Unauthorised Coffee Break Apps

Have you downloaded a Coffee Break app from the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store? If so, unfortunately this app is unauthorised and the developers are illegally selling our copyright materials as in-app purchases. Over the past year we’ve been having issues with a group of developers who have stolen our content and made it available through apps on the iOS App Store, and on the Google Play Store. The apps use our logos, and our premium content and are a blatant infringement of our copyright.

Unfortunately there is very little we can do about this. We’ve now been through the legal process with Apple on twelve separate occasions. Each time Apple finds in our favour and removes the apps, but the developers simply upload the app again within a few days under a different developer account.

These apps are unauthorised and we have not licensed our content in any way to third parties to allow the development of these apps. As a result, we cannot support customers who purchase our content through the apps. We would appeal to the Coffee Break community not to download these apps.

How do I know if the app is unauthorised / fake?

The apps which have been uploaded to the App Store use our logos and the title of the apps normally include “Coffee Break” in some way. You’ll notice that the developers of the apps are not Radio Lingua. Apps have been uploaded by, among others, Sergey Ovseenko, Stanislav Maksimov, QVC Card, Alik Serberov, Alexander Pridachin, Nataliya Krotova, Lyudmila Filatova, Sergey Greba, Sergey Grebenkin, Eugeny Smovdarenko and Michel Thomas (see below).

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It’s clear that these developers have also created apps using content from other language publishers, including the popular Michel Thomas series, Pimsleur language courses, Earworms and more. We have been in contact with some of these publishers and share their frustration.

Why should I bother about this?

First of all, the app developers are hoping to make money out of selling our content. However, we’re receiving an increasing number of emails from customers who have been duped into buying the apps, only to discover they don’t work, or that there is no customer support from the developers.

Secondly, and more importantly, the developers are blatantly infringing our copyright and trade marks. We are a small company and everyone involved in Radio Lingua is passionate about languages and wants to help to bring accessible learning materials to a worldwide audience. If we spend our time in legal battles with unscrupulous developers, we can’t be making more courses for you. Needless to say, the cost to our company is significant, in terms of legal fees, lost revenue and the time it takes to lodge the App Store takedown notices. This, unfortunately, will affect our ability to continue to develop the content you’re used to.

I’ve bought an app – what now?

If you have purchased a Coffee Break app through the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store, we would suggest that you apply for a refund through the App Stores. Here’s a link to help you do this for Google/Android and for iOS. By requesting a refund you’ll help to ensure that the developers will not profit from the illegal use of our content.

We would also like to hear from you if you’ve been affected: we’re trying to keep a record of customers affected and further proof will help us to show Apple and Google that this situation is not acceptable. Please post a comment on this article and let us know if you’ve been affected. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can forward a copy of your App Store receipt for any in-app purchases you have made for these apps to support [at] radiolingua.com.

Please understand that we cannot offer you a refund because we did not sell you the in-app purchase. We make no money whatsoever from the sale of these unauthorised apps.

Some affected customers have asked us if they should leave negative reviews for the apps. There’s no doubt about it that if a customer finds an app on the App Store with 1 star or no star reviews then they are perhaps less likely to buy. However, our aim is to have these apps removed as quickly as possible, so we don’t want our valued customers to waste their time leaving negative reviews for apps which will hopefully disappear. Equally we don’t believe in creating more negativity from an already very negative situation: we’d rather these apps were simply removed from the App Stores.

What about an official Coffee Break app?

Good question! In fact, we started the process of developing an app years ago, but were met with issues from the App Stores because our app plans replicated functionality of the podcast apps. Unfortunately the App Stores do not seem to be as stringent in letting through the unauthorised apps! More recently we revisited the development of an app for our Coffee Break courses, but with the constant admin required to deal with this frustrating situation with the unauthorised apps, we have temporarily put the app on hold.

Our new Coffee Break Academy courses can easily be downloaded to mobile devices using a third party app such as Documents, and we know that many of our customers who have moved their content into the Academy are very pleased with the ability to store their course files on their devices.

One thing is certain, as soon as we do have an official Coffee Break app available, it will clearly state that it is published by Radio Lingua Ltd, and you’ll have heard all about it through our newsletter, on our social media profiles and here on the website.

Thank you for your patience and understanding

Finally, on behalf of our small team here who are disheartened every time we see the apps reappear, I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding. If you have purchased one of the apps we very much hope that you can organise a refund quickly from the App Store, and we would be delighted to see you on the Coffee Break Academy where you can purchase the authentic courses.

Mark Pentleton
Managing Director, Radio Lingua Ltd
February 2017

Update: 5 April 2017

It has come to our attention that the apps have been once again uploaded to the iOS App Store under the name of Sergey Anisimov. This time the developer has chosen to call the apps “Coffe Break Spanish – Radio Lingua Network – audio” [sic]. Please note that these apps are illegal and the developer is attempting to sell in-app purchases of stolen content to customers. We have submitted the legal data to Apple again (for the 14th time) and trust that the apps will be removed from the App Store soon. Please do not download these apps. All Coffee Break courses can be found on the Coffee Break Academy.

 

5 Comments

  • LBW

    Reply Reply February 7, 2017

    I was glad to find this information even though it was too late as I did purchase the fake app on iTunes. A couple of years ago I was listening to the coffee break podcasts in Spanish and enjoyed them very much. When I found the app on iTunes I purchased season 1 which I could not download. I have emailed support at iTunes. Hope to get my money back.

  • Donna

    Reply Reply February 14, 2017

    HI Mark,
    Thank you for writing about the false app. I was just about to purchase the season lessons for $79.99
    I noticed that the app was acting strange so I located your website to get more info.

    • radiolingua

      Reply Reply February 14, 2017

      Hi Donna. We’ve had a number of queries about a new app by Eugeny Smovdarenko which doesn’t even work but he’s still selling the app. Thank you for coming to our website to check.

  • Carol rennie

    Reply Reply February 16, 2017

    I am someone who got your app from the ap store. Thanks for the info, I wondered why I couldn’t rate you, just got linked to some Russian site. Very sorry to have been part of this scam. Your French course is absolutely fabulous!

  • Vicki

    Reply Reply April 24, 2017

    I also downloaded the Coffee Break Italian app and I am so upset I paid the money. I requested a refund from the app store. I agree we shouldn’t support this piracy! If I get a refund, I will subscribe on your website. I am so upset. 🙁 Maybe you should edit the first episode to warn consumers that the app is a fraud. Grazie. Mi piace Coffee Break Italian!

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