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In many countries, copyright law is considered a bigger fantasy than Tolkien. Thieves regularly swipe the work of legit tech companies, follow a few IKEA-esque assembly instructions, and sell it as their own. The cops won't stop this because "owning" an idea makes no sense to them, and also because they're probably using the ripoff versions themselves. This lack of enforcement has led to some hilariously brazen products, created almost as if they were meant to show how few fucks their creators give about our puny laws. Products like ...

7
Russian Pokemon Go Has You "Chase" Historical Figures

Moscow Department of Information Technologies

Pokemon Go has its haters. The Pokemon, for example; they can hardly be enjoying that whole process. Also, Russia. The Russian government is convinced that Pokemon Go, which we Westerners use mainly to get exercise by chasing imaginary critters into traffic, is a CIA plot to get photographs of Leninland's secrets. Also, it might be Satanic, because ... who knows.

Nintendo
Do Satanists like exercise?

To protect its citizens, Moscow has launched an acceptable alternative: Get To Know Moscow. Photo. Yes, that's the name. It's got the same essential idea as Pokemon Go -- walk around, find stuff -- but instead of cartoon monsters, you're on the hunt for statues of famous Russians. Who needs Golbat when you've got Yuri Gagarin? Fuck a Rattata, Russia's got Rasputin! Go to hell, Pidgey, because we're hunting Alexander Pushkin!

Moscow Department of Information Technologies
This does look more fun than catching Zubat.

Moscow Dot Photo does differ from Pokemon Go in several ways, though we're guessing none will seriously tickle your pleasure glands. The statues don't appear randomly like Pokemon -- the game simply points you to where they are, usually in an area related to whatever they did in real life. Then you walk there. If you're entertained by your GPS telling you how to get to the nearest Wendy's, then this game might be for you. Obviously, this means no Soviet gyms, since it'd be historically inaccurate to pit one Ivan the Terrible against another. But you will learn about Moscow's history, which is way more fun than capturing and enslaving fantastical animals.

6
GooPhone: The Chinese iPhone Ripoff That Tried To Sue Apple

Steve Hemmerstoffer/Nowhere Else

Pirated goods generally have a poor reputation as far as quality goes. But some ripoffs have managed to rise above this notoriety. China's GooPhone is so good at turning other companies' ideas into their own that they've been rewarded with a loyal fanbase which actually prefers their products to Apple's or Samsung's.

etkchina.com
Good enough to fill the iPhone-shaped hole in your life.

Like many shady companies, it's hard to learn anything about GooPhone. Their website's "About Us" page doesn't say a goddamn thing about them. And the only time you'll ever read about them in the news is when they get accused of ripping someone off (so, every Tuesday). But here's more or less how they work: GooPhone creates legitimate working smartphones, with legitimate specs, at discount prices. It does this by being heroically unoriginal, pilfering every design feature from competing Apple or Android models. Here's their i6s phone:

You'll notice that it looks exactly like an Apple iPhone 6S. The only real difference is that it runs a version of Android tweaked to look like iOS, which makes this something of an unholy union -- the smartphone equivalent of Rosemary's baby.

But they don't merely hijack the newest products; GooPhone goes after products that Apple and Samsung haven't even sold yet. Once one of the Big Two announce a new phone, GooPhone tracks down the specs (easy enough to do, since China makes most of these phones anyway), creates a clone, and sells it long before the original product hits the shelves. In one instance, they were brazen enough to steal the design for the upcoming iPhone 5, make their own GooPhone i5, wait for the the iPhone to come out, then threaten to sue Apple, claiming that the iPhone 5 looked too much like the GooPhone i5.

Wavebreakmedia/iStock
"Yes, I'm serious."

Wow. We almost want to applaud them for having the balls to try that.

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5
China Is Full Of Fake Apple Stores

Forbes

It's one thing to copy a phone, but an entire phone company? That's worse than having zero fucks to give -- that's being so far into the negative fucks that you have to declare bankruptcy and have fucks garnished from your wages. But that's what countless Apple stores that are in no way Apple stores are doing in China right now. Dozens of these fake stores can be found in various cities, and they aren't rundown shacks with badly painted apples on the door.

AP
These things look legit.

