Content Infringement Complaints, Google and the Windows Phone Marketplace

Recently, Microsoft announced some recent changes to the Windows Phone Marketplace for developers that would also affect consumers. The changes were divided into four areas, including trademarks, bulk publishing, keywords and content policy. What concerns us here is the trademarks section.

In short, apps that violate trademarks of other companies are now subject to more restrictive oversight in the Marketplace. Microsoft had this to say on the matter, which is a fair position:

"When a trademark or copyright owner contacts us about a suspected violation, we investigate and pull apps when the complaint is valid. Lately we’ve been doing more of this, especially for trademark misuse. Sometimes the requests come from the owners of big, well-known brands. Other times they come from new brands. Either way, we often find trademark violations are unintentional: some developers just aren’t clear on what constitutes a violation. But these investigations—and the time and money they can cost—can be avoided by doing a little homework before submitting or updating your app."

A few curious examples of this actually do exist in the Windows Phone Marketplace, some of which you'll be familiar with including YouTube Pro, gMaps, YouTube Live and YouTube Downloader.

Did you notice anything in common with those? If you said those sound like Google names, you would be right and evidently Google are rightly flexing their muscle on the matter, sending out copyright infringement complaints to numerous developers over their use of their trademarked names.

The developer of YouTube Live, which we've covered before, just received such a notice which is partially re-printed below:

"This message is to notify you that Microsoft has received Content Infringement Complaint (“Complaint”) regarding your application Youtube Live. A copy of the Complaint is attached for your review.Remove Application Access ImmediatelyYou must remove access to the application from the Marketplace within one business day.  If your application is still available for download after one business day,Microsoft may remove the application without further notice.  Please note that under certain circumstances Microsoft may remove your app immediately without providing you the opportunity to remove it."

While this is certainly a blow to many of our favorite developers on the platform, it should not come too much as a surprise that these apps infringe on Google's ownership of those names. Of course, being as we're more of a Microsoft site and Google is not on good terms with Windows Phone this will certainly rub people the wrong way. Especially since Google has not bothered to support Windows Phone at all with their services.

Having said that, Google is technically in the right here and we don't begrudge them for taking action. We also want to let devs know that Microsoft is serious about this copyright stuff so give some thought to your app's name before Marketplace submission, m'kay?

