According to the latest report from Engadget, Google has pulled a popular range of video game console emulators from the Android Market. The developer Yong Zhang’s account has been disabled, and all his apps removed from the Android Market. Some of the apps previously published under his account (yohngzh) include Nesoid, Snesoid, Gensoid, N64oid, Ataroid, Gearoid and Gameboid.
This is not without precedent. Google has suspended apps before over violation of the Android Market’s TOS. However, it’s quite disturbing as a developer to see this happen without warning. Who’s next? How can I be sure my app won’t be pulled by Google, or my account suspended?
The most likely problem with Yong Zhang’s apps is that they infringe on copyright by reusing third-party source code without permission, and then publishing the package as a paid app. The TOS for the Android Market specifically allow Google to terminate or suspend a developer’s account if they breach any regulations or laws.
Hopefully Google will come out with a statement shortly to explain why they have removed the emulator apps from the Market. Until then, this news serves as a reminder to check the Terms and Conditions before publishing your app. If there’s any chance you could be infringing one of the requirements, have a serious think about what it might mean if Google were to reject your app.
Also, if you’re going to rely on app sales to drive revenue, it might be worth looking at third party alternatives to the Android Market such as SlideME. This way if your account is ever suspended, you’ll still have an alternative available.
Update: ZodTTD has posted an article with some more info on Google’s actions against him and YongZh. He claims that none of the code published by either developer infringes on any source code licences.
Image source: hpapplication.com