December 16, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Thousands of Android fans have enjoyed ported versions of the HTC Sense widgets, Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein games on Android phones. There’s only one problem with that: those apps were ported by people who do not have a legal right to alter or distribute these products.
LevelUp Studio announced via its Twitter account that HTC had issued a cease-and-desist order regarding its Beautiful Widgets app that is identical to the flip clock, weather, and toggle widgets seen on Sense phones like the HTC Hero. Though it is momentarily still in the market, LevelUp announced that it will likely have to “discontinue Beautiful Widgets and Remove it from the market” in light of HTC’s letter.
Earning 10,000-50,000 downloads, Beautiful Widgets ranks among the most popular paid apps in the Android Market. Its takedown follows a similar instance in which an Android app faced challenges from a copyright holder. AndroidandMe learned on Sunday that ZeniMax Media filed a DMCA notice with Google and requested that Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein be removed from the Market.
There were 11 apps related to ZeniMax’s copyright, and there are also other apps in the Market that replicate HTC’s intellectual property. Their takedown is an eye-opener for developers who incorporate materials that they do not own into their work. Homescreen themes that include photos, sports team logos, and icons created by others are another example of market listings that could face trouble at some point. The Android Market may have 20,000+ apps at the moment, but that number could go down if copyright-holders start skimming through the Market more often.