App Developer Sues Apple for Copyright Infringement, Alleging Failure to Remove Copycat

A complaint in the Southern District of New York filed Saturday accused Apple Inc. of copyright infringement after failing to remove a copycat application that had been allowed on the App Store since June 2018. The plaintiffs, Lazlo Pustzai and DIRE Studio, LLC., contended that large portions of their application ShutterCount’s source code was copied and the loss of revenue has caused considerable damage to their company.

Tech giant Apple maintains the App Store, where software developers can publish their applications and make revenue on their productions, the complaint said. Apple takes a portion of the revenue from distributing all applications on their platform, a fact that has been at the center of a trial between Apple and Epic Games.

According to the complaint, ShutterCount uses software code to communicate between digital cameras and Apple’s operating systems in order to calculate the number of times the camera shutter has been actuated. However, the app “mistakenly double-counts each incremental ‘live view’ actuation and simultaneously reduces by one the count of ‘viewfinder’ actuations.” ShutterCount has an active copyright in the United States.

The complaint alleged that a Russian citizen named Konstantin Pavlikhin created an application called EOS Inspector which was licensed for sale on the App Store starting in June 2018. Lazlo Pustzai downloaded a copy of the application and found it made the same calculation errors as ShutterCount, leading to the discovery that EOS Inspector had infringed upon the source code of Pustzai’s application, the plaintiffs continued.

Apple was given written notice of the copyright infringement on June 11th, 2018 according to the complaint, and, in December 2020, Apple notified the plaintiffs that they would not remove the infringing application. Apple has disabled new purchases of EOS Inspector, but continues to allow existing owners of the application to receive its updates.

Pustzai et al. are seeking a permanent enjoinment for Apple to distribute EOS Inspector, as well as damages, including pre- and post-judgment interest, and attorney’s fees and costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by the Law Offices of Joshua Graubart, P.C.