My Downloader app was absurdly removed from the Google Play Store because the built-in browser can load a piracy website

This past Friday, my Downloader app was suspended and removed from the Google Play Store due to an absurd Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint from a law firm representing several Israel cable/satellite TV companies, including Yes TV and Hot TV. The lawyer Eran Presenti claims that because my app’s web browser is able to load some specific “copyright infringing website” (e.g., piracy website), which I have no association with, that it somehow makes my app infringe his client’s copyright. Google has rejected my appeal so now I ask for your help.

The reasoning submitted by the lawyer for why my app should be removed, which Google agreed with twice, is as follows: (I’ve removed the piracy website name and domain, but the rest is unchanged, with grammatical errors and all.)

this app which can be downloaded to any Android based device including smart TV – allows users to view the infamous copyright infringing website known as [REMOVED] (www.[REMOVED].tw) against which the are 2 Isareli court and a NY Federal court judgments issuing permanent injunction against the saus website.

Any rational person would agree that you can’t possibly blame a web browser for the pirated content that exists on the internet, but that is exactly what has happened to my app. For those that need the clarification, my app in no way directs users to any specific website other than my own, which is loaded by default, yet alone some random piracy website. Among other functions, my app has a built-in web browser and URL bar that can be used to load any website the user enters.

I appealed the app suspension with Google and was rejected about an hour later, which tells you a lot about the appeal process. I’ve submitted a different “counter notification” request, but I don’t have high hopes it will reinstate my app. Now, all I can do is ask for your help to get the word out in hopes that someone sane with the right influence will recognize how absurd it is to take down a web browser because piracy exists on the open internet. Please tweet to @GooglePlay, retweet my plea, and reach out to any news outlets, YouTubers, or influencers that you think would want to bring attention to this.

The over 5 million users that already have my Downloader app installed on a Google TV or Android TV device can continue to use the app, but if you uninstall it you will not be able to reinstall it from the Google Play Store. To anyone with a new device that wants the app, you should download the latest APK directly from me and sideload the app. Downloader remains in the Amazon appstore and is available for all Fire TV devices because Amazon is not incompetent, like Google. Maybe now, while all Fire TV models are on sale, is a good time to consider switching from Android TV to Fire TV. Just saying.

  1. Ujn Hunter says:

    Bogus. Guess Netscape is next in the crosshairs! Look out! WWW coming to get us all in 2023! (Seriously though, that is Bogus and Google Play is obviously on Auto-Pilot not even reading claims).

  2. Tenderfoot56 says:

    Yes, this seems absurd to anyone with just a half a brain. I would like to know of Firefox, Google, Opera and all other web browsers can access this unnamed site on the internet? Unfortunately, sometimes, you just can’t fix “Stupid”.

    • Adam says:

      Makes me wonder if the attorneys are trying to extort a settlement from Elias and other small software authors.

  3. c ag says:

    Most likely a denial from google Bard, their AI “assistant”.
    No human involved, how would you be able to tell?
    Bard looked up the developer, Elias, and gets ALL possible information from birth until the present day about Elias and finds… He worked for Amazon…(This Amazon word is a “key” in Bard’s search algorithm).
    Appeal DENIED!!

  4. Neil says:

    Reminds me of the time I reported someone selling a gun on FB marketplace. FB responded with something like “after reviewing the post, we’ve determined this does not violate Facebook Marketplace guidelines”. Tells you everything you need to know about how these processes are dealt with.

    I really feel for you, so frustrating.

  5. USAMAC says:

    Doesn’t Google own Chrome browser still? They haven’t stopped distributing it and that’s been the go-to browser for all things including piracy for way too long!

  6. Steve says:

    Countersue for a frivolous law suit and collect triple damages. You can file such a case Pro se (without a lawyer) for a minimal filing fee. If it’s as simple as you’ve stated you’re sure to win – but more likely their lawyer will back down or try to settle with you so as to avoid going before a judge and being chastised for filing a frivolous suit.

  7. GL says:

    Have evidence like other browser apps in the App Store which allow the piracy websites and some copyright infringement websites that way you have evidence to support your plea. Other arguments helpful in the plea or lawsuit would be an argument where this list of bad websites be provided by the operating system so all browsers installed can share it and provide preventive measures. Granted chrome browser might do it but makes sense to store it locally or provide access to that list even if stored in google cloud.

  8. Nate says:

    Elias, if anything, you should be helping this law firm with their DMCA claims, not fighting it! No, hear me out! You could drop an invaluable tip to them that will surely get you in their good graces and stop >all< piracy once and for all! From what I understand, Microsoft makes the world's most popular operating system in Windows; and just what operating system have some of these scoundrels used to access those piracy websites on their PCs?! That's right. Windows. I anxiously await their lawsuit against Microsoft. Time to present Presenti the real facts!!1111

    Being serious, in my opinion this an absolutely egregious misuse of Google's DMCA process. Is this a case of someone picking on you as you sit atop the Fire TV app throne? Knowing that the small guy doesn't have the finances to have an elongated legal battle? A whole host of other applications can be used for the exact same thing as Downloader, so why the selective punishment? Why not go after Google or Mozilla for having browsers that can achieve the same thing?

    I hope common sense prevails if we get enough traffic on this issue to Google to highlight the absolutely ignorance of this takedown.

