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Themer ban from Google Play highlights fundamental problem with app

Editorial by Andrew Kameka on Monday February 10, 2014.

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Themer for Android offers stylish home screen launcher themes
Themer for Android offers stylish home screen launcher themes

Themer is one of the best Android apps I've ever used. The app made it possible to apply new themes and designs to the Android home screen with a few settings rather than spending hours tailoring widgets, wallpapers, and icons to fit the advanced looks created within the simpler theming solution. It was recently kicked out of Google Play because of copyright complaints, and it's unclear when, or if, Themer will be let back into the Android app store.

According to a letter posted to the official Themer Google+ page, the app was removed from Google Play because Apple lodged a copyright complaint with a theme named Seven that replicated the iOS 7 home screen. MyColorScreen removed Seven from the app and resubmitted Themer to Google Play; however, it still remains persona non grata to the gatekeepers of Android's biggest app store one week later. The extended exile points to a serious problem with Themer: it always runs the risk of being booted because the creativity of its themers can also lead to blatant copyright infringement.

When I first reviewed Themer last year, some of the most interesting themes contained images from Breaking Bad and Hunger Games. I highly doubt that the app had permission to use those copyrighted works. The same can probably be said for a few other icons and wallpapers included in themes in the app. How likely is it that Themer is built entirely of wholly original work that no one could complain about? The presence of themes for Jack Daniels and the Super Bowl make me think someone else might come knockin soon after Apple.

I hope that Themer resolves its issues because the bulk of the themes I've seen in the app are original and stunning displays of creativity. Sadly, Google is quick to err on the side of copyright holders, so an accusation against a theme app is easy and likely to bring up similar issues in the future. If Themer does make it back into Google Play, it's just a matter of time before another theme gets it removed, something we've seen happen to other icon, wallpaper, and theme apps.

source: Themer (Google+)

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About the author

Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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