Apple have rejected an iPhone-based version of a book because it contained strong language.
Citing a clause in the iPhone development kit that states applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content
or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgement (sic) may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users, Apple rejected Knife Music by David
Carnoy, going so far as to provide a sample of one particularly graphic section.
Alex Brie, developer of the application, believes Apple is checking for such content using word-matching software because it would be difficult to believe that Apple
has staff with the time to manually read each book submitted. Apple's staff shouldn't be allowed to refuse to publish works of literature based only on word matching.
Apple offers both movies and music on the iTunes Store containing similar
language to that found in Carnoy's book, although in those cases it is able to either mark the content explicit or rely on the MPAA's movie ratings; there is no equivalent ratings system for books.
An e-book submitted to Apple's App Store has been approved after the author removed language that apparently offended Apple.
CNET's David Carnoy wrote a book called Knife Music last year, and attempted to submit it to the App Store as
an e-book. Apple rejected his application for containing "objectionable content," which appeared to be a couple of uses of 'fuck'
But Carnoy decided to remove that type of language from the book, which he said didn't amount to
all that many words in the first place. Upon resubmitting the application, it was approved, and can now be found on the App Store.
I decided to censor because it wasn't that big a deal. I changed it very little. It's more important to have
people check the book out--along with the whole concept of ebooks on the iPhone. It's kind of virgin territory now, but it's going to be really big soon, Carnoy said in an e-mail.
Apple has blocked the creators of South Park from selling an iPhone app.
According to a BoingBoing post, friends at South Park said that We first announced our iPhone App back in October, after we submitted the Application to
Apple for approval. After a couple of attempts to get the application approved, we are sad to say that our app has been rejected.
The reason? The content was potentially offensive!
It's possible to use Apple's iPods and iPhone with third-party software, and BluWiki's users wanted to make sure the world could find out how.
Apple, however, was not fond of the situation and threatened BluWiki with legal action if the
information was not removed.
Now, BluWiki's operators are suing Apple in hopes of protecting the free speech of their users and getting a declaratory judgment that posting information does not violate the DMCA.
BluWiki, like most wiki
platforms, is open to the public for the sole purposes of sharing information. In November of 2008, Apple's team of lawyers sent OdioWorks a letter demanding that the pages (referred to as the "iTunesDB Pages") be removed from BluWiki lest the
company be faced with further legal action. Apple accused OdioWorks of disseminating information to circumvent Apple's DRM and enabling copyright infringement by hosting the pages on iTunesDB, which Apple believed was in violation of the
anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA.
OdioWorks complied with the request at that time, but says that it takes the First Amendment rights of its users very seriously. Companies like Apple should not be able to censor online discussions by
making baseless legal threats against services like BluWiki that host the discussion, OdioWorks owner Sam Odio said in a statement.
Wikis and other community sites are home to many vibrant discussions among hobbyists and tinkerers, added EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann:
It's legal to engage in reverse engineering in order to create a competing product, it's legal to talk about reverse engineering, and it's legal for a public wiki to host those discussions.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have now filed suit against Apple to defend the First Amendment rights of an operator of a noncommercial, public Internet "wiki" site known as BluWiki.
EFF and the San Francisco law
firm of Keker & Van Nest represent OdioWorks LLC, which runs the BluWiki website. Like many "wiki" platforms, such as Wikipedia, it is open to the public for collaborative authoring and editing on any topic. The site is entirely
noncommercial, operated by OdioWorks as a public service.
Late last year, after BluWiki users began a discussion about making some Apple iPods and iPhones interoperate with software other than Apple's own iTunes, Apple lawyers demanded removal of
the content. In a letter to OdioWorks, the attorneys alleged that the discussions constituted copyright infringement and a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (DMCA's) prohibition on circumventing copy protection measures. Fearing legal
action by Apple, OdioWorks took down the discussions from the BluWiki site.
OdioWorks filed the lawsuit in order to vindicate its right to restore those discussions. Filed in federal court in San Francisco, the suit seeks a declaratory judgment
that the discussions do not violate any of the DMCA's anti-circumvention provisions, and do not infringe any copyrights owned by Apple.
I take the free speech rights of BluWiki users seriously, said Sam Odio, owner of OdioWorks. Companies like Apple should not be able to censor online discussions by making baseless legal threats against services like BluWiki that host the discussions.
Apple has officially backed off from legal threats made against OdioWorks, the operator of a wiki that hosted pages discussing how users might use an iPod with non-Apple media software.
Apple has now decided that the iTunesDB pages ain't no thang
anymore—but not because of people's First Amendment rights. Apple has stopped utilizing the code in question, rendering the code obsolete for the purposes at issue in this action. Publishing that code is no longer of any harm or benefit to anyone,
read an Apple's letter. Given this change of circumstances, Apple no longer has, nor it will have in the future, any objection to the publication of the iTunes DB Pages.
Apple decided to call off the dogs only because the code is now
obsolete; what will happen when users inevitably start talking about Apple's new code and trying to get the Palm Pre to work with iTunes again?
Apple may put News International's nose out of joint with its definition of 'obscene', after rejecting a newspaper-reading iPhone app for reasons of rudeness.
Newspaper(s), an application that renders content from the world's newspapers, was
rejected by iTunes because it included the UK's Sun newspaper - complete with topless Page Three girl - on the grounds that it violates the iTunes policy on obscene content.
But the Sun reckons it's a family paper, and takes
accusations of pornography-pushing very seriously indeed.
According to a report on iLounge the publisher of Newspaper(s) was recommended to resubmit the application once OS 3.0 is released, after which a suitable category will be available, but
instead decided to remove the offending newspaper from the app.
Apple keeps a censorial grip over its iPhone which one of America's top-selling smart phones. It has proven itself more than willing to censor a broad range of content it finds morally questionable from violence to sexual themes. The latest example
of Apple seeking to help guide its customers' moral decisions came when the company rejected an application update from Trent Reznor, for an app for his band Nine Inch Nails.
Apple said the app was unacceptable because it came with profane music
clips from NIN's groundbreaking album The Downward Spiral . Some note the curiousness of Apple's ruling, given that it happily sold the album on iTunes.
Now, at last, Apple has let its objections go away in the end. It has reversed its
stance and said that Reznor can have it all, when it comes to his app update. Reznor happily Twittered the news to his fans.
While, it’s good to see Apple looking to re-evaluate its rules surrounding how it polices its app store empire, it’s also
somewhat troubling, according to some, that Apple is developing a habit of rejecting applications on questionable grounds and then approving them after criticism. Many say that Apple's selective and haphazard censorship demonstrates an inability to
logically regulate its content, something which threatens the viability of the iPhone's app platform.
