I received an email message from Google on Friday, October 3, titled 7-day Notification of Google Play Developer Terms Violation. It indicates that Just Playlists Plus may be in potential violation of Google’s policies on impersonation or deceptive behavior and/or intellectual property. The email is boilerplate and doesn’t really tell me exactly what I’ve done to violate the policy. The best I can guess is that the package name of the app is what triggered this notification. When I first created the app in 2009, I chose the package name of org.journeyman.android.apps.justplaylists for Just Playlists following the common practice of basing it on my domain name in reverse order, going from most general to most specific dot-separated elements. I used the term “android” simply in a descriptive manner of the nature of the program I was developing. I had no intention of presenting JP as an official Android application, and it didn’t occur to me that this could be a potential copyright violation.
But I believe that Google sees this as copyright infringement and wants me to change it. I have absolutely no problem doing so, but due to the rather silly way that Google Play uniquely identifies apps by the package name, I cannot just remove the term “android” from the package name. Doing so will cause Just Playlists to be recognized by Google Play as a new app. Thus, I am being forced to unpublish the current versions of Just Playlists and Just Playlists Plus and will soon publish them again with new package names that will cause them to be treated as new apps on Google Play.
This will mean that if you have installed Just Playlists or purchased Just Playlists Plus, you should still be able to see the app listed as installed on your phone but not in the Google Play store. You will no longer get upgrades and will need to install the re-published version of JP or JPP if you’d like to receive future updates. That will also mean, if you purchased JPP and want to continue to get updates, you’ll have to purchase a copy of the new version.
I am very sorry to have to do this, but I don’t think I have a choice. If I don’t unpublish JP and JPP by Friday, October 10, Google will probably remove them and may suspend my account. I hope to re-publish the new versions of JP and JPP with the sanitised package names within a few days. I will also post another blog entry that will describe how to go about transitioning to the new apps, if you’d like to.
Thanks to all those who use JP and JPP. I hope to continue to support and update both for a long time to come.