Google takes down Downloader App following TV firms' complaints

Emre Çitak
May 29, 2023

Google has suspended the Downloader app from its Google Play Store following a complaint lodged under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The complaint, submitted by Israeli TV companies, alleges that the app facilitates access to the copyright-infringing website SDAROT.

Despite the availability of other standard browsers capable of loading the same pirate website, Google decided to take action against the popular app, which had amassed over 5 million installations.

App's developer Elias Saba has tweeted this:

Suspension of the Downloader app

The Downloader app, developed by Elias Saba, serves as a utility tool, combining a basic file manager with a web browser. However, according to the complaint, the app enables users to view SDAROT, a website notorious for copyright infringement.

Saba, in response, argues that the app merely provides a means to navigate to websites through its web browser functionality. Furthermore, he emphasizes that the app does not direct or encourage users to access any specific websites, except for his own blog, which loads as the default homepage.

Google bans Downloader app
App's developer Elias Saba claims that Google has banned the Downloader app for no reason - Image: AFTnews

While the Downloader app has been suspended on Google Play, it remains available through alternative channels. Users can still acquire the app from the Amazon app store for devices like Fire TVs or directly download it from the Downloader app's website as an APK file. Saba expressed his frustration with the suspension, highlighting the inconsistency in singling out his app when other browsers, including Google Chrome, also have the capability to load infringing websites.

Saba promptly filed appeals through both the Google Play Console and Google's DMCA counter-notification form. Unfortunately, his appeal via the Play Console was swiftly rejected, leaving him awaiting a response to his appeal filed through the DMCA counter-notification form. Saba hopes that public attention and support will prompt Google to reconsider its decision and reinstate the app.

DMCA's complaint

The DMCA complaint against the Downloader app was filed by a law firm representing several Israeli TV companies, including HOT Telecommunications Systems, DBS Satellite Services, United King Video, and Charlton.

The complaint references permanent injunctions issued by an Israeli court and a US federal court against the SDAROT website. However, despite these legal actions, the website in question continues to be operational.


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  1. Anonymous said on June 2, 2023 at 1:31 am

    That sort of abuse is exactly why we need the right not to be locked-in with only Big Tech application stores as install sources. Restricted or banned adblockers and tracker blockers on the Google Play Store, by Google policy this time, are another example.

    1. Kirk said on June 7, 2023 at 5:13 am

      At least for right now, Play store is not the only way but the way Android is moving forward, Google seems to be bent on making it tough to sideload apk s.

  2. Yash said on May 29, 2023 at 2:13 pm

    Take one down two will take its place. When will these companies understand the solution to piracy is affordable plans that can attract consumers without taking an unnecessary chunk out of their pocket.

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