I am livid. Which superficially might sound very stupid, except that this kerfuffle combines ethics, DRM, social networking, and my integrity, all in an interesting and infuriating tangle.
I was at breakfast with one of my very closest friends—a retired English and Latin teacher—and her son. Her son and I had just started arguing over the pronunciation of the word “diaspora” when, half-joking, I pulled my phone out of my handbag and played a recording of the word aloud at the table.
Then I stared down at my phone. I frowned. My friend wanted to know what the matter was.
“Um,” I said, blushing furiously. “Um. This is weird. My cell phone is accusing me of stealing the Oxford Dictionary of English.” I blinked. “That was a really expensive piece of software.”
Some of you might already know about the Enfour dust-up. Here’s a quick recap anyway: at the beginning of this month, the developers at Enfour announced they were putting anti-piracy measures into their software. (Enfour develops and publishes iOS versions of the Oxford Dictionary of English and the American Heritage Dictionary, among others.)
How did Enfour intend to combat piracy? By auto-posting tweets to their users’ Twitter accounts! But the clever plan backfired when the tweet—a confession of “software piracy”—began appearing on legitimate users’ Twitter accounts, too.
How about we all stop using pirated iOS apps? I promise to stop. I really will.#softwarepirateconfession— Jenn Frank (@jennatar) November 24, 2012
Enfour has since launched a “crucial maintenance release” to iTunes, and the issue has seemingly been resolved.
Of course, that makes little difference to the Enfour customer who, ahem, discovers that a “critical update” is waiting for her in the app store queue only after she has confessed, to 3,454 of her readers (not to boast or anything), that she stole some software. (Until hours ago, Parks and Recreation’s Nick Offerman had confessed to the same crime via Twitter as well.)Read the rest of this entry »