For a period of time, a company called Anta Entertainment illegally created and sold an application on the Apple store using my own content. Some of you may have purchased the product. The application called ListenIN Pro for IELTS, TOEIC, TOEFL practices 2.0 iPhone and iPod Touch was being sold on the Apple Store for several months until the beginning of January 2011 when, after being informed by an actual buyer of the product (thank you!), I finally located the actual seller through a variety of means. The following video describes the issue of copyright and ownership, and then describes the illegal app. A description of the app follows below:
You can find an informative news story and interview with an intellectual property lawyer on the similar issues of copyright and online content that was produced by National Public Radio HERE.
Anta Entertainment used this text to describe the product on the Apple Store and other Web pages online, and if you type the keywords, "ListenIN Pro," you still can find Web pages that have advertisements for the product:
- Top 1 in Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Romania and on top 10 of 10 other countries after 4 days we released this valuable update. Don't miss out.
- 0.99$ in a short time.
- Listening Quizzes for Listening practice on hands.
- Prepare for TOEFL/TOEIC/IELTS Tests with These Lectures, Interviews, and Conversations. In this series of handouts, we provide opportunities and activities to help you improve different aspects of your English language skills. The following are some hints for improving listening in your daily life and on campus and some strategies for listening.
What's new in Version 2.0
- Update more over 200 questions from Beginner to Advance level.
- Universal App for both iPhone and iPad
What this company, Anta Entertainment (who may be simply one person), did was to take about 40 audio files from my Web site that I have developed over 12 years and my questions without permission or compensation, compiled them into an Apple Store app, put on their own copyright notice ("All rights reserved"), and then sold the product on the Apple Store as their own work. This is illegal and ethically wrong. This company and the compilers of the app never sought after nor were granted permission to use my content, and I fear that people believe that I am associated in some way with this company. I am not. I feel bad when people have paid money for an app that was created illegally without authorization. Now, are there cases in which I license and sell my content to companies? Absolutely. Many companies have done just that, but this company completely disregarded seeking permission of any kind.
The timeline for this product appears to be as follows as reported online HERE:
December 10, 2010 Price Increase: $0.99 -> $1.99
October 04, 2010 New version 2.0 (iOS 4.0 Tested)
October 02, 2010 Price Decrease: $3.99 -> $0.99
October 01, 2010 Price Increase: $1.99 -> $3.99
August 27, 2010 Price Decrease: $3.99 -> $1.99
July 07, 2010 Initial Release
As you can see, the price has changed a number of times over its lifespan, and Anta Entertainment was certainly making money illegally off my work. There are also number Web sites which can allow you to track the ranking of such apps. I paid $1.99 on the Apple Store in January 2011 to buy the app to have a copy for myself as evidence. Sad to say, I had to pay money for my own work. As a result of this company's actions, people have been deceived into believing that they are buying special IELTS, TOEIC, and TOEFL practice exercises created and owned by this company, when in fact these are my own materials (my voice and those of my family) that people can use online for free at my Web site, www.esl-lab.com. When I first contacted Anta Entertainment (Anh Minh, the seller), I was given very few details on the background on what had actually occurred, and my repeated messages for more clarification have been ignored and have gone unanswered.
So, did Anh Minh of Anta Entertainment send me a check to compensate me for all the sales they had made from having taken and sold my content illegally in their app? Nope! I didn't even receive a Christmas card. Restitution for offenses of copyright violation and misrepresentation should be made to those who purchased the product and to the owner of the original content, but as soon as I began to discuss these issues, Anh Minh halted communication with me.
After trying to resolve this issue completely without success, I sent a copy of this original report to Anta Entertainment or Anh Minh (the seller at firstname.lastname@example.org) before it was published online to provide an opportunity for them to respond to it in an amicable and professional way, but I never received any further response. The only actions I have noticed have been ones to cover their tracks by deleting evidence of the app's existence.
I emailed the Apple store to report the copyright infringement and illegal use of my intellectual property (email@example.com), and I received a reply within a week stating that Apple had contacted the seller. As it turned out, Anta Entertainment had removed the app from the Apple store after I first notified them, but I am glad I followed proper procedure for addressing such issues with Apple directly. Unfortunately, Anta, who also maintains the Web site, www.entermob.com, has yet to remove an online version of these audio files and text from the TOEIC > Listening section of their forums as of January 13, 2011.
[UPDATE: After repeatedly writing the administrator and posting requests on the forums to remove my materials, the Administrator finally removed the content on January 19, 2011. However, I didn't receive any message explaining the delays in responding to my requests.]
Furthermore, the administrator of www.entermob.com maintains a YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/entermob, and you will also see a background image of the illegal app. I mentioned that to the administrator, but I did not receive any response.
After repeatedly having tried to resolve this issue with the developer/sellers (and fearing that people have fallen victim to this deceptive product), I decided to post more information online so individuals could seek a refund of their money and any action that has resulted from purchasing the illegal software. If you have purchased this App from the Apple Store, you can log into your account, check your purchase history, and make a complaint to seek a refund; unfortunately, I do not believe that Anta Entertainment has the moral conviction to try to give people's money back. Furthermore, they certainly have made money from my own work, but they have showed little interest in resolving these issues.
Next, you can contact Anh Minh, the seller of this app, at firstname.lastname@example.org. There was also a Facebook page that was promoting the App, but it appears the page has been deleted, perhaps because I contacted Anta Entertainment about the illegal use of my content.
For many years, I have enjoyed creating online content for teachers and students, but it brings no pleasure when people are deceived into paying for something that hasn't been produced legally. Feel free to contact me if you have more questions. However, I just want to thank many more of you for respecting and enjoying my work.