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How to report an illegal app
5 mins

How to report an illegal app

Table of Contents:

    Today, Apple and Google control more than 95% of the app store market share, outside of China. Apple’s App Store has over 1.76 million apps and Google Play has over 2.26 million. This tremendous sea of apps, games, brands and intellectual property (IP) has become the perfect hiding place for hundreds of thousands of fake, malicious, and illegal apps. 

    It is important for business owners, digital content owners, and legal professionals to know how to handle these illegal apps. The first step you must take to fight against these scammers and bad actors is to learn how to report an illegal app. Precise, thorough, and proactive reporting is the best way to diminish the impact of these illegal apps and protect your brand. 

    In this blog, we’ll be discussing a number of topics, including: 

    • What is an illegal app? 
    • How to report an illegal app on the App Store
    • How to report an illegal app on the Google Play store
    • How to report an illegal app on third-party app stores
    • How can Red Points assist with detecting and reporting illegal apps

    What is an illegal app? 

    An illegal app is an app that violates the policies, guidelines, and rules of an app store marketplace like the Google Play store or Apple’s App Store. An app may be categorized as illegal or malicious or incompatible with Android or Apple devices for a number of reasons. One of the many determining factors is whether the app presents security threats to users. Another significant factor is whether the app is violating the rules about content, intellectual property, and usage. 

    App store owners may reject apps if the app behaves in a way that risks physical harm, or if it includes depictions that encourage illegal behavior. They may also reject apps if they violate legal rules to do with privacy, data collection, data use, location services, children, and health. App pirates guilty of these sorts of violations have the potential to cause your business to lose revenue and damage your reputation. 

    The concept of an illegal or suspicious app is defined quite broadly for Google, Apple, and other third-party stores because they have a duty to protect users, protect themselves and uphold the laws of the countries in which they operate. If a malicious app does manage to slip through the checking process of these marketplaces then the next line of defense is reporting.  

    How to report an illegal app on the Apple App store

    If you believe that there is an app that is or has been, illegally violating your intellectual property on Apple’s app store, there is a simple process you can follow to report them:

    1. Visit Apple’s App Store Content Dispute page. The first step is to fill in your contact information. 
    1. Then ‘Select Disputed Content’ and attach a link to the potentially illegal app you wish to report. 
    1. In this next section, you will then be prompted to select an ‘Issue Type’ such as copyright, privacy, trademark, and the ‘Territory’ where you will be claiming the rights. 
    1. Apple will usually respond to your request within 2 to 6 days. 

    How to report an illegal app on the Google Play store

    1. Head over to Google’s Removing Content page. Select Google Play: Apps from the list. 
    1. Select the reason you wish to report the content. This may be for non-legal or legal reasons.  If it is for legal reasons, choose Personal Data/Privacy, Intellectual Property, or Other. 
    1. Within this section, once you select ‘Intellectual Property’ you will then be shown another set of options that will help you find your specific issue. The type of infringement will determine whether you are then shown the trademark or copyright form: 
    1. The next stage will be to provide details about your particular issue and how your intellectual property is being infringed. Here you can upload screenshots as evidence, as well as trademark registration documents and details to prove ownership of the intellectual property. 
    1. Google will usually respond to your report request within 2-3 weeks. 

    How to report an illegal app on third-party app stores

    There are a whole host of third-party app stores, each with its own diverse and particular ecosystem. Despite the differences between app stores like Appland, Amazon Appstore, SlideMe, Builds.io, and Aptoide, the reporting process is generally quite similar across platforms because it needs to be easy to use and reliable. Many use a basic form or request that you email them with all the relevant information. 

    Below are a couple of examples of how to report illegal apps on third-party app stores: 

    1. Builds.io

    BuildStore is a third-party alternative app store for iOS. To report an illegal app on this app store you need to send them a notice to their email: legal@builds.io. Among other information, the notice must include a description of the illegal app and the infringing content, and identification of the work or IP that you claim has been illegally copied, stolen, or modified. 

    1. Amazon Appstore

    If you spot an illegal app on the Amazon Appstore that is infringing your intellectual property in any way you can complete Amazon’s Report infringement form

    • Firstly, visit Amazon’s Report Infringement page and sign in. 
    • Once you’ve signed in, complete the ‘Allegation of Infringement’ section of the form. 
    • Then provide your contact details.
    • Finally, agree to the statements that you are sending this report in good faith, that all the information is correct, and that the information may be shared by Amazon with the reported sellers. Then press Submit.

    How can Red Points assist with detecting and reporting illegal apps

    While you can use the internal reporting systems of Apple, Google, and other third-party stores, this method is often not the most efficient or cost-effective way for businesses to operate. Going through every app marketplace to manually find and report illegal apps is not a good use of time for busy executives. 

    This is where Red Points can help. Red Points can enhance the monitoring and protection of your business’s mobile apps through modern anti-piracy services. 

    Red Points’ unique workflow has helped many businesses identify and enforce against illegal apps via 3 simple steps:

    1. Find

    Forget manually sifting through thousands of apps, look for the few illegal apps that are damaging your brand. Red Points’ automated bots will crawl through Apple, Google, and third-party app stores to detect illegal apps for you. Powered by machine learning, our bots will search with more accuracy each time to ensure that any potential infringements are detected. 

    All detected cases of potential infringement are consolidated on our platform where you can review them manually or enact custom rules that will automate the review process for you. 

    1. Remove

    Once an infringement has been confirmed Red Points then handles the reporting and follows through on the entire removal process of the infringement. Once a takedown has been completed we automatically share with you a recap of the reported infringement and a breakdown of how the removal process was carried out. 

    1. Analyze

    Once enforcement of your intellectual proper rights through our platform begins you can see the impact immediately with insightful performance dashboards and custom data reports. These metrics also enable us to calculate the economic impact of the enforcements you’ve made in real-time showing you how effective our platform is. 

    What’s Next

    It is vitally important for your business’s continued success that you understand how to report illegal apps and why you must have a proactive approach. When it comes to illegal or malicious apps, inaction will only lead to a loss of revenue and reputation. 

    You can manually report illegal apps through the internal systems and forms of app marketplaces, like Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play Store, or Amazon’s Appstore, if you have the time and resources to do so. Or, you can engage a scalable Mobile App Protection software like that provided by Red Points, which can handle the whole detection, reporting, and removal process for you. 
    To learn more about how to report an illegal app and how to keep your own app safe with Red Points’ app protection tool, speak to one of our experts.


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