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Epic sues to stop Google from removing Bandcamp from the Play Store

Epic Games has been battling the two most popular stores for smartphone apps. The latest contention in court is that Google should not kick Bandcamp off the Play Store after the Android OS owner updated its in-app payment policies.

Bandcamp, which Epic recently acquired, has been using its own payment system in its independent music store on Android. This was because of an exception to Google’s Play Store rules that allows digital music stores to bypass Google’s billing system. However, Google has now modified its terms to compel Bandcamp and similar apps to use the platform’s billing system. The implication is that Google will take a cut of the revenue coming to Bandcamp.

Google has given Bandcamp until June 1st to comply with the new rules.

Epic, which is not new to suing over app store policies, argues that the fee introduced by Google would make it impossible to continue offering creators 82 percent of their earnings, a big draw of the platform. Google is asking for 10 percent, apparently offering Bandcamp a special deal instead of 30 percent, but Epic still feels it is too much.

The company said Bandcamp would have to choose between making customers pay the extra, cutting artistes’ money, operating on Android at a loss, or stopping sales on Android. None of the options are palatable to Epic.

Epic also argues that Google’s new policy will make creators wait longer for their money. Bandcamp pays the artists between 24 and 48 hours of making a sale, but with Google in the picture, the waiting time is extended to between 15 and 45 days.

According to Epic, Google hides behind a supposed clarification it made in September 2020. Bandcamp is not the only company affected, as Barnes & Noble has stopped selling digital books through its Android app. Similarly, Audible no longer accepts payments with cards on Android to dodge Android’s new tax.

In the filing, Epic invoked a similar argument to Apple’s last year. The game publisher claims that setting up the infrastructure to integrate Google’s new policies will take too many resources. Bandcamp works with PayPal. However, the argument appears weak in Epic’s case because Google had made the announcement more than a year ago, which is arguably enough time to comply with the new policy.

According to Ethan Diamond, Bandcamp co-founder and CEO, the lawsuit’s purpose is to force Google to let the platform continue as it functions. “Bandcamp’s mission is to help spread the healing power of music by building a community where artists thrive through the direct support of their fans and where fans gather to explore the amazing musical universe that their direct support helps create. That community now consists of over 500,000 independent artists and 11,000 independent labels who rely on the support of the millions of music fans on Bandcamp to fund their next record, buy groceries, or pay their rent, mortgage, or utility bill. We believe it’s imperative for fans to be able to express that critical support on Android, and so to stop Google from implementing these new policies for Bandcamp and other developers, Epic is filing a motion to seek a court injunction allowing Bandcamp to continue operating as we have.”

Written by HackerVibes

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