My Downloader app is back in the Google Play Store for Android TV & Google TV devices

My Downloader app has now returned to the Google Play Store! The app was removed due to abusive use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by a law firm representing Israeli TV companies, which absurdly claimed that the app infringed their copyright because its built-in web browser could be used to load a piracy website. If you sideload Downloader while it was unavailable, you should uninstall the sideloaded version and install the Google Play Store version to ensure you have the latest app and continue to receive updates.

The app was removed on May 19th due to the DMCA takedown request. Instead of recognizing the absurdity of the claim that a web browser is somehow liable for all the unauthorized use of copyrighted content on the internet, Google took a backseat and denied my appeal to have the app reinstated. I filed a DMCA counter notification the same day, which started a 10 business day countdown for the law firm to file legal actions against me. Due to the app being removed on a Friday and the Memorial Day holiday, 10 business days had elapsed with no word from the law firm on June 6th and I contacted Google to have the app reinstated.

The following day, on June 7th, Google informed me the app was no longer suspended but that now it was rejected by Google due to an invalid data safety form. In yet another example of the Google Play Store’s absurdity, Google had determined that my app collected email addresses without declaring so. Since there is no way for my app itself to collect email addresses, and without any additional information or help from Google, I can only assume that Google is referring to the email mailing list signup form on this website, which loads by default in the web browser of the Downloader app.

Instead of trying to argue with a brick wall, I accepted defeat and updated the Play Store data safety form for my app and declared that the app collects email addresses. So now Downloader is flagged by the Google Play Store as collecting and sharing “personal info.” I assure you, the Downloader app itself does not collect or share any of your personal information. Well, unless you plan to file your taxes using the built-in web browser in Downloader because, apparently, once again, what is done in the web browser on the internet is somehow the fault of my app.

After updating the data safety form, Downloader was reinstated the following day on June 8th. The app was offline for 20 days, all because the DMCA is broken with no consequences for people, or TV corporations half a world away, that choose to abuse it for their own benefit. While it was only unavailable for about 3 weeks, the app has now lost 47% of its active users compared to the day before it was removed. If you’re willing, taking a minute to leave the app a positive review to help it recover from the downtime would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you to everyone that voiced your support for the app’s return and to all the great articles written about the app’s unjust removal.

21 comments
  1. Hugh Mc Bride says:

    Glad that the app has been restored to google play store, it should not have been removed by google

  2. O.R.M says:

    Elias, is there any legal recourse you can pursue against the entity/entities that filed the bogus DMCA claim against you?

    Any damages to your “customers” for not having access to your very useful utility for the days it was removed?

    Glad you were vindicated!

    By the way, perhaps you could create a specially crafted landing page your Downloader App uses that removes the eMail submission information/requests, thereby, enabling you to not have to make that privacy declaration! I would think that having the indication that you collect eMail addresses would potentially concern some users and discourage them from using your utility!

    Just a thought…

    • Ujn Hunter says:

      This would definitely be the way to go for me if I was developing it. Just a custom landing page for the App without the AFTVnews inbox subscription. Hope they don’t file any more bogus claims against you.

      • I’ll definitely be doing that. I just wanted it back up as soon as possible so I figured just agreeing with Google’s complaint was quicker than trying to explain changes I made to the site and hoping a sensible person was on the receiving end. Now that the app is live again, I’ll now make changes and request the declaration be removed.

    • joe blow says:

      You obviously don’t have any clue just ow powerful and litigious these people are do you

  3. c ag says:

    Fantastic.
    Congrats on getting it back in the play store.

  4. SCW says:

    Personally I’d have disabled the default mailing list that showed up in the web browser & instead made it an oversized hyperlink tab/box that was easily clickable if the person so wished to fill out the mailing list signup form. Then there should be no reason the app would be flagged or need to state it collects any data / email info.

    • The flaw in your logic is that it assumes there are actually sensible people reviewing this stuff on Google’s end :-P

      In all seriousness, I have no way to know what supposed email collection Google is referring to. It could be the mailing list form, it could be the comment form that also asks for an email address, or something else equally absurd. I considered ripping it all out of the site but figured the quickest and surefire way to get the app back up was to just declare that emails are collected and try to correct it later.

      • Jason says:

        Hi Elias,

        After the debacle – did Google somehow put up blocks preventing one from being able to sign into their Google play account to download apps using the downloaded app? When attempting to install, one cannot get past the enter email address form. Any thoughts?

  5. Edward Turner says:

    WELC0MEBACK

  6. Acidrain911 says:

    Simply the best of its kind! WB to where you belong.

  7. Edward Turner says:

    looking for app in playstorenot sure which one theres several downloader items

  8. El Rey de la teve says:

    great News! what about the app store from fire tv stick?

  9. Susan says:

    Play store states my device isn’t compatible!! Any suggestions?

  10. Asha says:

    @Elias Saba – is it a known issue that the downloader does not work correctly on Fire Tablets? Thanks!

  11. mo Hyatt says:

    Has downloader been removed again for google play. Cant find it 10/3/23

  12. dabbler says:

    App is not compatible with Android 14 – will you update it?

  13. Richard says:

    Why is you app not compatible with my phone it runs android 14
    It’s a goggle fold

  14. Allan says:

    Hi, My Samsung galaxy A9 tab says that my device is not compatible with this application. It prevously worked on my firestick and galaxy phone. Any suggestions please.

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