The third version of Hot Dog Down A Hallway , Metaversal Studios' only iPhone app, has been rejected by the App Store. Apple ludicrously cites explicit content as the reason for its decision. Metaversal Studios is unconvinced by the label,
as the game, despite its suggestive name, has previously been given a low age rating of nine and up by the App Store. The developer's Interactive Director, Dave Laundry, believes the iTunes censorship policy is a mystery.
Hot Dog Down A
Hallway v1.1 is still available from the App Store for $1, but will likely be removed.
A British-made iPhone program
has been banned by Apple - because it 'could' allow people to read the Kama Sutra.
Eucalyptus, a book reading application developed by Edinburgh programmer James Montgomerie, allows users to download and read thousands of classic titles
from the library of Project Gutenberg, the respected website that hosts out of copyright books.
But after repeated attempts to get Eucalyptus onto the iPhone's popular App Store, Montgomerie was told that his application was being rejected
because one of Gutenberg's books happens to be Sir Richard Burton's 1883 translation of the famous guide to sex.
In a series of emails, Apple told Montgomerie that allowing access to the Kama Sutra meant that the program contains
inappropriate sexual content, in violation of the rules for iPhone software.
Of course the same title is already accessible through a number of other popular ebook applications for the iPhone, and even through the handset's web browser.
Montgomerie told the Guardian that although the situation has left him frustrated, it will not put him off developing for the iPhone. As a temporary solution to the problem, he has submitted a new version of Eucalyptus to Apple which specifically
blocks the Kama Sutra - and says he hopes that bureaucracy will not get in the way this time: I would like to think that someone, somewhere at Apple would realise just how flawed the whole approval process is, and do something to change it. It does
seem like it could be a lot better without having to spend too much extra money on it. They could make the whole thing a lot more pleasant.
Apple has reversed its decision to reject the e-book reader app Eucalyptus from the App Store on the basis that it can access an English translation of the Kama Sutra. The change came after a hopefully embarrassed Apple representative contacted the
developer directly to discuss the issue.
The Apple representative asked Eucalyptus developer James Montgomerie to submit a build of Eucalyptus without any filtering in place, and, as of late Saturday, that version is now available for purchase
from the App Store for $9.99.
The recent discussion concerning the ESA's desire to have its rating organization, the ESRB, evaluate game content for the iTunes App Store brings a number of questions to mind:
Despite its present
chaotic nature, the App Store is a rising star in the game space. Getting in on the ground floor would be a coup for the ESRB. Apple has a lot of money, too, and the ESRB is paid a fee by the developer/publisher for each game it rates.
ESRB is a
non-profit organization funded by the revenue generated from the services we provide the industry. Given our highly discounted rate for lower-budget games, rating mobile games is not a financially attractive proposition; however we believe making ESRB
ratings available for those games would serve consumers well. Parents are already familiar with ESRB ratings and find them to be extremely helpful in making informed choices for their families.
Apple's integration of ESRB ratings into its
parental controls for iPhone games would afford parents the ability to block those video games that carry an ESRB rating utilizing the same tool they are being offered to block video content that has been rated by the MPAA or carries an official TV
rating. It's about giving parents the same ability to do on the iPhone what they are being offered with other entertainment content and can already do on game consoles and other handheld game devices.
What would it cost?
I asked the ESRB what it costs a developer/publisher to have a typical console game rated? Would the cost to rate an iPhone game be less? Mizrachi said:
Our standard fees for getting a game rated cover the costs of providing
that service. However, to make accommodations for lower-budget product like casual and mobile games, several years ago we introduced a highly discounted rate - 80% less - for games that cost under $250,000 to develop. We believe most iPhone games would
likely be eligible for the discounted rate.
Who would pay for ESRB to rate App Store games?
Not the creators of $0.99 games, for the most part. They are apparently not making significant revenue. Apple
has a deep pocket, of course, although they are not the creator of the games for sale on the App Store. Perhaps the larger industry players such as EA, Namco, etc. would foot the bill for their games. They are already accustomed to dealing with the ESRB.
Nutters are furious over a new Apple application which allows teenagers to access softcore pornography via the popular iPhone.
Dubbed 'iPorn' it is the first time the country's one million iPhone users can view such images with an
application approved by the computer company.
The Hottest Girls package, which costs £1.19, is a 17-rated version of an older application that used to offer bikini and lingerie shots.
Previously users have been able to
download softcore content from the web on to the iPhone but this is the first time such images have been available with Apple's permission.
The application is rated for those aged 17 and over, although this relies on teenage iPhone users telling
the truth about their age when they sign up to the App Store.
Parents in the know can set controls on the new iPhone3GS that will stop the app appearing.
Miranda Suit, co-founder of the nutter group MediaMarch told MailOnline she was appalled
: We are very concerned about the mainstreaming of pornography. It is being packaged in a tempting way and will be disastrous for youngsters who are not equipped to deal with such content. And what about the growing number of sex addicts? I know
of cases where they are trying to avoid certain films and magazines, but now even their phone will be a risk for them. We urge the Government to look at the affect pornography has on children and vulnerable adults.
The application was amongst
the first approved for a new 17 rating introduced to the iPhone Store.
However all is not clear as the Hottest Girls app was later removed from the App store sparking off stories that Apple have changed their mind in response to bad press.
Even later it was reported that the developer had asked for the App to be removed due to high demand on servers.
Apple have now come out as he
censorial villain of the piece. By yesterday afternoon Apple was telling CNN:
The developer of this application added inappropriate content directly from their server after the application had been approved and
distributed ... This was a direct violation of the terms of the iPhone Developer Program. The application is no longer available on the App Store.
But it's not just Hottest Girls that has disappeared from the Application
store - other titles from the same publisher have also been exorcised including Hottest Guys and Send Flowers.
Even the developer's web site (now) contains no reference to any of the applications or the accompanying fuss, so Apple
has managed to ensure that iPhone users can download applications freely without fear of encountering a rouged female nipple, for another day at least.
Apple has pulled BeautyMeter—the iPhone/iPod touch app that allowed users to upload pictures of themselves for others to rate—after a 15-yo girl published this picture showing her bare breasts and pubic hair.
Charlie Sorrel at Wired argues
correctly that Apple will be damned with 17+ apps no matter what:
The problems for Apple are clear. By setting itself up as a guardian of the store, Apple can't win. Any time a controversial application is approved, or non-allowed elements are
snuck into an application post-approval, Apple is blamed. If these apps are pulled ahead of time, Apple is called out as an evil censor.
Any application that allows you to upload pictures and share them could be used to do exactly the same. So
where should Apple stop, then? Should they ban any app that can be used to publish pictures or videos? Shouldn't the developers—and the users—be responsible about this and not Apple.
The problem for Apple is probably not a legal one, but one of
public perception, with people and mainstream assuming that—just because it runs on the iPhone—it is Apple's app.
