According to a post this morning on Ars Technica, Apple is taking legal measures to make it more difficult for pirated copies of App Store apps to make their way to the hands of iOS device owners. The company is sending takedown notices to Apptrackr, a site that commonly directs users to cracked versions of popular apps.
The takedown notices are being sent under the auspices of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which is the US implementation of two treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization. Apptrackr developer "Dissident" says that Apple has scraped links from Apptrackr, and then sent takedown notices in an attempt to cut off access to the cracked apps. To combat Apple's anti-piracy efforts, Apptrackr has moved to servers outside of the US, and -- according to Ars -- is "using a form of redirection to avoid 'direct' links to infringing content."
Some developers have reported that piracy rates for their apps are as high as 80 percent, which would result in losses in the millions of dollars for individual developers and possibly billions of dollars to Apple. Apptrackr defends their activities by saying that their "service" is "for application trials, and nothing else." On the Apptracker site "About Us" page, Dissident claims that "pirates who do not choose to purchase the applications they install are not lost sales. They were very, very likely never potential customers in the first place. Piracy's conversion rate is absurdly low, and developers know that."
Regardless of how you personally feel about software piracy, it's fascinating to see that Apple is coming to the defense of App Store developers by attacking Apptrackr with takedown notices.