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Lugaru vs Lugaru
February 3, 2011 9:13 AM   Subscribe

First there was the 'Splosion Man ripoff MaXplosion (and Capcom's non-response). Then there was a The Blocks Cometh clone (eventually taken down after the uproar). Now comes Lugaru, a wholesale copy of code, data, and name. (Android developers, you're not safe either.)
posted by kmz (23 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought Lugaru was open source ... i guess not.

It's going to be a growing problem for Apple, not to even mention white-label software.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:24 AM on February 3, 2011


The code is GPL but the assets are not. (And if I recall correctly it's unclear if the GPL is compatible with App Store DRM.)
posted by kmz at 9:28 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


The issue is it had the GPL license, so someone could take the code, make new art, models, skins, levels, etc. and sell the re-skinned game...

But this d-bag is trying to resell the entire game as is... the code is open, the assets aren't.
posted by utsutsu at 9:28 AM on February 3, 2011


Yup. Lugaru's code is open source. However, the assets and characters are not being given away. Like Wolfire says:
It's as legal for them to sell Lugaru as it would be for them to sell Quake 3, Marathon, Aquaria, or Arx Fatalis.
posted by ignignokt at 9:32 AM on February 3, 2011


BTW, I forgot to mention that the Lugaru devs (the real ones) are the ones who organized the Humble Indie Bundles.

And now I'm really going to stay out of my thread.
posted by kmz at 9:35 AM on February 3, 2011


Not to derail, but I would say that copying the code, data and name is actually a different crime than cloning.

Also, this not being the first I've heard of Lugaru, I watched a YT clip of it. Does anything interesting ever happen?
posted by DU at 9:35 AM on February 3, 2011


Interesting that apparently days have passed without Apple taking any action.

If I remember the iOS developer agreement, developers get 70% of the sales, but are liable for 100% of the refunds. If the Mac App Store policy is the same - and it probably is - then every sale before Apple pulls the counterfeit app is still another 30 cents in Apple's pocket.
posted by kafziel at 9:35 AM on February 3, 2011


kafziel: "If I remember the iOS developer agreement, developers get 70% of the sales, but are liable for 100% of the refunds."

Ha ha?
posted by boo_radley at 9:47 AM on February 3, 2011


Is Lugaru good? I played like ten to fifteen minutes of it when I downloaded the Humble Indie Bundle, but didn't get much of a charge out of it.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:49 AM on February 3, 2011


Also, this not being the first I've heard of Lugaru, I watched a YT clip of it. Does anything interesting ever happen?

Anthropomorphic rabbits punch and kick each other. That's about it.
posted by IjonTichy at 9:49 AM on February 3, 2011


I'm not surprised the not-well-regulated Android Market has a counterfeiter problem, but I didn't expect Apple to be empowering evil like this. Oh wait... they worked with the RIAA on the original iTunes, AT&T for the iPhone and NewsCorp on "The Daily", so it's SOP.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:55 AM on February 3, 2011


But if they're rabbits, then they're not loup-garou; they would be lapin-garou.
posted by Jpfed at 10:02 AM on February 3, 2011


There are lots of problems for commercial iOS developers to overcome. This one is pretty egregious, because unless you hire a lawyer to issue a cease-and-desist, there's often not much to compel Apple to act. What if the person who ripped off Lugaru was actually the real owner of the copyrighted material, and the complainant was the thief? Apple has to set aside resources to investigate and decide who is telling the truth. Rosen should hire a lawyer, and let the law-talking people chew it out.

In this specific case, though, Apple would seem to benefit in taking a direct interest, because they lose money over this in the long haul. Even in volume sales, the thirty percent take of a counterfeit $0.99 app can be a lot smaller on the whole, than the take from the original $9.99 app, which is lost profits. If the sales numbers are sufficiently high, they would have some kind of financial incentive to come up with a solution to this.

On a personal level, I feel bad for Rosen: I've been there. About a month after I put up an educational app I had worked on for half a year, its documentation and user interface were more or less pulled intact into another developer's free app, which covered the same subject in a virtually identical way, with small cosmetic changes here and there. I wasn't bothered by the loss of sales, for a reason I'll mention shortly, but just that someone was so goddamn lazy as to steal my hard work to short-circuit the process. I don't make much off of that app, so there's no way I'll hire legal representation over it, but I did leave a review on his app page mentioning the unusual similarities.

Another problem that Apple is probably more on the hook for is the rampant piracy of commercial iOS apps. Stack Overflow mentions some technical ways to code safeguards into apps, which are not foolproof but probably deter casual ripoff artists. Apple doesn't do a lot to help developers protect their work from thieves. And regardless of whether the app is $0.99 or $9.99, or whatever, Apple loses money in any case — a lost sale will never make any money for them or for devs. They would seem to have an interest in coming up with better solutions, but perhaps they figure there is only so much they can do to prevent inevitable losses, or they are already making enough money that the cost-benefit has played out as designed. But it sucks, all around, especially for apps that are just a buck apiece. I just don't understand the level of cheapness that a pirate would not compensate someone for their hard work, when they are charging so little to begin with.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:25 AM on February 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does anything interesting ever happen?

The game is so difficult that it takes a while to be fun. Um, something about rabbits and wolves?

IDK. the combat system was a lot of fun, but the rabbit thing was weird.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:06 AM on February 3, 2011


Interestingly, both Lugaru apps seem to be gone from the App Store right now...
posted by mkultra at 12:13 PM on February 3, 2011


I'm normally the last to suggest involving lawyers, but I'd really like to see Wolfire seek legal remedy against both the fake developer and against Apple.
posted by Nelson at 5:03 PM on February 3, 2011


See also: Every game Zynga has done.
posted by meandthebean at 8:02 PM on February 3, 2011


...more on Zynga.
posted by meandthebean at 8:08 PM on February 3, 2011


"Counterfeit Lugaru has been removed from the App Store!"
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:30 AM on February 11, 2011


Anyone with access to the listings care to estimate how much money Apple made off of this? 30 cents a sale, with apparently the 60th best-selling game on the App Store.
posted by kafziel at 5:52 AM on February 11, 2011


The wronged developer notes We still haven't heard anything from Apple. IANAL, but it seems to me they have a serious case for damages against Apple.
posted by Nelson at 6:29 AM on February 11, 2011


Ah, Metafilter. Don't ever change.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:37 PM on February 11, 2011


It appears Apple has updated its app approval guidelines, perhaps in response to what happened with Lugaru:

If you attempt to cheat the system (for example, by trying to trick the review process, steal data from users, copy another developer's work, or manipulate the ratings) your apps will be removed from the store and you will be expelled from the developer program.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:02 PM on February 15, 2011


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