After hitting 1 million downloads in less than four months a few weeks ago, Themer was suspended from the Play store on the night of February 2nd due to a copyright concern regarding our "Seven" theme (which is just one of over 200 themes available in Themer). Apple Inc. claimed that several icons used in Seven infringed their copyrights. We immediately removed this theme and thought that, at worst, Themer would be back on Play in a few days. But now a week later, we're facing the possibility that a few days might turn into a few weeks. We've spoken to legal representatives from Apple (who have been very nice, reasonable, and helpful), and they have no remaining concerns. But apparently, Google has a process for these things, and there's nothing we can do to accelerate that process. Unfortunately, we still have not heard from anyone at Google.
We've included the letter from Google we woke up to on the morning of February 3rd at the end of this post.
We replied to Google's letter and have contacted everyone in our Rolodex that could help to restore Themer. Because Google does not provide an advocate for developers (or even a single point of contact), we're stuck emailing random people who may or may not be able to assist.
So when will Themer be back on the Play store? It's frustratingly impossible to predict. Someone at Google must first confirm that the content in question has been removed and follow their own internal procedures before they flip the "on" switch. It's likely that we are in a queue, waiting with other apps that require evaluation.
Why not release the APK? Because we prefer to not circumvent the Play store. Doing so would result in those users not getting updates. And since we have an aggressive upgrade schedule on our way to Themer 1.0 (non-beta), that's a non-starter.
We set out to create the best homescreen experience available for Android by allowing beautiful themes to be applied with one click. We've been thrilled by the response from the press and from our users. People love Themer, and that makes us really happy. Nothing has changed on our end in terms of the development path and the future we envision for the app. In fact, we're near completion of a new version that offers memory and battery optimizations, new customization options for the app drawer, and tons of bug fixes. We'll be ready to get this update out as soon as we're back on the Play store.
Current users will continue to be supported with new themes daily and assistance with any software issues via support.themerapp.com.
There are 12 people that spend all day, everyday, working on about Themer, and this situation, while frustrating and a bit disheartening, has not detracted from our resolve and mission. We graciously thank everyone who has downloaded Themer, shared a theme, or recommended the app to their friends. And to those who want to try Themer for the first time but can't: we'll be back up soon. In the meantime, please enjoy our videos on: http://www.themerapp.com/
Please feel free to send any questions or comments to: email@example.com. You will get a response.
Letter from Google:
This is a notification that your application, Themer Beta, with package ID com.mycolorscreen.themer, has been removed from the Google Play Store.
REASON FOR REMOVAL: Alleged copyright infringement (according to the terms of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act).
All violations are tracked. Serious or repeated violations of any nature will result in the termination of your developer account, and investigation and possible termination of related Google accounts. If your account is terminated, payments will cease and Google may recover the proceeds of any past sales and the cost of any associated fees (such as chargebacks and payment transaction fees) from you.
The DMCA is a United States copyright law that provides guidelines for online service provider liability in case of copyright infringement. Click here for more information about the DMCA, and see http://www.google.com/dmca.html for the process that Google requires in order to make a DMCA complaint.
Google may reinstate your application into the Google Play Store upon receipt of a counter notification pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and (3) of the DMCA. Click here for more information about the requirements of a counter notification and a link to a sample counter notification. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should retain your own legal counsel.
Please note that we have included a text copy of the Infringement Notice we received for your reference.
The Google Play Team
Text copy of DMCA complaint:
subject_lr_dmca: Your Request to Google
represented_copyright_holder: Apple Inc.
location_of_copyrighted_work: The original artwork for the following infringed iOS7 app designs may be viewed on any iDevice running the iOS7 operating system:
Notes (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871602)
Stocks (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871786)
Newsstand (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871650)
Maps (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871438)
Camera (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871668)
Photos (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871779)
Settings (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871669)
description_of_copyrighted_work: Apple Inc. is the sole and exclusive owner of the copyright in the original artwork for the app designs in its iOS 7 operating system. The foregoing application being distributed on Google Play intentionally includes unauthorized reproductions of Apple’s copyrighted apps, including its icon designs for Notes (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871602), Stocks (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871786), Newsstand (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871650), Maps (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871438), Camera (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871668), Photos (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871779), Settings (Copyright Reg. No. VA1871669) and other features. This application violates Apple's copyrights, in addition to other Apple IP rights. (This app developer’s unauthorized reproduction of Apple’s multiple copyrights may be viewed in-app by first downloading and installing the app, allowing Themer to create widgets on one’s device, and loading the “Seven” theme from the list of the “Most Popular” category under the Browse Themes.)