Everything about these stores scream "Apple" -- the setup, the decor, the gentle air of condescension. The pretend-store thing is so huge that there's a spinoff business dedicated to selling uniforms, decor, sample products, shelving, and anything else you might need to open up your very own Fake Apple Store. It seems many of the workers even think they are Apple workers. It's the town in The Truman Show if everybody was Truman.

And lest you think the shelves are filled with the likes of the MegaSuperGreatEyeComputerPhone 4S, think again. They sell real Apple items, and almost always have the hottest new products.

These stores send hipster sleeper agents overseas to buy up as many new Apple products as they can, ship them all back to China, and then resell them for at least double the price. The "silly people" (to quote one sympathetic clerk) happily pay, because the alternative is to wait for the one official store in town to stock what Americans have been flaunting on Facebook for ages.

Understandably, Apple isn't thrilled with these knockoff stores, despite the profile-boosting name recognition. It's a lot harder to manage your brand when no one at your "brand" answers to you. Apple does try to shut these stores down, but that often means they just change their names to something like "Smart Store" or "Digital Experience Shop," while still continuing to sell Apple products that cost more than a real apple farm. Meanwhile, several more fake stores appear in their place, like some kind of bevel-edged hydra.

4
The Hilariously Terrible League Of Legends Clone That Rips Off Everything

ZQ Games

Making a video game is hard. But taking a game that already exists, re-skinning the characters, and giving it a new name is so easy that we did it three times while writing this article. This kind of thing goes on in China a lot. One of the most blatant examples is ZQ Games' 300 Heroes, which not only plagiarizes League Of Legends, but roughly every licensed character ever. Here, take a look:

ZQ Games
[Thick Scottish accent] "That'll do, WALL-E. That'll do."

That right there is WALL-E, Shrek, and Naruto teaming up in a way only previously possible in the imaginations of over-sugared eight-year-olds. ZQ Games, to their infinitesimal credit, tried to make at least some of these characters unique -- in this case by scrunching WALL-E's head halfway down his neck and giving him a giant beer gut, while giving Shrek a shitty Zorro mask and the super-vague name of "Green Ogre." Oh, and now he can shoot donkeys.

ZQ Games
Not a metaphor. Or a bad idea, really.

It's not only those three, though. 300 Heroes rips off everyone. Ultraman, Goku, and Sephiroth all make appearances, along with a clone of Marvel Comics' Monkey King, who shoots Angry Birds.

Add a nonsensical dash of Plants Vs. Zombies background art and probably several thousand other stolen things, and you've got, by sheer weight alone, one of the most staggeringly illegal games in video game history.

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3
North Korea Rips Off Apple's Operating System, Uses It To Spy On Its People

Korea Computer Center

North Korean citizens aren't allowed to use standard Western tech products, for fear of spyware or other backdoor software. The few North Koreans who even have computers (they need government permission and about three months' salary to get one) can't even access the proper internet; they have to use an intranet called Kwangmyong, which displays a few thousand (censored) sites on a good day, and runs on a Kim-tested, Motherland-approved operating system called Red Star. Which is a total knockoff of Apple's OS, right down to the "spinning beach ball" that tells you there's still time to hit the bathroom before your Supreme-Leader-themed porn loads.

mjd7999/YouTube
It's nothing but women talking about how big his dick is, without ever actually showing it.

Anything you can find on a Mac, you can find on a Red Star, only slightly renamed to help remind you where you are. The Finder, for example, is now the KFinder. Their calendar is called a kCal. QuickTime Player is ... QuickTime Player. Which feels like a missed opportunity.

mjd7999/YouTube
No Kwicktime? Seriously, try a little, North Korea.

Honestly, aside from the Apple logo being replaced by a star, this is 100-percent an Apple OS, only tailor-made to fit the needs of North Korea's government. Those needs being to spy on literally everything. In addition to complete hardline monitoring of every site imaginable, Red Star boasts such creeptastic features as a program that watermarks every file and tracks where they get sent, even if transported via USB stick. Have you shared a pirated MP3 of Moranbong Band's not-at-all-coerced smash hit, "My Country Is The Best"? Kim knows.