Start Mobile has managed to get 18 separate iPhone applications approved by Apple. So you'll imagine their surprise when one of them was recently rejected. But you may be even more surprised to find out why.
Apparently, Apple doesn't
like the way one piece of art in the app depicts President Obama. Is it out of line or tasteless? Well, you can determine for yourself, because you've undoubtedly seen the art in question before: It's Shepard Fairey's famous “HOPE” image of Obama that
was everywhere during his Presidential campaign.
So why on Earth would this be rejected? Well, here's the wording in the rejection:
It contains content that ridicules public figures and is in violation of
Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement which states: “Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that
in Apple's reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.
Ridicules public figures? This image is hanging in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian — yet, Apple apparently finds
Apple has rejected a dictionary application, Ninjawords , because it included words Apple deemed inappropriate.
According to an interview by John Gruber with Ninjawords developer Phil Crosby, Apple refused to upload Ninjawords
to the iTunes store until a number of objectionable words had been removed. Besides fuck, shit, and various other four-letter ones, words that Apple ordered eliminated include ass, cock, and screw . Even without these
entries, Ninjawords is still a 17+ application!
Apparently, the English dictionary. As Gruber points out on his blog, we're talking about a reference book available in every classroom in the country. Apple's extraordinarily stringent, and
seemingly arbitrary, process to decide what content is appropriate for iPhone users overreaches the level of authority any company should exercise. The 17+ rating system can and should stand on its own as a tool for parents to police their own
children's application use. With any other censorship, Apple simply insults the maturity and intelligence of its customers.
Phill Schiller, a top bod at Apple,
has replied about the censorship of the Ninjawords application.
Contrary to what you reported, the Ninjawords application was not rejected in the App Store review process for including common “swear” words. In fact anyone can
easily see that Apple has previously approved other dictionary applications in the App Store that include all of the “swear” words that you gave as examples in your story.
The issue that the App Store reviewers did find with the Ninjawords
application is that it provided access to other more vulgar terms than those found in traditional and common dictionaries, words that many reasonable people might find upsetting or objectionable. A quick search on Wiktionary.org easily turns up a number
of offensive “urban slang” terms that you won't find in popular dictionaries such as one that you referenced, the New Oxford American Dictionary included in Mac OS X. Apple rejected the initial submission of Ninjawords for this reason, provided the
Ninjawords developer with information about some of the vulgar terms, and suggested to the developer that they resubmit the application for approval once parental controls were implemented on the iPhone.
Schiller also notes that supposedly
offensive words were removed by the developer so that the application could be sold before the introduction of a 17+ parental control feature. The developer could have sold the app 17+ uncut if he had waited for the 17+ parental control facility roll
Of course Apple are sill censorial ratbags if they thing that young people have to wait until they are 17 just to read about vulgar terms in a dictionary.
Apple is so used to having its tame hacks write what it tells them that it gets into a bit of a quandary when they insist on writing the truth.
Bryan Appleyard wrote an extensive piece published in this week's Sunday Times about Steve Jobs and
found that Apple's PR did its level best to squash the story. One Apple PR warned him that writing the biography of Jobs was discouraged and another PR rang up the editor of the Sunday Times to get the story halted.
Now the Sunday Times
story that Apple tried to suppress is being circulated online and you have to wonder what the hell Jobs' Mob is worried about. The article itself is a reasonably balanced. There is a good Steve who is a genius and a bad Steve who is evil. However it
appears that due to Apple's attempt to quash it and the subsequent reports of that unsuccessful kiboshing, far more people are reading it than would have otherwise been the case.
An automated censoring service has left iTunes embarrassed after it censored doo wop to doo w*p , confusing consumers, including Radio 2 DJ Jeremy Vine.
When Vine mentioned in passing to fellow DJ Ken Bruce on Wednesday that he
was surprised to find iTunes had censored an album he wanted, it caused an on-air stir.
A search of iTunes reveals that the asterisk substitution does not apply only to the 1950s genre, but to any track or album that mentions the racial slur wop,
including Lauryn Hill and, those famously inflammatory artists, Prefab Sprout.
Doo wop was originally performed largely by African-Americans, but was later popularised by Italian-American artists. It's the latter ethnic group that has borne the
brunt of the racial slur in question, so in censoring the word, iTunes is being a little over-sensitive.
Adam Howorth, Head of Music PR at iTunes, says the asterisk is imposed by an automated database that checks words against a list but can't
distinguish the context. We have an automated system which looks for potentially off words and asterisks out certain ones based on the rules, and wop is one of those, says Howorth. In the context of this music it is an error.
females on its front page, launched an iPhone application last month which allows paying customers to read a digital version of Bild the night before publication.
Bild has confirmed that it is whiting out escort service advertisements and
Michael Konken, chairman of a German journalists' union, the
DJV, said, It's interference in news reporting. That isn't right. You could call it censorship. He said Apple was a mere conduit for data: The provider is like a truck that transports the content. It's not allowed to dictate the content, he
said, echoing criticisms on some liberty-minded German blogs. He said it was up to the courts to decide if content was illegal.
Helmut Heinen, president of the Federation of German Newspaper Publishers, said he too felt uncomfortable with the
A spokesman for Apple Germany, Georg Albrecht, said the company banned apps with content that
was pornographic, illegal or in breach of privacy. But he said Apple was not making the precise guidelines public.
Apple deleted the 99-cent app from its lineup. The app specializes in viewing image boards on the web and comes preloaded with images of dogs, but with a few adjustments one can customize the app to
view nude women.
Apple's censorial Steve Jobs has said that he won't allow the company to distribute porn, malicious apps, apps that invade your privacy.
I made a mistake and I am sorry. Although I expected this to happen, I feel responsible for the fact that ForChan was banned by Apple from the App Store. A couple of days ago I presented you the first full porn app available at the App Store for
the iPhone and iPod Touch. Why do I feel this guilt? Well, because this is not a porn app. We, the media, banned the app from the App Store. It's our fault. We introduced it as a porn app because it can browse galleries from the web, most of them
happening to consist of nude girls.
ForChan shouldn't be banned because it's not a porn app. It met all of Apple's requirements, but the Cupertino-based company banned it because most of the guys there do not contemplate too much on things. Jesus
Diaz, Senior Editor at Gizmodo and one of my favorite tech journalists, says that Apple should ban Safari and Bing from the App Store. I wholeheartedly agree. ForChan allows iPhone users to browser galleries, while Safari and Bing allows users to browse…
everything including porn. The only difference is that Safari and Bing contains more porn than ForChan!
Apple is stirring up yet another censorship brouhaha with its latest changes to App Store policy.
The company recently began blocking screenshots for apps that are outside the acceptable age range in Parental Controls in iTunes. According to
iPhone developer ChiliFresh, it seems that all overtly sexual apps might be expunged from the App Store too, which is making some users uneasy about Apple's power once again.
