As someone whose analysis of this flip-book market back in late January 2014 led me to write that “something doesn’t smell right” with all the similarity between websites and interfaces of software designed to do exactly the same thing, I find the revelation at the 1stFlip Flipbook Creator Pro record here on MacUpdate by an apparent Flipbuilder staffer that their competitor over at 1stFlip actually stole their engine code to be quite remarkable, yet, given how things are progressing in entrepreneurial China, which is not a signatory to copyright laws, not so surprising.
I have examined the document which JakeT8832 directed us to read. It is a compelling indictment of plagiarism in the field of software theft. If you go to the 1stFlip, it’s no wonder you can no longer download their current versions: they are all marked as “Unavailable.”
I suspect that the legal hammers have already fallen on their heads, and rightly so. The hatchets are next. The side-by-side comparison of the nearly identical interfaces, bolstered by a look into the code built into the engines of both software products, will be convincing evidence to any objective, rational judge that 1st Flip ripped off Flipbuilder without the intelligence, talent, or subtleness to cover up their crime.
While it is quite disturbing to uncover actual evidence of the theft, part of me is somewhat amused and entertained, for I had perceived all this happening back in January, when I was checking out the market prior to buying something I could affordably use. But, as I said then, I had no evidence to back up my suspicions. Everything looked alike to my eyes, but I had no tools with which to peel back the skins and examine the insides, where the software engines reside, to come to anything remotely approaching evidentiary stature. That skin-peeling has finally been done, and now there is plenty of damming evidence, so it won’t be long before 1st Flip rolls over and dies, if it hasn’t abandoned its offices already.
My ethical dilemma now is that, having purchased a copy of 1st Flip during a 60% off promotion run here by MacUpdate, what position am I for having licensed software that was illegally developed in the first place? The probability is high that the greedy 1tFlip owners will be put out of business or jailed, if they can be located. That means that I get no updates or technical support either. I could not afford to spend $300 for an application that I feel is grossly overpriced for what it does from the git-go, and the only reason I opted to buy 1st Flip’s offering was due to the facts that the software does decently do what it promises (mostly), and because it was marked down to a more realistically affordable price, thanks to the MacUpdate promo.
I did not intentionally wish to cause any economic harm to FlipBuilder, if indeed. the software engine inside my licensed copy from 1stFlip actually belongs to FlipBuilder. But what is my legal relationship, or obligation, to FlipBuilder now? Cheating and lying gets to be so messy, when greed takes over. See, I knew back then something was fishy. Now I know what smells.