Kim will also know if you try to fuck with Red Star's coding. If a user attempts to disable firewalls, virus scanner, watermark marker, or anything else, the computer either reboots itself or screams ERROR, ERROR until the military pays a rather unfriendly visit. So they thought of everything! Except human rights.

That'll probably be in the next update.

2
Turkey's Answer To "Beats By Dre" Headphones Is "Sound By Steve"

Karsten Lemm

It's hard to justify blowing $300 on a pair of Beats By Dre headphones, even if the sound quality is greatly enhanced by Dr. Dre saying it is. But they are popular and cool-looking, so if you want to look fashionable while shutting off the outside world, you're kind of stuck.

Unless you live in Turkey, that is, where Steve's got you covered. Some sharp-eyed traveler found these in Istanbul: the heralded "Sound By Steve" headphones. They're packaged exactly like Beats, except now it's Steve.

Dr_Evil_173/reddit

No word on how much Sound By Steve will run you, but since you're buying them from a rundown kiosk in the middle of Istanbul, you probably won't be hit too badly in the wallet zone.

It more than Steve pulling this scam, incidentally. There are countless Beats knockoffs out there, all sold at rock-bottom prices. How about a pair of Mixr headphones for $15? They also look the part.

Nazya
If the part involves being sold on a shady website, that is.

The only real problem these knockoffs have is that they aren't any good at listening to music. The wiring sucks, the padding on the ears is nonexistent, and the wireless versions cannot in fact be used wirelessly. But music listening and basic functionality is, like, less than half the job of headphones these days, right? We're all mainly using these to avoid conversations now.

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1
Bootleg Game Consoles Are Routinely Insane

Video Game Obsession

Bored with Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and their tired, predictable "quality"? Luckily, the black market has tons of shitty alternatives to sate your cruddy, poorly-built tastes. We've covered a few of these things in the past, like the Polystation 3, the Neo Double Games, and the PCP Station. But there are more. So many more.

Let's start with the most extreme end of the spectrum, here exemplified by the eXtreme Box:

AnandTech
No.1 In Quality

The eXtreme Box looks sort of like what you'd get if the Xbox and PlayStation had a baby, threw that baby in the river, and the baby survived, grew up bitter, and now carries around a goddamn handgun because the world must pay.

Even better, the eXtreme Box has its own ripoffs, like the Battman system, which combines three terrible things: a shitty console, an even more realistic-looking gun, and a general reminder that Batman and Robin exists.

via A Little Bit On The Awesome
It doesn't claim to be No.1 in Quality, so we can assume it is a close second.

If we move downmarket a smidge, we can find the Cheer-Tech PX-3600, which looks enough like an Xbox to confuse well-meaning grandparents at Christmastime. The PX-3600 boasts some peculiar features, like nine-pin controller ports straight off a 1980s Atari, a power button, and several controllers, one (and only one) of which vibrates.

Technabob
Give that one to the friend who's gone the longest without sex.

Moving on, we have the terrifically named iDong, which appears to be a Kinect clone perched on top of two VCRs like a nesting bird.

Nikkei Technology
No one knows where the VCRs come from, or what will happen when they disappear.

How about a MiWi? This appears to be a Wii combined with a cheapish room humidifier, though it's a bit less functional and well-conceived than that implies.

Technabob
It will also do nothing for your nighttime congestion.

Of course, all of these pale in comparison to the heroically named Game Theory Admiral.

Nes World
Permission to come aboard!

Despite its appearance, the Admiral plays original NES games. You first have to plug a big yellow chestburster-looking extension into the top of the Modern Major Generalstation, then install the game on top of it, so the cartridge is constantly staring down on you in shame. But still, it plays NES games. That's pretty boss.

And finally we bring you to the Super Megason IV (and this isn't a naming flourish -- it is genuinely the fourth product in the Megason series). For a mere $6.63, you too can play Javeling Throw 403 and Excite Bike 35235. But that's not all! Not only does this again come equipped with an extra cartridge(!), it has yet another fucking handgun, and also will apparently transform you into the goddamned Starchild.

Engadget
That's not how you hold a controller, Starchild.

Jason can be found on Facebook and Twitter, forever creepin'. If you enjoyed this article, more can be found at his Patreon, where access to everything he writes until the nanobots consume us all is available for a buck!

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