In the complaint, the group mentions the DMCA Law when saying that the browser allows its users to “view the infamous copyright infringement site known as SDAROT”, which is also possible through Chrome, Google’s own browser that remains available on the Play Store.
Upon noticing the problem, Elias Saba, developer of Downloader, expressed his indignation by saying:
If loading a website with infringing content in a standard web browser is sufficient to violate the DMCA, all Google Play Store browsers including @googlechrome must also be removed. It’s a ridiculous claim and an abuse of the DMCA.
If loading a website with infringing content in a standard web browser is enough to violate DMCA, then every browser in the Google Play Store including @googlechrome should also be removed. It’s a ridiculous claim and an abuse of the DMCA.
— AFTVnews (@AFTVnews) May 19, 2023
Saba posted a note on the app’s official website explaining the situation:
I appealed the app suspension with Google and was rejected about an hour later, which says a lot about the appeals process. I submitted a different “counter notice” request, but I don’t have high hopes for it to reinstate my application. Now all I can do is ask for your help in getting 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.
Furthermore, the developer alleges that its browser does not direct users to the cited website nor has any affiliation with it, making the accusation “ridiculous”.
In response to the complaints, Google says it has given the Israeli group 10 days to file “an action seeking a court order to restrict the allegedly infringing activity or a claim of infringement with the Copyright Claims Board of the Copyright Office. from the USA”.
If no appeals are forthcoming, Google says the Downloader should return to the Play Store, but Saba says the damage has already been done, as the app’s user count dropped 36% a week after it was suspended. The Download is still available on the Amazon App Store and on the official website via APK.
Finally, the question remains: when will Google start to actually analyze what can enter and be removed from its app store? These episodes seem to indicate a lack of care by the company in these processes.
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