Last month developers were notified that all screenshots
for the App Store had to be free of objectionable material and be acceptable for a 4+ rating.
Many of the apps in question were essentially collections of racy pictures (some more racy than others), so a screenshot amounted to soft-core
porn for some. If they could be made appropriate, they wouldn't show much of the app at all.
Despite these changes, however, it appears Apple intends to purge the App Store of all apps with sexual overtones. Developer ChilliFresh got a notice from
Apple that its app Wobble iBoobs was being removed from the App Store due to a policy change on apps with overtly sexual content. An e-mail from the App Store review team explains the change:
The App Store
continues to evolve, and as such, we are constantly refining our guidelines. Your application, Wobble iBoobs (Premium Uncensored), contains content that we had originally believed to be suitable for distribution. However, we have recently received
numerous complaints from our customers about this type of content, and have changed our guidelines appropriately.
We have decided to remove any overtly sexual content from the App Store, which includes your
application. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. If you believe you can make the necessary changes so that Wobble iBoobs (Premium Uncensored) complies with our recent changes, we encourage you to do so and resubmit for review.
Though Apple refrained from commenting on what particular issue may have sparked this policy change, Ars has discovered a campaign by the Parents Television Council that may be at least partly to blame.
The International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP) is considering making a complaint to Apple over the computer firm's request that German publisher Springer censor the naked girls on one of its iPhone apps.
Springer-owned tabloid Bild's
Shake the Bild Girl app allows iPhone users to undress a model. Each time the user shakes the phone, the girl strips an item of her clothing. While Bild features naked women daily in its pages, Apple ruled that the girls in its iPhone app should
The Association of German Magazine Publishers (VDZ) asked FIPP last week to approach Apple over the issue. The VDZ chief executive, Wolfgang Fuerstner, has warned that Apple's move might represent a move towards censorship. In an
interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel he said: Publishers can't sell their soul just to get a few lousy pennies from Apple.
Bild Digital CEO Donata Hopfen agreed: Today they censor nipples, tomorrow editorial content.
After nearly two years of criticism of its censorship of adult content in the iPhone App Store, Apple appears to be gearing up to sell explicit content for both the iPad and the iPhone and iPod touch.
Links to new explicit software categories in iTunes indicate that Apple plans to finally deliver adult content for both the iPad and for existing iPhone OS devices, segregated from other content with parental controls in the same way that iTunes has long sold music with explicit lyrics.
The system uses the same parental controls preferences (below) that can restrict movies to the MPAA-designated G, PG, PG-13, and R ratings, or TV shows to the broadcaster-initiated TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14 and TV-MA classifications.
Currently, Apple has its own rating system for App Store software titles, which sets thresholds at 4+, 9+, 12+, and 17+. However, the company has prohibited the sale of software that includes pornography or other adult subject matter, at
times removing titles it deemed obscene.
This policy has attracted widespread criticism due to the fact that adult content is freely available over the web in the iPhone's Mobile Safari browser. Any App Store titles that incorporate an embedded
web browser, including Facebook, are listed as 17+ for this reason, and can potentially display content that is more explicit than Apple allows in native App Store titles.
Maybe Apple won't be rolling out explicit categories in the App Store after all, at least not after Steve Jobs' comments at the iPhone OS 4.0 event, where a preview of the latest operating system was previewed.
During a Q&A session,
Ryan Block of gdgt asked Jobs whether Apple plans on enabling unsigned applications like Android and Palm OS, and the CEO shocked many people when he answered by blaming porn for the decision not to sanction outside development. Signed apps are ones that
have been approved by Apple for download to iDevices.
There's a porn store for Android, he replied. You can download nothing but porn. You can download porn; your kids can download porn. That's a place we don't want to go – so
we're not going to go there.
Jobs was referring to MiKandi, the innovative and increasingly popular facilitator and marketer of Android-based adult apps. In citing porn as the reason for making such an important decision, however, the iconic
business leader elicited immediate criticism.
The answer — that the iPhone will not allow for unsigned apps — does not come as a surprise, wrote Jason Kincaid for TechCrunch. But Jobs's reasoning behind it was certainly
interesting to hear, because it's a clear example of Apple's hypocrisy.
For years, he continued, iTunes has sold songs with explicit lyrics and movies with graphic nudity. Further, as we've pointed out numerous times, the iPhone comes with
Safari. The web has quite a bit of porn on it. Hell, many porn sites have even launched HTML5 versions that are optimized for the iPhone. Yes, parents can disable access to Safari with parental controls, but Apple could easily add a similar parental
control setting to restrict running unsigned applications, too.
A California political cartoonist was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize this week jogging the memory that Apple's App Store barred his work last December.
Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist Mark Fiore submitted his cartoon app NewsToons
to the App Store, only to have it rejected. Fiore's sin was a supposed violation of the censorial Apple rule:
Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials
of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgment may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users.
Perhaps the outcry over Fiore's banning will
lead to a turnabout by Apple - after all, winning a Pulitzer Prize is no small achievement, and one that should earn Apple a fresh round of derision.
If the latest e-mail purportedly sent by Apple CEO Steve Jobs to a customer called Matthew Browning is, indeed, genuine, then Apple seems to be reaching for some moral high ground, which may or may not be virtual.
Browning wrote to Jobs
because he was concerned that Apple was choosing to become something that I don't remember seeing on The Wire : a moral policeman. Browning worried that Apple's initial blocking of an app by satirical cartoonist, Mark Fiore, sent a dubious signal.
He then went on to discuss Apple's stance on porn.
According to TechCrunch, he wrote: I'm all for keeping porn out of kids hands. Heck--I'm all for ensuring that I don't have to see it unless I want to. But...that's what parental controls are
for. Put these types of apps into categories and allow them to be blocked by their parents should they want to.
The Apple CEO reportedly replied: Fiore's app will be in the store shortly. That was a mistake. However, we do believe we have a
moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Folks who want porn can buy and (sic) Android phone.
Should newspaper editorial cartoonists be banned from drawing cartoons about some selected, famous people? Many believe we should not be allowed to draw the Prophet Muhammad – but how about banning us from drawing Tiger Woods? If Apple has its way,
iPhone users won't see cartoonists commenting about Tiger, and other topics that might ridicule selected public figures.
I distribute my own cartoons, and the work of dozens of other top editorial cartoonists from around the world to newspapers,
Web sites and now to Apple's iPhone and iPad. As the audience for news and opinion has grown on the iPhone, we've put more effort into developing editorial cartoon apps that show all the latest cartoons that the cartoonists draw on different topics.
Apple approved our msnbc.com Obama Cartoons app that shows the latest newspaper editorial cartoons drawn about President Obama, but Apple rejected our app on the topic of Tiger Woods. It seems that Tiger crosses an editorial line at Apple.
