Out of nowhere, on Monday (Oct 6) I got an email from Google Play saying that my company’s app, Movreak, got suspended. It’s gone from Google Play.
This is the email excerpt:
This is a notification that your application, Movreak: Movie, Cinema, Review, with package ID **********, has been removed from the Google Play Store.
REASON FOR REMOVAL: Violation of the intellectual property and impersonation or deceptive behavior provisions of the Content Policy. Please refer to the IP infringement and impersonation policy help article for more information.
- Your app and/or elements of its listing on Google Play, including title, description, logo(s), or promotional screenshots must not include unauthorized usage of protected works belonging to a third party.
- Your app icon and promotional screenshots must not contain images that appear confusingly similar to existing products.
My initial reaction, how the hell Google knows about the app? It’s not that popular (yet). The download number is minuscular, only around 15,000. Three possible explanations that I can think of for now, either the suspension happened by mistake, Google did notice the app and suspend it without warn me first (or the suspension itself is the warning?), or somebody reported it as an app that violates intellectual property. For the latter to be noticed, it has to be massive effort of reporting.
Then my logical reaction is requesting appeal by this form. In the appeal reason, I request the detail of which part of the app that actually infringe any Intellectual Properties. In case of Movreak, which extensively publish movies-related content, I explained how we get the data. I also asked how the hell the similar apps don’t suffer the same suspension, and I even list down that similar apps. Just to be clear.
About 24 hours later, Google Play Developer Support replied. The excerpt:
After a regular review, your app has been administratively suspended pending verification that you are authorized to publish on behalf of the original content or brand owner.
We were not able to validate your account’s relationship to the original content or brand owner. In order for us to process your appeal, please provide documentation that the application is authorized in your reply to this notification. Please be advised we will not be able to respond or reinstate your application without the above documentation.
Not clear at all. I had no clue which content that actually violates IP. Then I replied back:
Could you provide further details of which content or brand that our app violates? So that we can provide necessary proof or documentation. The thing is, all movie-related data for our app are retrieved from RottenTomatoes.
As we know, RottenTomatoes provides API access to its data formally ( http://developer.rottentomatoes.com). We can provide email or details from RottenTomatoes if necesary.
In case of Movreak that publishes movies data, we do have access to Rotten Tomatoes API, and I can prove to anyone. In case of movies-related news data, we also have API access from the source I can’t tell for now. Better yet, we don’t sell the app and the data. How the heck it infringes IP.
18 hours later, an email arrived to bring a good news. Google Play Support finally accepted my appeal, and allow me to reinstate my app on Google Play.
What a story! Now you know, just in case you have the same problem.