Piracy is a Very Big Problem in the Jailbreaking Community

Yesterday, we told you that iOS hacker Stefan Esser (i0n1c), despite already jailbreaking his new iPad running iOS 5.1.1, was unlikely to release his exploit to the jailbreaking community. Esser has a number of different reasons for keeping his exploits to himself, and piracy in the jailbreaking community is one of his biggest concerns.

Piracy has become a very big problem in the jailbreaking community, as several users jailbreak their iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad just to take advantage of the several easy ways to download free apps and tweaks from the App Store and Cydia Store respectively.

It is certainly not surprising to learn that this piracy has been going on, but Italian jailbreak developer Filippo Bigarella, who spoke with iFans in a recent interview, provides some rather shocking statistics about just how bad piracy really is.

Bigarella is best known for releasing Springtomize 2, a jailbreak app on Cydia that lets you customize nearly every aspect of your iOS device. But, as noted by iDownloadBlog, the app has a nearly 92% piracy rate based on just under 200,000 downloads. That means that just 16,000 copies were legitimately sold, while the remaining 184,000 downloads were pirated.

Bigarella has previously told iFans about the piracy situation on Cydia, noting that pirated downloads occur about 40 times more often than legitimate purchases:

As soon as someone starts selling software, he gets to know piracy. I don’t have any app on the App Store (yet ;P), so I can only speak for what regards the Cydia Store: unfortunately, there is a widespread ecosystem of “unofficial” repos, that are used to repackage products from the Cydia Store and putting them up for free. From some data collected by other developers and elaborating some stats, I think the average ratio between pirates and legit users is around 40 : 1.

That means that for every user who makes use of your app, other 40 people are using them without having paid for it, illegitimately. If you consider that most of them will require support anyway and how much work is “wasted” in this perspective, you can really imagine how much a developer is put down by piracy. In fact, in my opinion, piracy not only damages the developer who worked on the product, but also the legitimate users who bought the app: and honestly, I don’t think it’s really necessary to pirate $2-3 software.

Prominent jailbreak developer Ryan Petrich, who we also interviewed on iFans, says that a lot of piracy results from users that are unable to purchase the apps whatsoever. This could be due to the lack of a PayPal account, lack of disposable income, being underage or overseas, and many other reasons.

But the issue remains that piracy is a big problem in the jailbreaking community, and it is truly embarrassing. Filippo Bigarella and several other jailbreak developers invest so much time and effort into the community and do not deserve this treatment whatsoever. iFans has always had a zero tolerance stance against piracy and will continue to adhere to that policy for as long as our community is around. And we are proud of the users that take the same approach.



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