Cult of Mac got into some trouble with commenters due to an article showing step-by-step how-to on installing pirated application on your iOS device. As an iOS developer I am not up in arms regarding Cult of Mac showing a step-by-step guide on how to install pirated applications. I will explain my reasoning.
Piracy is a fact of life on the Internet. There are those who refuse to pay for items. Whether it be software, music, movies or any other media they just out-right refuse to pay. You cannot change their behavior.
There are those who believe as though Cult of Mac is an absolutely horrible blog for posting a guide on how to install pirated applications. To be fair, they had a disclosure. Yes, it was a small one, but it was on the site none-the-less.
While discussing the incident with someone, I made the point that what Cult of Mac did is no different from a reporter showing you how to steal a car. They are not necessarily condoning the action, just showing you the means on how to do so. What you do with the information is entirely your responsibility. Below is a screen shot of their disclaimer since the original has been taken down.
As an iOS developer if my applications shows up on a pirate repository, what legal action do I really have. Sure I could complain and sue the repository; but is it worth the cost of going through a legal battle over lost sales? In a single word: No. It would not be worth my time or effort to actually pursue legal action. In a strange way, it could potentially be advertising by allowing those who do not want to pay for the App to not pay and potentially become supporters by telling others about the application. Sure, some of those users will pirate it as well, but some will not want to risk jailbreaking their device and will purchase it instead. Basically, I do not count pirated copies as lost sales.
One thing I have noticed is an increase in sensationalism and failure to recognize the extent of an issue. Take, for instance, the antenna issue that Apple has had to deal with regarding the iPhone 4. There are many within the Apple reporting universe that made the story out as 90% of iPhone 4s were defective; when this was clearly not the case. Yes, a portion of those who have purchased the iPhone 4 have experienced issues with AT&T and the antenna dropping quickly; but no where near 90%.
Actually, according to Apple’s own statistics only 0.55% of people called Apple to complain about their iPhone antenna issues. Out of the 1.7 Million iPhone 4s that were sold in the first three days this leaves only 9350 potential people who could call regarding the iPhone 4 antenna issue. This is not a small number, but 0.55% is small in the grand scheme of things.
The Sensationalism within the Apple reporting community needs to drop. There is no reason why everybody should think that a potential issue is the ‘absolute end of the world’ just because it happens to be something that everybody is reporting. These sensationalists are not reporting that 99% of iPhone 4 owners are completely satisfied with their iPhone 4.
Maybe it is just me, but Cult of Mac did not do anything wrong. They should not be persecuted within the Apple press for showing somebody how to install a pirated application on their phone. Yes, they should have made their intentions more clear up front. But you can not fault them for merely providing information.