Ubinuri, Inc. and ARM Digital Right Management

Ubinuri, Inc. and ARM Digital Right Management

If you didn’t know already, I’m a huge advocate of the Free Software Foundation and their campaigns, including PlayOgg, Windows 7 Sins, End Software Patents, DefectiveByDesign.org, etc., so, naturally, I dislike DRM in any form, and I use, develop, and promote free and open source software. However, I just received an offer from a South Korean company called “Ubinuri, Inc.”, offering to pay me $300 to “implement ARM (Application Digital Right Management) plugin to your application” and allow them to sell my application, “FiOS WEP Calculator PRO” to the Korean market. In addition to that they say they’ll pay me between 50-70% of the revenue they make from selling my application. Although I don’t like the idea of having DRM in my application, all of my applications in the Android market are still 100% DRM-free, and they will stay that way. I don’t believe in putting crippling software in my applications. I have contacted Ubinuri requesting more information, and I am considering going through with the deal, as $300 is a lot of money, and it’s hard to pass up an offer like this. Here are some of the questions I asked them (ad verbatim):

  • How will I receive the payment for implementing the ARM and allowing you to sell it?
  • How often will I receive payments for the revenue you earn by selling my application?
  • What does implementing ARM involve, and how can I do that?
  • Will I still be able to sell my application in the Android marketplace, in addition to your store?
  • Will I receive the $300 payment prior to sending you my application, or do I just have to trust you that I will receive my payment?
  • Does Ubinuri, Inc. have a United States presence/division?
  • I would like a legally binding licensing agreement in order to make sure that I don’t get scammed.
  • Can I send you the application as it is, or do you require Korean language translation to be done at my expense?
  • Will translations be provided?
  • Would you mind providing me the names of some of your app store operators?

I will let you guys know whether or not I decide to go through with the deal, and I will also update this post or make a new one when they reply to my e-mail. I’m somewhat skeptical about their offer, and several people tend to agree with me, but it is a really great offer, and if it is legitimate, I would be glad to take advantage of it. I have heard several other developers saying that they got the letter as well, but I have not been able to find a single developer claiming that they took advantage of the offer, and I have no plans of getting ripped off. Hopefully I will manage to negotiate an acceptable deal and actually receive a payment for my application. After all, I haven’t made very much money from my application, and if I do receive $300, that will fund a large portion of my application development.

UPDATE: Here is a copy of the original e-mail message sent to me (the subject was “Request for “FiOS WEP Calculator PRO“ Distribution in Korea“):

Hi,

I work at Ubinuri, inc. which distributes android applications through local app stores in Korea.

I would like to propose you to sell “FiOS WEP Calculator PRO” in Korea.

In order to sell your application at the local app stores in Korea, you are requested to implement ARM (Application Digital Right Management) plugin to your application, which would cause you additional efforts. In this regard, Ubinuri is willing to compensate you in advance for your additional efforts to implement the ARM.

I would appreciate it if you could review following proposal and let me know your thought.

1) Implementation of ARM (Application Digital Right Management) – In order to sell apps through Korean app stores, developers are requested to implement ARM, to prevent illegal copy, specified by the operator of each app store.
– You may hesitate to implement ARM as it would take you a couple of hours to implement ARM on your application.
– So, Ubinuri would pay 300 USD per each application for implementing ARM of the biggest local app store in Korea.
–  We hope our compensation would encourage you to implement ARM so that Korean users could purchase your applications at Korean App Store.

2) Payment

In addition to the above initial payment, Ubinuri shall pay 50% of the Net revenue for the sales of the above applications at the above Korean app store.
(The operator of the Korean app stores will take 30% of the net revenue on your paid applications. Ubinuri will take 20% of the sales revenue in return for our investment for the above compensation and various activities for localization, marketing, report, customer care, settlement/remittance, and others.

*In case of sales at Ubinuri’s own App Store, which will be launched in early 2011, Ubinuri will send you 70% of the net revenue.

