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The Difference between Stealing and Stealing.

8 April 2009

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I read an article yesterday over at AppleInsider about iTunes scammers trying to hook in App Developers to profit from fake iTunes Gift Card Codes. Basically, since Apple offers 70% profit to App Developers the scammers offer to buy the App a bunch of times, and they’ll split the profit.

I found this very anger-making. Not only because they’re obviously not being up-front about the Gift Card Codes being totally fake, but also because no matter if they get caught our not, someone is the victim, and it’s not the scammer. If Apple finds that the (what I can only assume are fake) iTunes accounts used to make the purchases they’ll likely pull back the payment from the App Developer, and if they can’t do that they are out hundreds (or probably more like thousands) of dollars.

My first anti-reaction was basically “Oh, Chantelle, who are you to judge, you’ve been known to Bittorrent a few movies, and watch TV shows on Megavideo, isn’t that stealing too?”. Short answer, Yes.  Long answer is as follows;

Since the dawn of Internet Piracy, there has been, undeniably, a code of Conduct. An honour among thieves, if you will. For a tongue-in-cheek (but accurate) example see this Gizmodo Article. The above scam breaks this code, and hurts hard working iPhone Developers in the process. Please don’t think that I’m outraged because of some sort of misplaced loyalty to Apple… I understand that the overwhelming devotion that Apple users have for that company is an unrequited love.

Fake iTunes Gift Card codes are wrong to begin with, but trying to drag a hard-working App Developer into it with you is just evil. The simple fact of the matter is that they’re exploiting the open-development-revenue-sharing model that Apple built for the App store is the part that pisses me off the most.

So maybe I’m being a hypocrite for feeling OK if someone downloads Season 2 of Hell’s Kitchen instead of going out and buying the DVDs, but still being outraged at the mere idea of stealing money via the App Store. But as far as I am concerned, it’s Apples and Oranges. (Pun Intended).

Your Opinion?