Hollywood Takes Its Copyright Fight To “Rogue” Mobile Apps

Those Hobbit wallpapers you’ve got on your smartphone? They may not be legit.

Hollywood Takes Its Copyright Fight To “Rogue” Mobile Apps

As reported in Reuters, there’s a new trend among Hollywood movie studios concerned about abuse of their intellectual property: They’re hunting down “rogue” apps in the app stores of various smart devices that use images and other content from movies and TV shows without paying to license them.


One example is a take-down notice issued last week by Time Warner to Google, requesting that the app “Hobbit 3D Wallpaper HD” be removed from the Google Play app store for Android devices. The offending app is alleged to contain images from the film acquired without permission. Google complied.

Reuters also notes that Marvel, Sony, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox have submitted similar notices to Google.

A survey of apps that mentioned Oscar-nominated content is said to have found up to 90 percent of apps on Google’s or Apple’s app store contain infringing content.

Copyright infringements like this may be easy to pull off by app makers, because it’s impossible to track the content in the millions of apps. But it’s a contentious tactic, and so many false notices have been submitted to Google, under the DMCA act, that in December it began to report them publicly.

Does the increasing spread of copyright take-downs exemplify an industry that cannot innovate? Or is it a legitimate business concern?

[Image: Flickr user glenbledsoe]

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