If you are interested in the above proposal, I will send the detailed information on ARM.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Best regards,

Scott Jeon
Ubinuri, Inc.
(http://www.fingertool.com)
Byuksan Digital Valley 3, Suite 1104
212-13, Kuro-Dong, Kuro-Gu, Seoul, Korea
Office) +82-2-516-7651
android@fingertool.com

I haven’t been able to find out much information about “Ubinuri, Inc.”, but I did find references to several other messages sent to other application developers, such as this one from “Paul Noh” to Kostya Vasilyev, the developer of “Bluetooth widget“, and this other comment that’s also from “Paul Noh” to Zenyee, the developer of “Zenyee Rotate Screen“.

UPDATE 2: I found a brief blog post by Septillionsoft, that says their application “Fuel” now supports the Korean language, and that the translation was done by “Ubinuri, Inc.”.  Although, it’s still incredibly difficult to find any information about Ubinuri. In fact, it’s so bad, that this post is already on the second page of the Google search results for “Ubinuri, Inc.”, within hours of me initially posting this.

UPDATE 3: I managed to locate yet another developer, Tom Keeber, who received a letter from Ubinuri (this letter was also from Scott Jeon, the same person who wrote to me), asking them to allow them to distribute their application “Hydromaster”. Also, on Tom’s blog, a developer who simply goes by “James” in his comment, but has a website called “AISOPS” wrote:

I received the same email. I have had several conversations with Scott via email. I sent him my strings.xml to convert to Korean and received it back. I have implemented the ARM code and am ready to send him the apk but am a bit skeptical as well. I am going to ask for some references before I send the file.

And, as another commenter, “Warren” pointed out:

I’ve also been contacted by Scott about my Android. They offer the $300 provided I install the ARM and agree with their terms.

I’m unclear on whether this is valid or not. But I’m thinking that I could generate a special version of the code just for them. And if I get something out of this, then good.

But, under no circumstances, will I provide bank account information. I feel much more comfortable with the Android marketplace business model.

I will continue to look into Ubinuri, and post my findings here, to make it easier for others who get similar e-mail messages find out more information about “Ubinuri, Inc.”, and determine whether or not the offer is a scam. The fact that other developers have had direct communications with the company is reassuring, but I’m still somewhat uncomfortable about the lack of information about the company.

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16 Responses to Ubinuri, Inc. and ARM Digital Right Management

  1. Yeah, I got a letter like that too. I smell a scam, but I could be wrong. Honestly, I’m really nervous about distributing it to a country where my copyrights aren’t enforcible at all.

  2. marcello says:

    hi , today i received the same email from ubinuri.
    have you the new news ?

    thanks you !

    Marcello

    • Dylan Taylor says:

      I haven’t received any replies from them yet, which makes me believe it’s a scam. I will assume so, until it’s proven otherwise, and I suggest that others do the same.

      • marcello says:

        hi Dylan

        Ubinury replied to me instead ….. there are still unclear points that make me think bad … know someone who has done business with them?

    • Dylan Taylor says:

      I don’t know anyone who has done business with Ubinuri, at all, which is far from reassuring. I believe that they are sending emails to (almost) any developer who lists their email address.

  3. Simon says:

    I don’t think this sounds like someone who want to steal your application and pretend to be their own and sell it. Please search “adam gates”. People who want to may copies will do things like him, just download your application and change the content inside it to make it “his own” software.

    Besides, I found there is less than 10 download from Korea, out of my 10,000 download, I think Korea market is somewhere that invisible by android market users, or Korea already blocked access to android market. If that is the case, going through this kind of deal may be a good choice to get some money out of a market that I cannot reach by myself.

    I am still undergoing negotiation with them, and I will keep you guys posted whether or not I can receive the down payment. Cheers !

    • everson qiu says:

      hey, i also receive the same email. if you have more detail about the company ,please contact me .my email is qiuxumin1@gmail.com . Thanks.

  4. Jumig says:

    I got it too… I just contacted them back for further details…
    please keep us updated if something comes up!

  5. Philip says:

    Count me in the group. I got the email today as well. Mine is from John Kim. Doing a search brought this post up as #1. I and waiting to see if anyone has any luck. Sounded fishy to me as well.

  6. Same boat as everyone here. Would love to hear of any updates from anyone.

    …wouldn’t it be great if this wasn’t a scam?!

  7. Ferminho says:

    Hi, I’m in the same situation. We have a rather simple, ad-supported game and we’ve said ‘yes’ but still haven’t signed/sent anything since we’re a bit skeptical too. If anyone makes an advance please share it

    • Dylan Taylor says:

      As far as I’m concerned, until I get any money, it’s too good to be true.

