Apple Shuts Down Sites Selling Access to iOS Betas

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Apple’s lawyers have been getting in some billable hours shutting down sites selling access to iOS betas to fans outside of Apple’s developer program. MacStories reported that several sites built around selling such access are no longer accessible, and one site proprietor said that his site was shut down by his providee after Apple filed a DMCA complaint with his host.

Denied!

iosudidregistrations.com Current Home Page

The practice of selling access, or even allowing access, to developer betas to people outside of the company’s developer program is prohibited by Apple’s developer agreement. The company charges developers US$99 per year to be part of that program, and that includes allowing up to 100 iOS Unique Device Identifier (UDIDs) numbers to be registered to that account to facilitate software testing.

Many developers don’t need that many UDIDs to do their testing, and several companies have sprung up around the idea of selling those access slots for $10 a spot. Some quick math shows that even splitting those fees with the brokers leaves the potential of a few hundred dollars in cash flow. Throw in the idea of dummy developer accounts, and an enterprising scofflaw could make a few grand.

One anonymous broker claimed that his site brought in $75,000 since June of 2011 selling such access, but that apparently came screeching to a halt after Wired magazine ran an article about the services on June 20th of 2012.

“Over the last couple years, a cottage industry’s popped up around illicit UDID activations — startups exploiting Apple’s Developer Program to sell access to pre-release iOS software, usually for less than $10 per device,” reporter Andy Baio wrote at the time. “The craziest thing? Apple doesn’t seem to care.”

That was then. Shortly after the article ran, Apple began sending out DMCA complaints to several of the sites’ hosting providers claiming copyright infringement. One of the things the sites were doing was providing downloads of the iOS betas once a customer bought access, a practice that would certainly run afoul of Apple’s copyrights.

MacStories contacts several sites that were featured in Wired’s article that are no longer accessible—including, activatemyios.com, iosudidregistrations.com, activatemyudid.com, udidregistration.com, instantudidactivation.com—one of which said, “The Wired article has caused all these sites to go down.”

There is one site that is ostensibly still open for business, udidactivation.com, but that firm’s order queue shows the last order as having been fulfilled in June.

Another site, iMZDL, is also still open and selling access to both iOS and OS X betas. That company recently stopped offering direct downloads to its “customers,” however, and moved to a BITtorrent distribution model.

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