Report: Apple gets tough on websites selling access to iOS betas
A report from MacStories yesterday claimed that many third-party websites selling developer access to Apple’s iOS betas are no longer live.
The blog apparently contacted the websites’ owners. It soon confirmed with at least one that Apple recently submitted a copyright infringement claim, so the website’s hosting service immediately took the page offline. A Wired report from last month by Andy Baio first spotlighted the trend of websites that sell developer access to iOS betas by doling UDID activations to any paying user. Apple restricts UDID activation to registered developers.
The Wired report allegedly sparked a flurry of website takedown requests. The CEO of Fused, a hosting service, even admitted to the MacStories, “Apple has been fairly heavy-handed with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) requests to the ones we host”:
- After noticing several of the sites mentioned in Baio’s article had become unavailable in recent weeks (activatemyios.com, iosudidregistrations.com, activatemyudid.com, udidregistration.com, instantudidactivation.com), we reached out to some of them asking whether Apple was behind the takedown of their “services”, which infringed on Apple’s developer agreement. While most of our emails bounced, we heard back from one of the site owners (who asked to remain anonymous), who confirmed his hosting provider took down the site after a complaint for copyright infringement by Apple. Similarly, the CEO of Fused tweeted in a reply to Andy Baio that Apple had been “fairly heavy-handed” with DMCA requests to UDID-selling sites hosted on their network.
- In the email, the site owner said that their website made $75,000 since last June, when Apple released the first beta of iOS 6 to developers. “We do not believe our service was infringing and our services did not violate their guidelines for iOS 6″, the site owner commented, adding that they will soon launch another similar site, “with better and more secure data lines to handle Apple”.
- The owner of another site replied to our emails with a “no comment”. According to him, “the Wired article has caused all these sites to go down”.
- Indeed, it appears Apple has started taking action against these sites recently, and more precisely after Wired ran the story on UDID activation.
To install an iOS beta, developers must register their account with Apple and receive UDID activation for $99 a year. Third-party websites, on the other hand, sell UDID activation for a cheaper price—usually around $10.