  9. Dave says:


    I’d contact torrentfreak regarding this. Sounds like this situation would be of interest to them. They’ve gotten results with inquiries regarding similar scenarios (DMCA Takedown Notices).

    • Nate says:

      Good suggestion, Dave.

      It looks as though they have already picked it up, which is great to see. The article can be found here:

      • Adam says:

        Very nice write up.

        • Yeah, they did a great job and I’m very thankful for it. I think my situation would have already been dead in the water without TorrentFreak’s article. Now Ars Technica wrote about it and others are also picking it up. It sucks that it comes down to rallying as many people behind me as I can instead of being able to have a simple logical conversation with someone at Google, but that’s my only choice right now.

          • SamNYC says:

            I know almost nothing about the topic, I don’t own Fire or Google TV, and I’ve never heard of Downloader. But for reasons unknown, the Cordcutter article popped up in my Google news feed. That led me down a 3 hr rabbit hole which ended here. Cordcutter sent me to TorrentFreak, whose articles are filled with related links. I clicked on every one of them and even did some Google searches on relevant terms (including your name — I never realized that “Elias Saba” is such a popular name!). I think I’m now caught up now, and I’m outraged. Both by the Israeli lawsuit and Google’s [in]action.

            As others have said, do contact the EEF. I don’t have much influence, but I’m a news junkie. I’m pretty sure the NY Times and CNN would be interested in this story. I’ll contact both but you should too. David and Goliath stories have a human interest side that even non-techies like.

            Finally, shoot an email to Kim Kardashian! She apparently has millions of followers who will lobby for her whims. I’m only half-kidding. While most of her followers are likely airheads, she’s supposedly studying for some law certificate. And she’s already promoted a few high profile legal causes. This could be a interesting case for her to promote, given its novelty and relatability. I have no connection to her but you might seriously consider piquing her interest.

            Best of luck. I’ll be following this case closely.

          • SamNYC says:

            CNN’s tech reporter is Brian Fung. He seems like the perfect person to contact since his specialty is the intersection of Business, Technology and Public Policy. Here’s his Twitter page:


  10. Tired8281 says:

    Bad faith time! File a claim on every browser and app that contains browsing functionality. Make today the browser apocalypse. Force Google to publicly adopt a double standard.

  11. James says:

    Heard about this.Unfornately,am no longer on Twitter.Do not like it.Sorry.Still,I wish you luck.

  12. Geoff Kopping says:

    Playstore took the easy way out and bigger the consequencs.
    But such acts will have consequencs.

  13. DC Infowarrior says:

    Contact the EFF so their legal team can take Google and those Zionist scumbags to court.

    Time to reform or abolish the DMCA, and time for Congress to investigate these Big Tech tyrants who openly violate the DMCA.

  14. Freemz says:

    By that logic, shouldn’t Google remove their Chrome app, shouldn’t Apple remove Safari, Microsoft remove Bing and so on, Developer modes be abolished so devs can’t test new apps, phone be block to only access call and messages, Oh and back to Google, maybe they need to blitz YouTube, sure theyl6have a field day on there for pirate content. Almost everything about Google is pirate, copy,fraud, data grab etc etc.

    What a rediculous world we’re becoming.

  15. ole says:

    i find it unbelievable to block the really useful App for such flimsy reasons.

  16. Gotact says:

    Someone likely penned an article detailing how to circumvent the injunction by utilizing your application, and you were caught in the crossfire. It is the same as this browser and is still accessible on iOS and Android. Similarity exists. If I were you, I would use this as an example.

  17. KraziJoe says:

    We all will, Walk With Elias

  18. Mick says:

    I have downloader installed on my fire 7 9th gen tablet. Today it says that it’s not available. That it was based on an older fire os. And, that developer has been notified to update downloader. Is this a coincidence?

    • I’ve never released Downloader for Fire tablets, so you’re probably seeing that message because you sideload the app. Amazon should correctly mark all Fire tablets as incompatible until I make some changes. The app mostly works on tablets but I’ve purposely kept it off until I have the time to make some minor adjustments to ensure everything works well on tablets.

  19. Manabi says:

    Google has to restore your app in 10 to 14 days after your filed your counter notice unless the Israeli lawyers notify Google they’ve filed a lawsuit against you over the app. From here:

    Counter-notice — User may submit a counter-notice requesting the reinstatement of the material, if the user believes the removal was due to a mistake or misidentification.

    Restore Access or Initiate Court Action — Online service provider must restore access to the material after no less than 10 and no more than 14 business days, unless the original notice sender informs the service provider that it has filed a court action against the user.

    If they don’t put it back up as required, you should contact the EFF and the ACLU, because at that point your rights are being violated.

  20. Alex says:

    Que tal estimado, soy desarrollador de apps, subí frecuentemente muchas apps a Google playstore, te comento que el desafío más grande viene por lo siguiente, su quieres subir una nueva app te toparas con la traba de que tú manifiesto incluye la actividad REQUEST_INSTALL_PACKAGE prohibido por Google playstore y seguramente tú app ya lo incluía por ser un app de muchos años, y además hoy día están revisando apps viejas y botandolas

  21. joe blow says:


  22. badbob001 says:

    How about submitted a DMCA for Chrome with the exact same evidence and reference this case?

  23. Harry Barracuda says:

    Ironically, I would never have heard of the website if they hadn’t drawn attention to it in this way 55555555

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