When I submitted my first iPhone app,
msnbc.com Cartoons , the editors at Apple took three months to consider it, an unusually long time. I'm told it was a difficult decision for them. At that time they also rejected an app called Bobble Rep by my friend, Mad Magazine
cartoonist Tom Richmond, because it contained caricatures of members of congress; after some public outcry, Apple reconsidered and approved Tom's app. Another cartoonist friend, Mark Fiore, had his rejected iPhone app reconsidered and approved only after
he won a Pulitzer Prize for his cartoons. Soon after it was approved, Mark's app became the number one best selling news app on the iPhone. I've asked Apple to reconsider their rejection of our Tiger Woods Cartoons app, and have gotten no
It is chilling to see Apple pick and choose which topics can be discussed in the mediums they control. By positioning itself to control the new methods of delivery for news and opinion, Apple assumes a special responsibility to allow for
a full and free debate on all topics and personalities in the news.
I don't want Apple deciding which public figures I may ridicule.
At least Peta are admirers of Apple's arbitrary censorship
According to iPhone app developer Matt Smyth, his iPhone iSealClub app has been rejected by Apple because it contains objectionable content.
Matt Smyth can't understand why Apple rejected iSealClub: They allow other apps, like Trophy
Hunt for bear and deer and whatnot. I don't see the difference between killing a seal and killing a deer .
In iSealClub players use a cartoon club to hunt cartoon seals, but there are limits that make the game a little more tasteful. The game
doesn't contain any blood and baby seals are off limits. Smyth, a Newfoundland resident, feels iSealClub was rejected because the company is against seal hunting, which is socially acceptable in his province and sanctioned by the Canadian
Meanwhile PETA was delighted with the decision. Commenting on the official PETA Blog, Jennifer O'Connor had nothing but love for Apple CEO Steve Jobs: We think that Jobs and the rest of the Apple crew are pretty great after learning
that the App Store said no way to an app called iSealClub—a game in which users wield a metal-tipped club and earn points by bashing seals to death.
O'Connor went on to say that PETA would be sending Jobs a thank-you note along with
some yummy vegan chocolate seals as a token of appreciation.
Apple has rejected, for the second time, the iPhone app Gay New York: 101 Can't-Miss Places , citing objections to images showing too much skin and an irreverent caricature of Sarah Palin.
Gawker reports that Apple believes it has a
moral responsibility to censor content developed for the iPhone, but the attempts to filter out images that could not fairly be construed as pornographic smacks of homophobia.
In addition to the Palin poster, the offending images
include a man in a thong and a Renaissance painting of a nude male. The author of the app, Forbes and New York Times-contributing freelance travel writer Anthony Grant, says he did his best to make things PG-13 by, for example, representing a bar
called The Cock with an image of a black rooster. However, he has been hard pressed to represent New York's gay male culture without offending Apple's sensibilities.
According to Apple's rejection letter, the offending screenshots (which can
be viewed at Gawker's site ), are objectionable for certain age groups, despite the fact that the app is not available for
download by all ages.
Grant says that the rejection is homophobic and discriminatory to the point of hostile and that other apps feature far racier content.
Apple have been pandering to the censorial nutters of the Parents Television Council. So perhaps no surprises that the PTC are singing the praises of Apple.
But of course the nutters now think that they get the same level of censorship from other
platforms such as Android.
Parents Television Council targeted the App Store earlier this year over concerns that some apps could be accessible to children, that App Store pages had Web links that led to yet more supposedly objectionable content,
and that in the case where Parental Controls were activated, kids could still browse and preview these apps.
Apple ultimately responded by cleaning out a number of these 'contentious' apps and started blocking screenshots in iTunes in addition to
the blocks already present in the on-device App Store app.
PTC applauded Apple's actions. Apple has taken a positive first step towards eliminating kids' access to sexually explicit and pornographic content on its product lineup and we applaud
the company's efforts, the group's president, Tim Winter, said in a statement.
PTC now thinks other mobile platforms need to take similar measures.
Steve Jobs recently dinged the Android platform as being a porn phone during
Apple's iPhone OS 4.0 unveiling, partly by virtue of its ability to run any app from any source. You know, there's a porn store on Android and it has nothing but porn apps, Jobs told journalists during a Q&A session. You can download them;
your kids can download them.
PTC agrees with Jobs that this is a problem, as no other smartphone platform offers a system like Parental Controls. We plan to draw attention to other platforms, such as Android, or Verizon's Vcast service,
that aren't really doing anything, PTC's Gavin McKiernan told Ars. We definitely want to see progress from some of the other handheld devices.
According to Business Insider, a number of fashion magazines are now having to clean up their content in order to get them approved and into Apple's App Store. Dazed and Confused , a British fashion magazine, has even dubbed its iPad
issue the Iran edition because of the strict no nudity rules they must follow.
A report from SFGate covers three distinct standards currently in place at the iTunes Store:
Small, independent developers are not allowed to include any overtly sexual content . This includes pictures of women in bathing suits.
Magazines with established brands — Sports Illustrated and Playboy, for instance – are allowed to
depict overtly sexual images of scantily clad women, but aren't allowed to depict actual nudity. Fashion magazines appear to be in this category too.
Netflix can stream movies to the iPad with whatever content it chooses, including full nudity,
graphic depictions of sex, and brutal violence and gore.
The latest bad apple story was the blocking of an iPad graphic novel adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest . According to a report in The Big Money, the application was barred from the App Store until its author added ugly
black blocks to censor the illustrations of men kissing (which included depictions of mens' buttocks, but no frontal nudity). We've just gotten word from Apple that they've reversed the decision (they claim it was a mistake) and that the application's
developers can resubmit the graphic novel in its original form.
The news comes on the heels of a very similar situation involving a comic adaptation of the classic epic Ulysses called Ulysses Seen , which was blocked from the App
Store until its authors removed some illustrated nudity featured in the comic. Apple also reversed that block.
Apple spokesprat Trudy Muller explained: We made a mistake. When the art panel edits of the Ulysses Seen app and the graphic novel
adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Importance of Being Earnest app were brought to our attention, we offered the developers the opportunity to resubmit their original drawings and update their apps.
The Sun finally launched its iPhone app after an embarrassing wait of more than a month following Apple's initial refusal to accept it.
It fell foul of the company's ludicrous anti-obscenity rules because its Page 3 girls were regarded as too
rude. But the paper was granted an exemption because downloading requires customers to confirm that they are 17 or over since the app 'contains age-restricted material' .
iChatr is the iPhone Chatroulette clone. It has predictably been removed from the App Store due to the behavior of several naked users.
It was probably inevitable that Apple -- with its nutter mission to offer app store users freedom from porn
-- would find something objectionable about an app known as a way for voyeurs to expose themselves.
SKJM, the developer of iChatr, is currently discussing a solution to the problem with Apple.
