Google takes down Downloader App following TV firms' complaints
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:
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
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.
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.
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.Advertisement