Canabalt Developer Releases Code for iPhone Game, Apple OKs Stolen Version

This is so ridiculous as to be tough to believe — but it’s real.

Apple, in its infinite wisdom, approved a game called Free Running for sale in it’s iTunes App Store. Problem is, it already has Free Running in the App Store, by a different name: Canabalt.

Semi Secret Software, the creator of the iPhone version of Canabalt and the free-to-play Flash version before it, released the Canabalt code out into the world. Then someone snagged the code, recompiled it, made it into the exact same game, and submitted it to Apple for approval. And guess what: Apple approved it. The app description page even uses Canabalt’s press review quotes, but replaces the word “Canabalt” with “Free Running.”

Now, I’ve written about this a lot already. Last time, we talked about how Apple has let a known offender continue to steal, repackage and sell games in the App Store despite numerous complaints and removed titles. It has become obvious by Apple’s lack of action and total refusal to talk about the situation with anyone, including Game Front, that Apple doesn’t care about copyrights for anyone who isn’t well-known or vocal.

With the Free Running situation, though, you can confirm that the people running the App Store approval process are just plain dumb.

It’s not like Canabalt is a game no one in the App Store has ever heard of before. The game is really, really popular — possibly one of the most popular games in the (admittedly crowded) running genre in the store. But it’s also something of the standard for that genre and is referenced in the media all the time. Granted, this isn’t Angry Birds, but does a game have to be Angry Birds for Apple to realize it’s allowing copyright infringement?

The Feds and Congress have no trouble jumping on Apple over location tracking that the company claims is a bug, so why aren’t they busting some skulls over rampant theft and broken laws? Al Franken, where are you when we need you?

Thanks to Daniel Wood for bringing this up on Twitter.

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