Being an Android developer on the Play Store is no easy task. Apart from the effort required to establish a reputation and attract downloads for your apps, developers also have to contend with the unpredictable and sometimes devastating consequences of Play Store policy enforcement. Unfortunately, even those who make genuine attempts to adhere to the rules often find their apps abruptly removed from the platform. The latest victim of what appears to be an unjust removal is an app that has been accused of supporting piracy. The reason? It contains a web browser.

Downloader, a popular Android TV app, was designed to address a common challenge faced by power users: the need to easily transfer files to their devices, particularly for sideloading apps. Among its features, the developer included a remote-friendly web browser that allows users to conveniently retrieve files from websites. As the name suggests, Downloader facilitates this process.

The controversy surrounding the app stems from a DMCA complaint filed by a law firm representing several Israeli TV companies, alleging that the app enables access to a piracy website and facilitates content consumption without proper payment. However, the app’s developer, Elias Saba, maintains that he has no affiliation with the mentioned piracy website. He asserts that his app merely directs users to the homepage of his own website, AFTVnews, without encouraging any other unauthorized activities.

Upon receiving the DMCA complaint via the Play Console, Saba promptly filed an appeal, which Google rejected within an hour. He proceeded to submit a second appeal using Google’s DMCA counter-notification form, but as of now, he has not received a response. Saba informed Android Police that the latest appeal was last updated earlier today, indicating that there might be some progress, although he lacks visibility into the specific changes made since his submission on Friday.

In a series of tweets, Saba argues that if a browser can be taken down for its potential to access piracy websites, then all browsers available on the Google Play Store should face the same consequence. He expresses disappointment, expecting Google to actively filter out frivolous DMCA notices rather than simply assuming a passive role.

The fate of the app remains uncertain, as Google has yet to reinstate it, and it remains to be seen if Saba’s arguments will be heard and acknowledged. While it is not unreasonable to envision the app’s return, given its similarity to other browsers on the Play Store, there are no guarantees at this point. While there are past instances of Google reinstating apps following DMCA claims, the resolution process, even with a legitimate counter-notice, can take months before justice is served.