Playboy boss Hugh Hefner has agreed that iPad issues of the magazine will be nudity free, in order to keep its place on the App Store.
The legendary art pamphlet currently costs £3.20 per issue on the App Store, but in order to adhere
to Apple's nutter stance, centrefolds with girls wearing nothing more than a staple, will be replaced with headshots.
Kanye West's new album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is due out shortly. He claims the cover has already been banned. So Nirvana can have a naked human being on their cover, but I can't have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka
dot tail and wings, he ranted.
Lifted straight from a 1976 cover of Hustler magazine the image of the cover models pubic hair poking out of her American flag bikini bottoms caused quite the controversy back in 1994. The record label eventually
blacked out the offending images and the album went on to reach number 11 on the Billboard 200.
Rapper Kanye West is being muzzled again, this time by Apple over the vaguely nude cover to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy . The censored album art shows Apple is sliding into yet another dangerous arena of judgment.
critically-acclaimed artist George Condo, the cover features a cartoon West being ridden by a wingless, semi-nude phoenix.
Apple decided to blur out the image, so customers only get a heavily pixellated version of the cover when they download it
More perplexing to the blurred cover decision is that Apple had a choice: There are actually five covers to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy . West's label Def Jam encouraged him to present alternatives to family friend;y nutter
venues like Walmart and Target, and nearly all the other options, including a depiction of a blushing ballerina, are as tame as a Jonas Brothers CD.
Why did Apple bother to blur out the one potentially offensive cover? Either it was too lazy to
update the picture or it wanted to send a message for other artists interested in pushing controversial art.
According to The Mac Observer, Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet isn't too happy with Apple's App Store repressive policies regarding nudity.
In a series of recently published editorials, the newspaper takes issue with Apple banning the Ekstra Bladet
iPhone and iPad app because of their Page 9 Girl, a nude photograph of a woman they have been publishing for 34 years.
Accusing Apple of double standards and acting like an American nanny , the paper's Heine Jørgensen writes that
he can't understand why they would ban something seen by Danes as an innocent Danish institution on par with The Little Mermaid.
A counter petition has launched to protest Apple's decision to ban an iPhone app opposing gay marriage.
The Manhattan Declaration app, which allowed Apple users to add their name to the ecumenical document in support of the sanctity of life,
traditional marriage and religious liberty, was pulled from the App Store over the Thanksgiving holiday after a group of activists rightfully charged the app as anti-gay.
Some 7,700 Change.org members petitioned the company to ask them to pull
the app, contending the statement contained hateful and divisive language.
Supporters of the Christian declaration are now fighting back with a petition of their own. As of Friday afternoon, over 37,000 people have signed the petition
launched by the organizers of the Manhattan Declaration asking Apple to reinstate the app.
The petition addressed to Apple founder Steve Jobs and the company itself asserts that the positions espoused in the declaration are based on biblical
Christianity. The letter rejects claims that the declaration promoted hate or homophobia: Disagreement is not hate, the petition states. We urge you and Apple, therefore, to promote communication and civil dialogue on these important
social issues by reinstating the Manhattan Declaration App.
More than 46,000 people signed a petition asking Apple to reinstate the Manhattan Declaration app, which is based on a document that upholds religious understanding of marriage and the sanctity of life.
But organizers behind the
Manhattan Declaration said they were notified last week that the resubsmission was not accepted.
Apple is telling us that the apps' content is considered 'likely to expose a group to harm' and 'to be objectionable and potentially harmful to
others, they said: Apple's statement amounts to the charge that our faith is 'potentially harmful to others.'
Those behind the Manhattan Declaration called the latest rejection by Apple appalling.
Organizers plan to take
their rejected app matter to Apple's App Review Board.
There are headlines flying around the internet suggesting that Apple censors have relented and allowed a soft porn app onto iPad.
However closer inspection shows that this is simply not the case and Apple continue their crusade for technology
A Playboy spokesperson clarified the news for Forbes.
We are releasing a web-based subscription service with Bondi Digital Publishing that will give users access to every issue of Playboy both past and
present. The service will be iPad compatible and will utilize iPad functions.
We also have plans to release a non-nude version of a Playboy-branded iPad app in the coming months that adheres to all of Apple's policies
Apple should be part of the open online society, rather than the architects behind a system of control, argues Bill Thompson
Welcome to the Brave New World of the Macintosh App Store, where Big Brother Steve is in complete control.
becoming harder and harder to feel comfortable about the business practices of Apple as it continues its transformation from being a design-obsessed computer company into the authoritarian centrepiece of the digital life of the millions of people who
have chosen the Apple Way .
As a long time Apple user myself, and someone who has introduced many friends and family to Macintosh computers, iPods, iPhones, iPads and the iTunes Store over the years I am beginning to feel like a left-wing
writer who, having always spoken up in favour of the Soviet Union, wakes up one morning to find Russian tanks in the streets of Budapest, crushing the nascent Hungarian democracy.
Ever since Apple set themselves up to be moral censors then there was a danger of being caught up in moral conflicts. The latest example perhaps shows where conflicts can arise that simply would not occur in an uncensored system.
International claims to be the world's largest Christian ministry dealing with homosexual issues. It has a website featuring lots of anti-gay sentiment that surely reinforces the general religious perception that being gay is a sin. However, it does not
call for anything in the way of violence, nor is it threatening, nor is it likely to fall under any gay hatred legislation.
But as soon as it branches out from its tolerated and legal website into the world of Apple apps, it opens itself up for
censorship, just because a moral censor has previously established a private moral test.
The LGBT rights group Truth Wins Out has established a petition on Change.org:
Exodus International, the notorious
ex-gay organization, has just released an iPhone app that, according to its website, is designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders. The Exodus website further boasts that its app received a 4+
rating from Apple, meaning that it contains no objectionable content.
No objectionable content? We beg to differ. Exodus' message is hateful and bigoted. They claim to offer freedom from homosexuality through
the power of Jesus Christ and use scare tactics, misinformation, stereotypes and distortions of LGBT life to recruit clients. They endorse the use of so-called reparative therapy to change the sexual orientation of their clients,
despite the fact that this form of therapy has been rejected by every major professional medical organization including the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Counseling Association. But
reparative therapy isn't just bad medicine -- it's also very damaging to the self-esteem and mental health of its victims.
Apple doesn't allow racist or anti-Semitic apps in its app store, yet it gives the
green light to an app targeting vulnerable LGBT youth with the message that their sexual orientation is a sin that will make your heart sick and a counterfeit. This is a double standard that has the potential for devastating consequences.
Apple needs to be told, loud and clear, that this is unacceptable. Stand with Truth Wins Out -- demand that the iTunes store stop supporting homophobia and remove the Exodus app.
the petition has attracted about 26,000 signatures.
