Springtomize 1.3 Has A 92.1% Piracy Rate, According To Developer Filippo Bigarella

Filippo Bigarella (@FilippoBiga) posted the download stats for Springtomize 1.3 on Twitter yesterday. The developer has tracked the download stats for his apps in the past, but this time the Pirates outweigh the legitimate buyers 92.1% to a pitiful 7.9%.

Springtomize 1.3 Has A 92.1% Piracy Rate

This doesn’t necessarily represent a 92.1% loss in sales. That would imply that if the pirates were unable to install a cracked copy of Springtomize they would each buy a legitimate copy from the Cydia Store. Many of the features available in Springtomize are available in other free apps, and were available before Springtomize showed up. Just as it wouldn’t make a difference to Microsoft’s bottom line if you pirated Microsoft Office instead of installing free software like LibreOffice, installing alternative apps to Springtomize doesn’t put Filippo in a better financial position than pirating his apps would.

Piracy’s not scummy because it directly hurts Filippo, but because 92.1% of iPhone users who enjoyed Springtomize took advantage of Filippo’s work without compensating the guy. That just sucks.

Let me make this clear: I don’t support piracy. I am very much opposed to it. My parents worked as artists and entertainment professionals. So have many of their friends. I was brought up in a household where our livelyhood relied on creators having certain rights to their intellectual property.

I have special sympathy for the developers who make software on Cydia. These homebrew devs aren’t faceless, cynical corporations. They’re more often than not individuals who invest their own time, energy, and expertise into making apps. They’re not paid salaries for making these apps. Any profit they see from their work comes directly from the apps themselves.

So what can developers do to discourage piracy? Here’s my idea: if developers can track cracked versions of their software, why not include a script that detects whether the app has been cracked into the app itself (à la Earthbound’s anti-piracy scheme)? Instead of rendering the app unusable, it could merely present a message accompanied with a photograph of the developer holding a packet of Mr Noodles. It should say, “My name’s Filippo Bigarella. I designed Springtomize. I only ask $2.99 for my time and expertise yet 92.1% of users like you pirated this app. I’m not going to try to stop you from enjoying Springtomize, but please buy the app legally on Cydia.”

Springtomize v1.3

Staple food of the people pirates of homebrew apps take advantage of.

For this to work, it is essential that this message be benign. If the app outright attempted to thwart being cracked, it would be a cat and mouse game until the crackers managed to bypass it anyway. By leaving a harmless dialog in the app, which most crackers wouldn’t have enough skill or incentive to remove, the message can get to more people.

If you were a developer, how would you deal with iPhone piracy? Would you try to appeal to the pirate’s better nature through messages? Would you go to the source and lock out alternative repositories? How about going nuclear and doing away with jailbreaks altogether? Let us know what you think would work best in the comments section below.

(Yes, I know iJailbreak.com recently featured a story on Installous. In the interest of full disclosure: I have used the service exactly once, to snag Last.FM after it was pulled from the Canadian iTunes store. Because of Installous, I paid to subscribe to Last.FM for another year before I grew utterly bored of it. The take-home point is that software tools are only as good or bad as the intentions behind the people who use it, and I will gladly reimburse Last.FM for the sale cost of their free app.)

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002032147132 Adan Xor

    Not saying that 3bucks is a lot. Just saying that if the apps were all 1 buck they’d have a way easier time.
    I’d also like to point out that they should charge for the jailbreak. Well only if it meant that it would come out super quickly. Hate waiting long stretches of time for jb’s >.<. 

    Super grateful though… haha now I feel like a douche

  • Crs2027

    I’ve never actually used this mod, but what bothers me is how does the developer know these stats?  spyware?

  • tyson

    jailbreakers work hard, to release jailbreak for free, so if it was not for them, non of the cydia tweaks or even cydia that also is free would be available.
    so if jailbreak is free so should be all tweaks, for the apple jb community.

  • Ste_

    He will know because most secs talk to each other and jay the creator of cydia will have all the download stats. Just the same as apple do with the app store.

  • http://Michaelschnier.tumblr.com Michael Schnier

    Analytics, actually.

  • http://Michaelschnier.tumblr.com Michael Schnier

    Saurik and the devs who release the jailbreaks disagree.

  • G|T

    I think this will end with ip firewall sales skyrocketing lol

  • Blitz

    It’s funny how he’s uncomfortable with his app being pirated, when he’s selling it on a platform which is not endorsed by apple itself, and thus cydia would be considered a platform for jailbroken iDevices, or “pirated” devices in a sense. It’s funny how moral issues come up when that person is the one being affected. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3HSFOTKE574XZGQWM63DPGZXHU billy

    easy, i would suggest fillippo to stop updating the app, and make some more apps for app store instead. and i hope dev stop releasing jb tools. I’m sure he can then afford to eat meat everyday.

  • http://Michaelschnier.tumblr.com Michael Schnier

    How is allowing consumers to run arbitrary code on a device they own equivalent to taking someone’s intellectual property without paying for it? Cydia is open source and isn’t an infringement of anyone’s intellectual property.

  • http://Michaelschnier.tumblr.com Michael Schnier

    Apple like Springtomize aren’t possible in the App store, and App store apps get pirated too.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/3HSFOTKE574XZGQWM63DPGZXHU billy

     i didnt say it has to be like springtomize. and app store apps get pirated because jb tools exist.

  • Nor

    I actually downloaded this exact app from another source and it had a message in it. It was something sweet, a bit like “My name’s Filippo Bigarella. I designed Springtomize. I only ask $2.99 for my time. I’m not going to try to stop you from enjoying Springtomize, but please buy the app legally on Cydia” and I felt bad about what I did and subsequently downloaded the app legally. I only used it for about a week but it was fun. Although I don’t think everyone is as nice as me.

  • http://Michaelschnier.tumblr.com Michael Schnier

    But PC software get pirated. Does that mean that all software should have to be approved by a corporate entity before I’m allowed to run it?

  • Troof

    LOL, all because of a text image he posted on twitter.  Great reporting guys.  Good, his tweaks are weak.  Never updated one of his most expensive ones, sms+ and springtomize is like every free tweak in one and super sloppy.  

    He should take lessons from the intelliscreen guys on antipiracy.  He’s a baby.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Walsh/745316848 Richard Walsh

    wow. for once I am part of the 7.89%
    I am against people pirating things when they are reasonably priced,
    and affordable for that particular person.
    I am a uni student (and therefore have veeeery little money),
    so to me, everything is super expensive.
    But I bought this as it really wasn’t much,
    and I was using it a LOT.
    The things I don’t buy are things like video games,
    that even when several years old,
    are still >$90 (COD anyone?!!).
    Also, I don’t see it as necessarily stealing in regards to digital content if you would not have purchased the product anyway, as then the artist has not lost anything.
    In particular, with regards to music;
    If I download an album by an artist that I have not heard of before,
    then they could potentially make more money then the CD is worth by me then attending concerts and buying merchandise.
    It’s like free advertising.
    But what I find disappointing, is when people who can easily afford stuff pirate it.
    If I had the money I would much rather buy a physical CD/DVD then download it.