  8. Steve Broome says:

    Got the same email for my mwine app but I am not willing to respond yet to be honest.

  9. David Stopar says:

    Here’s my contribution to the growing mystery; 1)We need to look for any patterns that might exist in regards to who is being contacted by Ubinuri. 2)We need to be wary not just of financial scams but of any kind of espionage that might be carried out without our knowledge. 3)Something doesn’t “smell” right about this and I don’t think its about money.

    Here’s the e-mail I received in its entirety:

    Dear David Stopar,

    I am writing on behalf of Ubinuri, Inc., a distributor of Android-based mobile applications through local app stores in Korea. I am writing to express our interest in selling your application, My Moral Compass, in Korea.

    As Game category of Android Market is not available in Korea, your game applications cannot be purchased by any of 2 million Korean android phone users at Android Market.

    In addition, in order to sell your application at the local app stores in Korea, it is necessary to implement, within your application, the Application Rights Management (ARM) software provided by the local app store vendors. Ubinuri is willing to compensate you in advance for your efforts to implement the ARM software.

    In this regard, I would appreciate it greatly if you would review the following proposal:

    1) Implementation of ARM Software

    – In order to sell apps through Korean app stores, developers must implement ARM plug-ins within their apps. The ARM plug-ins prevent illegal copying of the protected applications and ensure that applications purchased from the app stores are genuine.

    – Ubinuri will pay 300 US Dollars per application for the implementation of the ARM software vended by the largest app store in Korea.

    – It is our hope that this fee will provide adequate compensation to the application developer for the work required to implement the ARM plug-in within their application.

    – In addition, Ubinuri will apply for and obtain game rating from Korea Game Rating Board for and on behalf of you at its own cost.

    2) Payment

    – In adition to the above mentioned fee for implementing the ARM software, Ubinuri is prepared to pay 50% of the net revenue generated by sales of each application sold on the Korean app store.

    (The operator of the Korean app store will take 30% of the net revenue generated by sales of your application, and Ubinuri will take 20%. In exchange for the 20% of revenue, Ubinuri will provide Korean language localization, marketing, financial reporting, customer care, and settlement/remittance of funds to you, as well as other services as needed.)

    – When your applications are sold on Ubinuri’s own App Store, which will launch in early 2011, Ubinuri will pay you 70% of the net revenue generated by sales of your applications.

    If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, or have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

    (For further information, please visit http://www.ubi-nuri.com)

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best regards,

    Scott

    Ubinuri, Inc.

    http://www.ubi-nuri.com

    907 E&C Venture Dream Tower 6

    197-28 Guro-Dong, Guro-Gu, Seoul, Korea

    Office) +82-2-516-7651

    NOTICE : This email and any attachments to it may be confidential and are intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed.

    • Dylan Taylor says:

      Hi, I recently moved my site to dylanmtaylor.com, the new URL of the Ubinuri post is http://www.dylanmtaylor.com/2010/08/16/ubinuri-inc-and-arm-digital-right-management/.

  10. gowd says:

    Got the below response from ubi-nuri. They also sent me an Agreement document. Has anyone done any inquiries?
    ————————————————————————————————————————-
    Thanks for your kind and prompt response.

    Would you also provide references of any developers who have worked with you and distributed their app through your firm.
    – You can check our partners in our hompage. (http://www.ubi-nuri.com/)

    We want to publish your free apps.

    Ubinuri will pay 200 USD per Application, less local applicable taxes if any, per each game Application to the Developer to compensate the Developer for their support of Ubinuri in distributing the game Applications.

    Ubinuri will make the payment to the Developer’s bank account in Seven(7) days from receiving rating symbol embedded Application file from the Developer.

    Attached please find the rating symbol that should be displayed at the initial or splash screen of your game over 3 seconds.
    The size of the symbol should be more than 15% of the whole screen.
    (For further information, please visit http://ubi-nuri.com/support/?page=4 )

    If you send us the apks of “<>” with the attached symbol, we will apply for and obtain the certificate.

    Should you have any question, please feel free to let me know.

    I attached draft agreement, you can refer it.

    If you agree with our proposal, please sign and send me back.

    Best regards,
    Scott

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