Apple approves MP3 piracy, downloader apps

Several applications designed to facilitate music piracy have unexpectedly been approved by Apple, and are currently available on the App Store. Music Forest (Free) and Music Forest Full ($1) from You Jinwen and Music Downloader ($1) from Chen Lunyu allow the user to search online databases of music or browse music charts—including the U.S. Billboard Top 100—then tap to download songs directly to the device. Music Forest automatically grabs song lyrics from the Internet; and also offers AirPlay streaming support. Interestingly, the apps offer users of jailbroken devices the ability to transfer downloaded files to a computer using a desktop file browsing application such as iPhone Explorer for the Mac.

Several other applications, such as Downloads – Download Manager ($2) by Hian Zin Jong, are now using modified browsers to support the downloading of all sorts of files, including music files and movies. Though a number of browser-based downloading applications have been offered for legitimate purposes, this one uses screenshots to show the illegal downloading of the entire Tron Legacy film soundtrack in its App Store screenshots, and allows direct importation into iTunes using Apple’s USB File Sharing feature. Additional screenshots and comments for the app explain that it can be used to download pornography and access well-known sources of pirated media files. Based on past experiences with applications of this sort, it is likely that Apple did not properly screen these apps before approving them, and will pull them from the App Store in the near future.

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