We hope to see these outstanding apps back in the Marketplace soon but under new names.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • gMaps is safe as corresponding Google product is Google Maps (not abbreviated).
    As for the rest, what did they expect?
  • Yeah I don't see what's wrong with gMaps. Google doesn't own a product called gMaps.
  • Perhaps we will start to see some video-streaming applications devoted to the digestive tract of sheep - aka EweTube or the popular dendrology streaming app - aka YewTube.
  • uTube seems like a decent substitute.
  • haha. I like that. 
  • EweTube <- yes please!
  • Or maybe even ViewTube or Uview...just throwing some more out there (devs). Need an app beautiful as Metrotube.
  • TuTubo,VuestroTubo, TubeYou
  • try PrimeTube.. It an awesome youtube client for WP!
  • Right or sick of this Google shit. Im sure there are a 100 apps in the android market place with 'XBox' in the title. You don't see Microsoft being bitches about it. Maybe they should, but you know they won't.
  • It is ironic that Google is filing complaints when Androids market is like the wild west. They're selling pirated versions of every classic video game on Android.
  • Which is why I have very little to do with google and or google services as possible. I've switched my main email host from gmail to Microsoft Live mail and stick with Bing search. Its better anyway. Microsoft should add a link to "Bing search results" for every google search done on Microsoft Windows OS. Apple should do the same on the Mac. Make it the first result link. F Google.
  • I've done the same. Youtube is about the only thing I can't get away from, since there is sadly no alternative. I wish Youtube was never bought by Google.
  • Tumblebee now = Bumblebee weird name change due to copyright issues :(
  • Get away from using YouTube in your app name and come up with something original. Just think about the Carbon - has pretty much nothing to do with Twitter, yet it's a great name. I'm guessing you'll still be able to use YouTube as a keyword, so it hardly matters.
  • Maybe google is releasing official versions?
  • Looks like YouTube Pro is going back to Supertube
  • Yeah, I actually preferred the name & look of Supertube.
  • Google hate WP? No, there big enough to just ignore potential customers because they hope WP will die and go away... much like a child holding its ears and going like aaaAAAaaaAAAaaaAAAaaaa...
    It sure to only piss of people and im geting SICK, of this childish behaviours from big, grown up companies. If it was small, tiny companies with a great or not product i wouldnt mind. But well used services blocked to users? Feels like back to the middle ages... unbelievable. Microsoft is being cheep or Google being pricks, anyway its me, the customer, who gets the bad end of there stick.
    I wish i was the parent of the world, then there would be ear pulling all over the place. In this case, its down to spanking because they take money to put 1 or more to negotiate this with Microsoft and developers, and eventually sue companys with no liquidity ...instead of producing any service that customers need, and pay to use.
    I couldn't care less about Google and there crap, but why should there customers suffer?
    Here we have a OS that probably will be in microwave ovens, already are in my hTC Media Link ...
    Basically, Google dont care about customers, even if there 2 million or more... thats not valid enough for Google software?
  • Well better bring back Metrotube (which I happily paid for and never got back when I did a phone upgrade)
  • I agree. Still using Metrotube even though there's no longer support for the app. Wait u got a new phone & wouldn't let you download it!? That's not good. Your right its no longer in the marketplace. App is or was awesome.
  • was using metrotube too.. Switched to primetube now and its cool.. has regular updates and support
  • It's ok. Metrotube is sti better than anything out there. Why can a developer just pick up that app or just completely copy it.
  • Email the developer, he will send you a special link... This process sucks.. I like how iOS handles this.
  • Ok first lets forget the Google Youtube issue. Its about time Microsoft took a handle on copyright infringement. Take a look at how many CNN name apps we have in the market place and you will agree something needed to be done. All we need to do is come up with original names for our apps.
  • +100. The CNN thing is horrendous.. There are many apps like that, MS should feel ashamed of this market sometimes. Glad they are going to do a better job.
  • Folks this is really not a big deal.  It's clear Google is trying its best to discourage people from using Windows Phone by shutting its services off from the platform.  So clearly they don't want us to use their services on our phones, how about we just stop using all of their services on all of our devices?  Give these a$$holes less revenue, they should be recognized as the privacy invading pariah that they are, dont give your personal info or data to these clowns; google steals your data and sells it to advertisers, the government or whoever can offer the bigger check.
    Instead of complaining just find better alternatives and there are plenty.
    Youtube - Vimeo, DailyMotion; theres quite a few video sites that dont have retarded kids and ads every other second.
    Gmail - this is a failure and anyone using it should be mocked; use Yahoo if you really have to and that is pretty horrible.  Of course you can use Hotmail the best alternative and no ads if you are willing to pay $10 a year for Hotmail Plus.
    Google Apps - ahahah no really this is garbage.
    Google Maps - Bing maps, openstreetmaps, your privacy matters google sells this data almost surely to advertisers.
    Google Voice - you can use this as much as you want, just dont use it to make calls or pay Google any money, use up this service as much as possible and burn a hole in their pockets.
    Google and its perpetual beta of services are trash, theres alternatives and theres no reason to get upset over them not supporting our platform.  The less you use of these clowns services the more liberated you are from the Privacy Theif that google is.
  • +10
  • Agreed, I recently deleted my YouTube account & anything to do with google. Also ditched my Facebook. Those were two of the most liberating things I'd done in a while!
  • Any alternative to google reader? That's the only service from google that I use, and haven't found any good alternative..
  • "... instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation." -- Google's Chief Legal Officer David Drummond, back in 2011 when Google was subject to "unfair IP actions" by Apple and Microsoft and more than capable of defending itself
    "You're making unfair references to our brands without our permission, violating our sacred and invioable IP... stop referencing YouTube and Google Maps in your apps, or we'll SUE!" -- Hypocritical Google today, in 2012 to tiny independent developers who have no ability to defend themselves
    Someone really needs to shine a light on what a bunch of hypocrites Google are.  They've developed an undeserved reputation as "good guys," when they're the oiliest bunch of duplicitous hacks in tech today.
  • YouTube app is better on Android. Ms really needs to step up & build an app with Google's permission. I know we have 3td party apps for YouTube but the "official app" is just a link to the website
  • Haha, google getting a little nervous are they??? I wonder if the same rules will apply to the android store? Or is this just a stab at microsoft?
  • "Don't be evil."
  • Google doesn't support Windows Phone. The only app I see from them is Google search app. Microsoft couldn't make a good Youtube app because of Google. Instead you only see a link to a mobile website with the Youtube app.
  • It's scary how minor everyone here regards this issue and blame Google for defending their rights. Many of you don't seem to comprehend that a lot of those 3rd party applications are simply illegal and infringing on Terms Of Use and licenses of online services.
    There are so many developers who try to monetize on other brands and their services, which are often free for individual use, but require costly licenses for commercial distribution. For honest developers, who actually read through ToS and honor licenses and intellectual property, this is disheartening. So I'm very glad that at least Google decided to start to crack down on those black sheep, even if it's just for brand infringements.
  • Just checked the market place and can't find YouTube Pro & gMaps Pro. Were they taken down?