There's no such measure of support levels for Exodus International but surely being a major example of a US christian group suggests that it has massive support too.
Perhaps Exodus is
justified in its concern that Apple is in danger of failing to meet the diverse needs of their customer base by denying them access to all viewpoints regarding sexuality.
Update: Apple chooses gay rights over
christian anti-gay nonsense and free speech
Apple appears to have pulled an iPhone and iPad app promising freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus after coming under fire from gay rights activists.
More than 146,000 people signed a petition calling on Apple to remove
the so-called gay cure app backed by Exodus International, a Christian group that describes itself as the world's largest worldwide ministry to those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction.
The app has been on sale since
February 15 but was last night no longer available. Apple has yet to comment on the furore that the app sparked.
Global charity Wellcome Trust's hidden word game Filth Fair is based on a piece of artwork from renowned painter Mike Wilks (who did The Ultimate Alphabet books), which feature 331 words related to filth, dirt, hygiene, and the history of
cleanliness and waste products.
The game is that it's part of its Dirt Season, which also features a BBC TV series, an exhibition in London, and various other events at dirty locations in the UK .
But it wasn't all the talk of poo
and other excremental substances that got the game into trouble. Instead, it appears a couple of bare breasts were the cause of the problem.
Eve has now been covered up and you ca get Filth Fair - which is a free app - for your iPhone, iPod
touch and iPad, although for some bizarre reason it's age-rated 17.
A new app has arrived at the iTunes store that appears to contradicts Apple's censorship policy of keeping adult material off its app store.
The company has approved the Cinemax Max Go app, which provides on-demand access to movies and programming
on mobile devices to the cable channel's subscribers. The app also includes a Max After Dark tab, which allows streaming of some of the channel's softcore programming .
The app includes a disclosure that states users must be at least 17
years old to download the app because, among other things, it includes frequent/intense sexual content or nudity.
Movies with softcore titles such as The Hills Have Thighs, Bikini Jones, and The Temple of Eros are available
under the tab.
Spicks and Specks is an Australian TV quiz show that takes its name from a Bee Gee's song.
But their inevitable Phone app has been censored after Apple deemed the title was racist.
The game has topped the iTunes entertainment app
charts, but the computer giant lists the shows as S***ks and Specks Quiz for fear of appearing offensive. Americans use the word spick as a racist insult for Latin American people.
ABC has asked iTunes to reconsider its decision. A
spokesman said: iTunes is a US-based platform and it automatically censors words which are considered accidentally offensive in America. We've asked Apple to review it for the Australian audience.
The Phone Story website describes its game app as:
Phone Story is an educational game about the dark side of your favorite smart phone. Follow your phone's journey around the world and fight the market forces in a
spiral of planned obsolescence.
Apple has now taken down the game that is critical of the process by which most smart phones are made perhaps because it highlights the exploitation of workers and the environment (or it hit too close
The game was developed by MolleIndustria and tells its tale via four mini-games that show what it takes to make a phone including extracting minerals for components in Congo, using outsourced labor in China, dealing with e-waste in Pakistan, and consumers buying the product in Western companies.
Molleindustria tweeted that: Phone Story was removed from the app store without explanation .
Apple responded that the app had broken 4 guidelines:
depicting against children or child abuse
presenting objectionable or crude content
containing fraudulent of misleading representations
Apple Inc has removed an app, called Jew or Not Jew? , from its online App Store in France. The app let users consult a database of celebrities and public figures to determine if they are Jewish or not. The app was selling for 0.79 euro.
Its removal follows a complaint from a French anti-racism group that threatened to sue Apple. SOS Racisme had argued that the app violated France's strict laws banning the compiling of people's personal details without their consent. Under the French penal code, stocking personal details including race, sexuality, political leanings or religious affiliation is illegal.
In a statement, SOS Racisme had called on Cupertino, California-based Apple to remove the app from its online store and be more vigilant about the applications it sells.
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the app did violate local law, so it
was removed from the French App Store. It is still available outside France, however, and currently sells for US$1.99 through Apple's US App Store.
App developer Johann Levy said he developed the app to be recreational :
As a Jew myself I know that in our community we often ask whether a such-and-such celebrity is Jewish or not. For me, there's nothing pejorative about saying that someone is Jewish or not. On the contrary, it's about being proud.
A UK newspaper caused a stir when it reported that Apple had threatened legal action against a Chinese company that plans to sell an accurate replica of Steve Jobs. The Daily Telegraph said Apple claims to own rights to Jobs' likeness.
is a huge problem here, Apple's legal claim is largely bogus. While people can indeed own rights to their likeness, those rights usually apply only to living people. Unlike other forms of intellectual property like patents or copyrights, image rights do
not survive beyond the grave in most places.
Under American law, so-called personality rights exist only at the state level---there is no federal law. And only about a dozen states recognize image rights after death. But in New York and
most other places, there is no protection at all.
What this means is that Apple's warning about the doll is an empty threat in most places. Apple's lack of control over the doll is in many ways a welcome reality check. Remember that Steve Jobs was
not just a design genius but also a control freak who used layer after layer of intellectual property to create legal force fields around his products. While this boosted Apple, it also shut out many other innovators and helped give rise to the
destructive litigation that now mars so much of the technology sector.
Apple is censoring rap music and other explicit tracks downloaded using its iTunes Match service by replacing them with the clean versions of the same songs.
According to a report in Cult of Mac, confirmed in tests by Mashable, songs uploaded
to the service with explicit lyrics are automatically replaced by the clean version of the song.
iTunes Match is an optional service that costs $25 a year. It matches songs in your iTunes library with high-quality versions on Apple's servers, and
lets you play and download your choice of those songs to your iPhone, iPod or iPad.
In Mashable's test, a ripped copy of Jay-Z's The Black Album (with explicit lyrics) was uploaded to iTunes Match, where it was promptly replaced by the
clean version. Cult of Mac found the problem affected songs by Jay-Z, Kanye West and Ice Cube.
The problem does not seem to affect music that was actually bought on iTunes.
According to 9to5Mac, a reader contacted Eddy Cue, Apple's Senior
Vice President of Internet Software and Services, about this issue, and received a response from one of his engineers. The email acknowledged the existence of the problem, and said Apple was working on a fix.
Something abstract existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence. Visual geometry containing the non-explicit description of
sexual organs or activity. Arising in the mind it intends to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.
GeometricPorn is a project by Luciano Foglia, a multidisciplinary visual artist. He has been working in the
design industry for over ten years focusing on interactive design, code based animations and music. His personal time is spent exploring new ways of expression in music and art, working from his studio in London, Hackney Wick.
Geometric Porn App has been rejected by Apple censors as explained on the website:
Reasons for Rejection:
16.1: Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected. We found that many audiences would find your app concept objectionable, which is not
in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.
