Recently, a website was brought to my attention that at first glance, seems like a great idea. You essentially pay a $5.00 donation fee, every month, for access to ROMs, themes, apps, and support on how to properly use them. As good as that sounds, it’s not that cut-and-dry.
You see, the Android Community works on one very big honor system. Thanks to the open nature of Android, there’s nothing stopping any developers from stealing others work. Simply edit a file here, change a name there, and any ROM could actually pass for your own, when it quite frankly is not. Thanks to the people behind the community, this has never been a big problem. XDA is hands down the biggest collection of Android developers on the planet, and they always keep a watchful eye on the shadier side of Android. But they can’t always stop everything.
Right now, there is a thread on XDA titled “Help our Community – stop akaskriller – #NeverAgain (may contain NSFW language).” Apparently, someone going by the name akaskriller has been stealing other’s work, and hosting it behind a pay-wall where he takes all the credit for it. Akaskriller has posted an apology, but it wasn’t nearly a remedy for the situation. In fact, it’s rather painful to even read. No one can justify charging for someone else’s work by saying it was “hacked theme” or that they “themed them out,” only to go on later and say that it’s the original developer’s fault that they are bricking the phones of paying customers.
Because of the massive outcry for changes to be made, it looks like part of the madness has come to an end. A new disclaimer has been put up on the site in question, and files appear to be pulled. Unfortunately, there’s nothing stoping anyone from doing this again, but there is something you can do though. How is the originator of the help thread, and the portion of the community backing it, asking you to help out? It’s really rather simple.
Let your fellow Android brethren know that this kind of thing is not OK. Tell a developer thank you for all their hard work. Go buy a $0.99 app that you’ve been one the fence about. Get on Twitter, throw up a tweet about where you can find legit work from someone you respect, and let the world know that your community’s hard work will be stolen #NeverAgain.
Stolen material is a huge problem lurking in the shadows of the Android community, but it’s one that can easily be stamped out. Don’t support pirated warez, do support your favorite developers. That’s the only reason they do what they do, for a simple thanks from you.