Google Play Store Restores FrostWire After IMI Takedown

FrostWire has been reinstated on the Google Play Store after the app was suspended for alleged copyright infringement more than a month ago.

For those unaware, FrostWire is a free, open-source, and well-established BitTorrent client that was released in September 2004 as a fork of LimeWire, a free peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing client. However, over time developers added more features, including support for the BitTorrent protocol. In version 5, FrostWire completely dropped support for the Gnutella network and became a BitTorrent-only client.

FrostWire has a remarkable userbase of 10 million installs and almost a quarter million reviews are only in the Google Play Store. It is also available across the most popular platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, and Android.

While the FrostWire app doesn’t host or feature infringing content, nor does it store anything in the client, it was suspended by the Google Play Store at the end of November last year owing to a takedown notice from the Indian Music Industry (IMI).

For the unversed, IMI is a trust that represents the recording industry distributors in India, which includes all major music labels in the country, including popular names such as Universal Music Group (India), Warner Music Group (India), and Sony Music India.

As per the takedown notice, FrostWire infringed the rights of the song “Genda Phool,” released by Indian rapper Badshah.

On November 27, 2023, Google suspended the app, following which Angel Leon, developer of FrostWire, immediately sent a reinstatement request along the following lines:

“It’s important to clarify that our app functions as a BitTorrent client, providing a platform for users to share and download legal content.

We unequivocally condemn copyright infringement. Our platform is designed to respect and uphold the rights of content creators while promoting open and legal digital sharing. We believe that the recent copyright claim against our application stems from a misunderstanding of its purpose and functionality.”

Generally, when a developer files a counternotice against the takedown notice, the rightsholders have 10 days to respond with a formal legal complaint. In the event that they fail to respond, the app is normally restored. However, this did not happen in the case of FrostWire.

Further, on December 28, 2023, the status of the app was changed from ‘Suspended’ to ‘Removed’, following which the developer (Leon) had to follow a process of reinstatement.

Many issues that weren’t related to copyright infringement but required multiple code updates were flagged by Google, which included changes to old installers that no longer affected newer versions.

After submitting several new updates, on January 5, 2024, Google finally reinstated the app back into the Play Store.

On January 7, 2024, FrostWire announced its comeback via a blog post by releasing FrostWire 2.7.7 build 730 for Android claiming it as “FrostWire’s Phoenix Moment: Rebirth from the Ashes!”

“This update is particularly special as it comes just after FrostWire’s reinstatement on the Google Play Store. It’s not just an update; it’s a celebration of persistence, innovation, and community spirit,” FrostWire wrote in its blog post.

“As we celebrate this rebirth, imagine an ‘Ice Phoenix’ rising majestically from a frosty terrain. This mythical creature, with its crystalline feathers and a shimmering aura, soars upwards amidst swirling snowflakes. This Ice Phoenix is not just a fantasy; it embodies the spirit of FrostWire – ever resilient, ever evolving.”

To download or update to FrostWire 2.7.7 on Android and Chromebook, you can click here.

Currently, it is unclear whether IMI’s takedown notice was a mistake, or if they had issues with the software. The music group has yet to provide a comment on the issue.

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Kavita Iyer
Kavita Iyer
An individual, optimist, homemaker, foodie, a die hard cricket fan and most importantly one who believes in Being Human!!!


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