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Mac App Store Developers Fall Into Open Source Rabbit Hole

Lugaru, the game that is available for the Mac and other platforms about a violent rabbit is now available on Mac App Store. Except there are two apps for the same game, one at $10 and one at $2, the pricier one called Lugaru HD is made by the original developers whilst the other called Lugaru is made by a Michael Latour from iCoder. The original developers of the game have no idea who Latour is and are quite understandably angry that someone else has started selling the exact same game at a much cheaper price.

Lugaru’s developers claim Latour’s app is a complete fraud of their own app with their own source code being sold by a guy with no affiliation to them. Jeffrey Rosen, one of the Lugaru developers told Kotaku “We are not happy about this situation. It is not uncommon for people to sell pirated copies of our game, but we were completely caught off guard that Apple would approve this for sale on the App Store without any due diligence.”

However the case complicates a bit when it is revealed that in May last year Lugaru went open-source, openly publishing the source code for the game. One of Latour’s developers from iCoder, Alex Matlin said “While we do understand [Wolfire's] regrets, this does not change the fact that we have every legal right to market and sell the software, and we feel that $US1.99 is a fair price.” Maitlin further claims “the licence we were granted allows for non-exclusive redistribution of the source code or the compiled product, modified or unmodified, for a fee or free of charge.”

Rosen however disputes this insinuation by Matlin saying that not only was the source code released for mods, but that Wolfire retained all rights to the games assets and as such this clone by iCoder "is completely illegal.". As a result of the situation, Lugaru’s developers have already twice appealed to Apple about the situation but have yet to receive a response from them. However Kotaku managed to contact Apple and they responded that they are looking into the situation but cannot provide any specifics at the this stage.

What are your thoughts? There are most definitely ethical questions being raised and possibly legal questions too. In my mind iCoder and Latour have most definitely overstepped the boundary with this but it really is more of a legal question and whether releasing the source code really would allow this kind of blatant copying.

[Via Kotaku, Wolfire Games Blog]

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