The US Department of Justice (DoJ) made some headway against app piracy, after members of group Applanet pleaded guilty to distributing more than four million pirated copies of copyrighted Android apps, worth around $17 million.
From May 2010 until August 2012, the group they were part of reproduced and distributed more than four million copies of copyrighted Android apps through the Applanet alternative online market, without permission from copyright owners who would otherwise sell copies of the apps on legitimate online markets for a fee.
In August 2012, the FBI had seized their website, the first such case for a website involving a mobile device app marketplace.
Aaron Blake Buckley pleaded guilty to “one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and to one count of criminal copyright infringement”, while Gary Edwin Sharp II pleaded guilty back in January to “one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement”.
The two are scheduled to be sentenced on 1 August.
Sharp also pleaded guilty for his role in conspiring to commit criminal copyright infringement as the leader of another online piracy group, the SnappzMarket Group.
He admitted that he and two others in this group distributed more than one million pirated copies of copyrighted Android apps worth $1.7 million through the group’s website, which was also seized in August 2012.