Version Reviewed: 1.0.4
iPhone Integration [rating:0/5]
User Interface [rating:0/5]
Re-use / Replay Value [rating:0/5]
Endless Walls is an application that displays a slideshow of wallpapers from Flickr and allows you to copy then to your camera roll for later use as wallpapers. The problem with this is that it looks like many of the images used in Endless Walls are copyrighted. Even though the images are loaded directly from the Flickr servers, this is still an application that ignores any sort of copyright or do not download settings the owner has set on their images. I'm not sure how I feel about this.
It would be easy enough to go to one of the Flickr groups that were created to index iPhone sized wallpaper images and download them directly to your iPhone in Mobile Safare. So is this application doing anything different? Well, yes. For one they are charging for the ability to do this. They are also ignoring the setting that the owner has set to keep people from downloading their images. Next, they are not even displaying any of the metadata for the photo such as who uploaded the photo, title, etc.
Another thing, they claim that there are over 7,000 wallpapers. Then why do I see so many duplicates? Inside the Endless Walls bundle, there is a file called cache.xml -- while I'm not sure that this file contains all of the images used, it does contain only 2,000 unique URLs all pointing to Flickr.com image servers.
Motacore.com, the developers of Endless Walls were asked if they though their use of copyrighted images in this application was OK and this is their response:
That's a very interesting point that our attorney may have overlooked. Thank you for bringing that to our attention. I will speak with our counsel as soon as he is available for a meeting.
While Flickr is currently one of our bigger sources, we are in the process of moving away from it to a user submitted (submitted to us) cache of wallpapers.
Way back in the pre-historic days, you know before the App Store, when there were other ways to get application on the iPhone, there was an application called Wallpaper, developed by Sean/Big Zaphod, who now works for Tapulous. It was a great and similar app but all of the wallpapers were user submitted directly from their iPhones. Seems like that is the direction that Motacore is heading. (And here's hoping we'll see an official version of Wallpaper, too!) Motacore is targeting the end of September, 2008 for this move. We'll see how it goes.
So, in the end, I'm torn. This is a really easy application to grab new wallpapers on your iPhone, and fairly well developed. But legally and morally it just doesn't seem right. So I'm going to have to leave this application at 0 stars. In the end you will need to make your own decision. Once they move to a user-generated and submitted version, we will re-visit it.