The developer of an iPhone app that has been cracked and distributed for free said he is considering pursuing criminal charges against whoever is responsible for the piracy.
On the Apple App Store, Annoy-A-Teen sells for 99 cents. But now you can get the amusing app--which plays a high-pitched tone at the press of a button that is inaudible to most adults but highly annoying to teens--for free on a pirate site, said Christopher Kemsley, an electrical engineering student trying to pay his way through college.
"I made, in a month, about the same amount of money as professionals I know in high-tech jobs" from sales of the app, he said on Friday.
Kemsley said he has been in contact with authorities in the state he believes the person responsible resides, has reported the incident to the FBI Internet Crimes unit, and will be contacting authorities in his home state of Arizona to determine if he should pursue the charges.
The app was cracked using a program called Crackulous, which allows someone to obtain an unencrypted version of an encrypted app by copying the code from an iPhone's memory, according to Kemsley. The iPhone decrypts apps and loads them into memory to run the program and then discards the app from memory when the user quits the program, he said. A jailbroken iPhone, in which the operating system has been hacked, is needed to run these cracked apps.
Apple did not respond to repeated calls and e-mails seeking comment.
Kemsley isn't the first to have his iPhone app pirated. James Bossert, the developer of the Whack 'em All iPhone game, told CNET News earlier this week that he will be releasing an ad-supported free version of his game after finding that it had been pirated.
In that case, the alleged pirate told Bossert in an e-mail that apps wouldn't get pirated if people were able to try out trial versions of the programs before having to shell out any money. In response to that comment, Kemsley said he will soon be offering a limited free demo version of Annoy-A-Teen.
"Crackers shouldn't be able to dictate or force us to have a trial version," he said.