you online and without your being aware they are. FUUUUCK THAT!..

            It is you developers of this useless technology, that is temporary at best. (dont think so? wait till the rest of jon q public catches up to speed that you are passing off software revisions in the shells of new and improved bullshit.) Exploiters get murdered. And people who care dont exploit.

          • IncCo

            I think you have the wrong idea of what stealing is. Pirating is not stealing. You do not take anything from anyone, you copy. And if someone who wasnt going to pay to start with copies an app, then the developer hasnt lost anything, in fact, he has only gained exposure. E.g. i have “pirated” several apps, and after a while of usage decided that the developer deserves support and money for that app and paid for it. However, if it wasnt for the pirating, i wouldnt have paid for it to start with because there are so many other free alternatives out there.

          • AndroidBrian

            Wrong idea about stealing? Pirating isn’t stealing? Wtf!? So when movies are pirated that’s not stealing. Your taking money out of other peoples pockets so you can save some yourself.

            When something cost money and you get it without paying for it, its stealing. Just because u downloaded from some shared file doesn’t make it OK. Just because you can’t touch it doesn’t make it any less then plain stealing.

            This is no different from pirated movies. You can’t say the thousands of people who downloaded that movie probably wouldn’t pay for it anyways. Who knows! Eventually maybe the person would have paid to see it. Yeah there maybe a few times someone downloads a movie and eventually buys the DVD, doesn’t mean there not loosing boat loads of money. Plain and simply application developers & movie producers lose money not gain because of piracy. There losing there money because people Re taking the product for free. For you to say that’s not stealing is just weird.

          • IncCo

            I think this image should clear things up: http://www.vincentchow.net/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/piracy.png

            So yea, sure some of those people might have been forced to buying the app instead, but i doubt that the number is high enough for it to be counted as a loss instead of a gain. You gain exposure and a potential future customer who might even tell his friends about the app which then might pay for it etc. etc. Instead of the alternative being that a few people download and pay for it and the exposure is a lot smaller.

          • AndroidBrian

            Omg. Your stubborn. This isn’t my opinion. The thing is, people who make games do lose from piracy. We lose from the small percent of pirated copies that are lost sales, but we also have direct costs, both financial and opportunity costs, which can be attributed to every version, pirated or not. Whether that be server costs (for skin downloads), support costs (believe it or not, pirates still ask for customer support) and wasted time trying to deal with it all.

          • HanZie

            Look at the picture!!!
            And get it into your thick skull, not paying for software (being a game or movie) is NOT piracy. Its NOT stealing. But its copyright infringement. You should research more and watch less of the mainstream media making it worse than it is.
            Sorry fobr being blunt like this. But i dont think you’ll understand it otherwise.
            Call it copyright infringement because im not a thief nor a pirate!
            But copyright infringment on android apps is bad, as most developers are just users like you and me making a little money on the side.
            The big movie companys and such should be the ones who need to suffer. They already have to much money and power.

          • AndroidBrian

            480 mllion android users. If 3% steal one app for $1.00…… Well that’s a lot of money. More than 1 million.

          • AndroidBrian

            I’m not stupid enough to think that 100 percent of pirated games are lost sales — there are, of course, some people who would not buy or play a game if it wasn’t available for free, but there are also some dishonest people who pirate things they would otherwise buy, just because they can.

          • AndroidBrian

            That’s a quote from a dev.

        • AndroidBrian

          In addition: “Spread and reputation” is only valuable to developers if there are ad’s for there application. Apps that cost money don’t have advertisement 99.9% of the time.

          • IncCo

            Spread and reputation in the sense that you know someone who has that app.. and then that person might buy it..

          • AndroidBrian

            If someone you knows has the app and tell you about it and he/she got it for free will also likely tell you to get it for free. “Hey! Check out this great application! I got it for free but you should buy it for $1.99 at the play store.” I think not.

  • http://about.me/samirsshah Samir Shah

    It is about time. Developers definitely SHOULD get their due compensation.

  • asdf

    This is getting more and more ridiculous, obviously the FBI has nothing better to do then hunt for applanet lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/CorruptionDee Diogenes Jimenez

    I think it’s incredibly silly, and just gos to show how our government wastes millions of tax payers’ dollars with impunity. Even without Snappz or Applanet, there will always be piracy. Deal with it.