Android has always offered one major benefit that iPhone and Windows 10 Mobile simply don’t: customization. Android users can adjust nearly every aspect of their home screen, from the very simple — rearranging app and game icons, using widgets — to the slightly more complicated — running custom themes, using custom icons, and much more. Developers work hard to create and distribute the themes, icon packs, and home screen replacement apps that allow users to change up their Android device in nearly any way they see fit.
Unfortunately, sometimes users will pirate these apps, themes, and icons, denying developers payment for their hard work. Developers and artists have sadly come to expect some piracy of their work, but what happens when the pirate is a huge multinational corporation? Several developers have noticed that pirated copies of their work are being housed and displayed on HTC Themes – a curated batch of themes, icons, and wallpaper that HTC has made available for use.
Developer Tha PHLASH has quite a few top selling icon packs, watch faces, and other customization apps on Google Play. Imagine his surprise when he found a number of his icon packs and themes on HTC Themes, but not under his name. PHLASH quickly did everything he could think of, e-mailed, filed claims, pinged HTC on Twitter — all to no avail. This morning his frustrations boiled over and he once again posted a collage of incriminating screenshots showing his work on the HTC Theme store. This post quickly spread across Google+, with other developers, themers, and Android users rallying to his aid.
Hashtags were suggested, profanities were hurled, HTC was tagged numerous times, though currently without any sort of response from the company. While it is possible that they are working through ways to deal with this issue internally, their lack of any type of response is a slap in the face of developers like Tha PHLASH who depend on the money they make on themes, icon packs, etc.
We have reached out to HTC ourselves in an attempt to get an answer, an update, or any sort of word on what the company plans to do about the pirated content in their theme store. We will update this article with any response that we receive.