Home One of the Games from the Humble Indie Bundle Counterfeited in the Mac App Store

One of the Games from the Humble Indie Bundle Counterfeited in the Mac App Store

If you’re looking for a little bunny rabbit combat video game, consider Lugaru. But if you go to purchase the game from the Mac App Store, beware. There are two versions. One (for sale for $9.99) is Wolfire Games’ – the startup is the creator of the game. The other’s being sold by iCoder for $1.99. “Imagine our surprise,” says Wolfire Games’ co-founder Jeffrey Rosen, when the startup found that someone they’d never heard of was selling their game via Apple’s new app store, and at a price that severly undercut the official version.

“This is a kind of software fraud we’ve never even heard of,” writes Rosen in a blog post this evening, “a pirate simply downloading the app and resubmitting it to the same distribution channel at a lower price. We immediately emailed Apple explaining the situation, expecting them to quickly investigate the situation, shut down the fraudulent app, and follow up with us. We started this process a few days ago, and haven’t heard back from Apple yet.”

Rosen says he’s also struck out with contacting iCoder. But in an article in the gaming blog Kotaku, iCoder’s Alex Matlin claims that “we have every legal right to market and sell the software, and we feel that $1.99 is a fair price.”

His justification for the claim: the release of Lugaru’s source code last May.

That was an act done “in the spirit of the Humble Indie Bundle,” a phenomenally successful pay-what-you-want video game sale, organized by Wolfire Games. At the end of the campaign, Lugaru, along with three of the other games that were part of the game bundle, went open source.

Lugaru’s source code was released under the GPL or “general public license,” one of the most common licenses for open source software. But while developers are free to hack away at the Lugaru code, Wolfire Games does retain all the legal rights to the characters and the game assets. Open sourcing Lugaru’s code certainly doesn’t give others the right to sell the game in the Mac App Store.

The folks at Wolfire Games have long been proponents of open source, often making the argument that it’s a great way for indie game developers to help improve the code – and of course the games – they build. Rosen says he fears “this incident may make developers much less likely to release the source code to their games.”

We’ve contacted Apple for comment, and will update when we hear more. It’s not the first time that open source developers have run into problems with the new Mac Store, most recently when VLC was pulled after a developer claimed its presence there ran afoul of the GPL.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.