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App store copyright infringement is a thing, and here’s how to report it
Brand Protection
5 mins

App store copyright infringement is a thing, and here’s how to report it

Table of Contents:

    The emergence of technological advancements has led many people to embrace the use of the internet and mobile applications. Around 255 billion apps were downloaded globally in 2022, and that figure is expected to rise further.

    Apps are designed for specific devices and operating systems. Since Android and iOS are the two most popular mobile operating systems, Google Play and the Apple App Store are the world’s largest app distribution platforms.

    However, there have been reports of cybercriminals stealing people’s apps without their permission. This is referred to as copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is a serious offense, and if you do nothing, the offender may continue to profit from your efforts.

    This article explores what copyright infringement is and what you need to do to report copyright infringement on the app store.

    What is copyright infringement?

    Copyright infringement generally refers to the unapproved use or reproduction of someone else’s intellectual property, like a song, photo, book, movie, or artwork. 

    Such use is often in a commercial setting and can include downloading, copying, sharing, or selling software without the rights holder’s permission. Basically, it involves using someone else’s copyrighted materials for personal gain. 

    App developers need to know about copyright laws and legitimate royalty-free sources so they don’t break the law and get in trouble. If they don’t, they could get in trouble with the law and have to pay a lot of money if it turns out that they broke copyright rules in an app store.

    Can an app be copyrighted?

    Intellectual property law is complicated, and it has always only been used for things you can touch, like books and music scores. However, with the incredible development of technology over the past few decades, it has become increasingly more difficult to answer that question definitively. 

    Generally speaking, if an app contains elements of original creative labor that go beyond just coding basic functionality, then it likely will be eligible for copyright protection. 

    In order to ensure that copyright law is applicable, software developers are encouraged to register their creations with both state and federal governments. 

    That way they are certain they have the proper legal protections should someone decide to use their material without permission. 

    What you need to copyright an app

    If you are looking to copyright your app, the first thing to determine is if your app qualifies for copyright protection. Ultimately, you must have an original work of authorship that can be expressed in a tangible form. 

    Beyond this requirement, there are certain materials you will need in order to apply for copyright registration of an app. These include: providing a description of the app; providing screenshots of each screen view.

    Provide supporting documentation such as a software architecture diagram or flow chart, and submit a copy of the source code or object code (if applicable). 

    After ensuring that all required documents are prepared and compiled in your application package, you can submit your application online or via paper submission. 

    With the proper preparation and materials, registering your creativity with copyright will help ensure exclusive rights to your app’s unique expression!


    App store copyright infringement examples

    Copyrights are a major issue in app stores, with some developers and publishers taking the work of others, claiming it as their own, or copying their works closely. 

    One example is when someone reverses engineers a piece of code to create an identical copy that performs the same functions. 

    Other examples include plagiarism, which is when a developer copies another’s work word-for-word or almost verbatim. People who illegally distribute copyrighted material or duplicate products can also be infringing on copyright laws. 

    Even taking someone else’s artwork and using it in an app without permission can be considered copyright infringement. 

    It’s important for app store developers to be extremely mindful of copyright laws, as not doing so could leave them open to penalties from the owners of copyrighted material.

    How to report an app copyright infringement to Apple and Google

    To properly report an app copyright infringement to both companies, you must fill out the correct forms with all of the necessary information. 

    Apple Store

    1. For Apple, if you are a copyright owner and believe that an infringement is taking place on or through Apple’s website or another online network, you may submit a complaint using the copyright complaint web form.

    2. You’ll need to provide your contact information plus full details on why the app is violating your copyrighted work.

    3. Make sure that you also include evidence such as proof of ownership along with screenshots of the offending app. 

    Play Store

    4. Google’s copyright policies and the consequences for publishers who violate these rules are well documented. You can file a DMCA takedown request if you believe an app has infringed on your intellectual property.

    5. They will require documentation verifying your identity as well as a written explanation on why the complaint should be taken seriously and any evidence that you may have. 

    6. In both cases, providing ample proof is key for getting an effective response from both App Stores. 

    Automated app reporting: How busy executives handle copyright enforcement (with Red Points)

    Monitoring & Detecting

    Busy executives have an incredibly difficult job, and with the burdens of copyright enforcement looming over them, they may feel overwhelmed. Thankfully, automated app reporting tools like Red Points’ are revolutionizing this process by making it easier than ever to monitor and detect copyright infringement. 

    Utilizing proprietary technologies such as image recognition algorithms and keyword search, organizations can move from static manual monitoring into a more streamlined, digital-first approach. 

    It checks for any possible infringements across multiple platforms and devices, instantly alerting when an in is detected. 

    With this specialized service, progress can be made toward global copyright protection so creators can feel confident when sharing their work with others.

    Validation and Prioritization

    Identifying and prioritizing which infringements have a higher risk to your business will ensure that you are tackling what’s most critical to your business. 

    Knowing that busy executives require a streamlined and efficient way to manage incidents, Red Points works closely with customers to understand their specific needs and priorities, uploading all relevant assets into the platform. As a result, whenever our system detects an incident that meets the specified criteria, it is flagged as high risk to our customers for them to review and instruct the necessary next steps.


    Assuring adequate copyright protection for their content is a major challenge for app developers. Automated app reporting gives brands the ability to validate and enforce infringements with the click of a button. It is also possible to automate takedown requests based on set up rules, so that the enforcing process runs in the background with no interruption. 

    Economic Impact

    Tracking the economic impact of your brand protection efforts can be a difficult task, but Red Points makes it easy. We have a specific dashboard that provides an estimate of the revenue you are getting back from your enforcement as well as the economic value of your incidents.

    With this tool, you will have access to a comprehensive overview of all of the enforcement you are doing, along with asset-specific information.

    Custom reports 

    Red Points provides a personalized approach to each customer’s needs by taking the time to understand their goals and objectives. This allows us to create custom reports which are tailored perfectly to fit their individual requirements.

    Our team is skilled in creating filters and using other tools to present data in a way that is meaningful and actionable. 

    What’s next?

    Copyright infringement on app stores can be a significant drain not just on the business but also on its profits. When copyright laws are being broken, it’s best to file a complaint right away. 

    Depending on your specific circumstances and the size of the company, automated tools like Red Points can help you protect your intellectual property with ease. At the same time, it’s also important to remember that copyright laws depend on each jurisdiction; that’s why seeking local counsel is a good way forward when looking into this matter. 

    Protecting your brand from App Store copyright infringement is paramount in ensuring you have control over how your products and services are presented, advertised, used, and perceived. Knowing what to do in order to protect your brand is essential as there are many risks associated with allowing infringing products or companies to appear on app stores. 

    Not only can this lead to loss of profits but it can also damage the reputation of your brand as well as leave yourself vulnerable to legal action if a product copied from another company is sold under your name.

    To avoid these issues from occurring, it is important to become knowledgeable about the various techniques and strategies available for protecting against violations of copyright law. 

    Doing so will allow you to proactively monitor for any occurrence of infringement and take appropriate actions when necessary in order to protect both your brand and intellectual property.

    If you’re looking to remove fraudulent apps to protect your customers, revenue and reputation, contact us today – we’re here to help!

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