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 need your help! My Downloader app has been wrongly removed from @GooglePlay Store due to an absurd DMCA takedown from Israel TV @yescoil that claims because the web browser in the app can load a specific website with their infringed content that my app is violating copyright.
— AFTVnews (@AFTVnews) May 19, 2023
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.