Display Recorder in the App Store Rips Off a Jailbreak App

The Display Recorder iconThe strangest thing happened on the App Store yesterday, and not many are reporting the story. But since I’ve had a history with this sort of app, and the very issues behind it’s release (or non-release), let me tell you what’s happened.

Apple has a policy in their licensing agreements (according to several sources that I have not checked into but I believe are legit) that prohibits the sale or use of a video screen capture app on iDevices. Meaning, you cannot record what you are doing in apps on an iPhone or iPad with Apple’s sanction.

Even so, the Cydia Jailbreak community has sold many apps for a few years that offer screen recording.

Herein lies the strange part. Apple started selling Display Recorder; app in their App Store that not only captures video of what you are doing in most any app, but by all code and interface appearances, it’s a relatively simple rip-off of an app that’s been for sale on Cydia. The version on the App Store and Cydia app store are by two different developers that are unaffiliated.

So here is what we have:

  • Apple licensing agreements forbid the use or sale of display recorder apps in the App Store.
  • Apple’s App Store is selling one anyway.
  • This app is a significant copy of another developer’s work, so it is most likely violating copyright—even the name of the two apps are the same.

I purchased the Display Recorder app on the Cydia store about a year ago. I jailbroke my iPod Touch I had at the time, and experimented with apps of interest to me Cydia had to offer. I ultimately decided jailbreaking my devices was too time-consuming, so I don’t plan to do it again. But while the Touch I had was jailbroken, I thought the screen capture app was one of the most handy apps to be had outside of the App Store. I made some iOS game demos for my friends to watch. Otherwise, it would have been difficult to share the game play with them.

I trust Apple has made sense of this situation. They shouldn’t stay quiet about the issue, considering it violates their own licensing. I think that in the least, Display Recorder will be pulled from the App Store in the coming weeks. Even if Apple’s policy is changing so users may screen record, Display Recorder is still a clear rip-off of Display Recorder.