The German news magazine Focus has announced that it has altered the digital version of its current issue, screening the bared breasts of the female front cover model to avoid a possible run-in with Apple.
The action followed pressure from digital
distributor Zinio, an iPad app, to adhere to Apple's censorial requirements regarding nudity. Apple had not actually made any complaints.
Zinio threatened to withhold the issue from the Internet, a Focus spokesman said. He said that
censorship stemming from prudery did not comport with the magazine's concept of freedom of the press.
The cover story offered 22 tips on skin care, and the topless model displayed more skin than Zinio was comfortable with. However there is still
an uncensored photograph of the model on page three.
Apple in the US considers the word 'jailbreak' to be an obscenity in need of asterixing to 'j*******k. They may consider it an obscenity that people may want to break free of their control freakery and use Apple devices on the network of their choice.
However it does seem a bit much that the Thin Lizzy album of the same name should get subjected to this nonsense.
But there you go!. The odd bit of censorship was first discussed on Twitter and apparently iBooks are also subject to the same
j*******k censorship. It also transpires that the 'jailbreak' is only censored in the US, and European products from their local iTunes are left unscathed.
Apple are censoring an app that sends users a pop-up notice whenever a flying robots kills someone in one of America's many undeclared wars.
Apple keeps blocking the Drones+ program from its App Store, and therefore, from iPhones everywhere. The
company claims that the content is objectionable and crude, according to Apple's latest rejection letter.
It's the third time in a month that Apple has turned Drones+ away, says Josh Begley, the program's New York-based developer. The
company's reasons for keeping the program out of the App Store keep shifting. First, Apple called the bare-bones application that aggregates news of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia not useful. Then there was an issue with hiding
a corporate logo. And now, there's this crude content problem.
Begley explains that Drones+ doesn't present grisly images of corpses left in the aftermath of the strikes. It just tells users when a strike has occurred, going off a publicly
available database of strikes compiled by the U.K.'s Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which compiles media accounts of the strikes.
Europa Editions, a publisher of world literature, wrote on their Facebook page that one of their novels, The Proof of the Honey by Salwa Al Neimi, has been removed from the iTunes bookstore due to the image on its cover.
novel discusses the role of sex in modern Arabic society, and its cover features the backside of a reclining, naked woman. This may seem worthy of removal, but, as Europa Editions points out, classical nudes by Ingres, Renoir, and Botticelli, not to
mention photography by Man Ray, are not deemed inappropriate by Apple, nor are modern books with similar covers.
The Proof of the Honey has been banned in the author's home country of Syria as well.
For that reason, publishers such as
Melville House have called this censorship particularly appalling. Melville House also notes that the timing of the removal is peculiar: the book had previously been available in the iTunes store since 2009.
A game that explores the Syrian civil war, Endgame: Syria , has been rejected by Apple due to App Store guidelines forbidding games that solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity .
Apple say that Endgame:Syria, which explores a real news event and aims to show users the range of factions and peoples involved in the situation, fell into this category and so was rejected.
The game's designer, Tomas Rawlings responded:
This decision is a shame really as it makes it hard to talk about the real world. Our aim is to use games as a format to bring news to a new audience and submission processes such as this do make it a lot harder for
We'll be making changes to the game and re-submitting it but it does mean we'll have to strip some of the meaning and context from it to pass Apple's submission process and that is not ideal.
Apple have blocked an iPhone bookstore app from the Chinese app store in an apparent attempt at appeasing censors, according to the app's developer.
The freemium app, Jingdian Shucheng , gave access to 10 books banned in China. Hao
Peiqiang, the developer, told the Financial Times that he believes that his criticism of the Chinese government's policy on Tibet prompted the ban.
In a letter sent to Hao, Apple said that the app was removed because of content that was illegal
in China . Hao suspects that content in question is three books written by Wang Lixiong, the dissident thrown out of Beijing during the National Congress.
Apple's App Store Review rules do indeed state that app's must comply with local laws:
Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users. It is the developer's obligation to understand and conform to all local laws.
remains available outside of the Chinese mainland.
Apple is censoring digital comics by banning them from apps on the iPad and iPhone.
According to a report from Publisher's Weekly , in 2013 alone Apple has banned a total of 59 digital comics from apps such as Comixology due to the
company's censorship guidelines for apps. Most of the comics are banned due to what Apple views as graphic sexual content.
One of the most notable comics banned by Apple is the new series Sex Criminals by writer Matt Fraction and artist
Chip Zdarsky. The comic is published by Image Comics, and is a comedic comic about a couple who discover they can stop time whenever they have sex, and use their power to rob a bank.
Apple originally approved Sex Criminals #1 for the Comixology
app, but then rejected the second issue. The third issue was similarly rejected along with a retroactive rejection of issue #1.
Strangely, while Apple banned almost five dozen comics from Comixology and other apps this year so far, it lets those
comics into the iBookstore. Apple's content guidelines, it seems, don't actually apply to Apple's own apps.
Tijuana Baby , a novel by Robert Haukoos has been banned from the Apple iBooks store for supposedly 'inappropriate' cover art.
Tijuana Baby is a debut novel from Robert Haukoos and tells the story of two L.A. filmmakers who get trapped in
Tijuana trying to save a 14-year-old girl from being forced into prostitution by a wicked drug smuggler. Author Robert Haukoos said:
It's disappointing that Apple iBooks has chosen to ban this book. It's a
mystery why they declined to accept a serious novel with tasteful artwork that reflects the actual subject matter of the book, when their catalogue includes a broad selection of explicit and violent songs, movies and video games.
Publisher Oliver Fribourg of Les Editions des Equateurs told online news site The Local that
It's extraordinary in the year 2014 that this kind of censorship can happen. The company is so infuriated by what it sees as an act of censorship which acts against the liberty of creation, that it has called on France's Minister of Culture
A friendly cartoon vulva called Happy has the dubious honour of being the latest app Apple has rejected from its App Store. As the star of HappyPlayTime, gamers touch her as instructed to make her happy, learning about how to please their own bodies in
the process. Think educational and empowering, rather than Redtube.
Creator Tina Gong said:
I admit, it's pretty far out there. You're using your touch screen to play with a vulva character to make her orgasm.
It's something that has a huge potential of making certain groups angry. As a large company, I'm sure that they're trying to stay away from controversy. I get it, but it still makes me sad.
HappyPlayTime lists its
objectives as eliminate stigma, encourage exploration and make you giggle .
The app was twice rejected on two violations of its rules, namely apps that present excessively objectionable content and apps containing pornographic
Apple's iOS version of the border-guard simulator Papers, Please was set to have been released with bits cut out at the behest of Apple.
Games developer Lucas Pope planned to release Papers, Please on iOS but without the feature that shows
immigrants completely nude during the security scan. That's because Apple rejected the app when Pope originally submitted it, and the company explained it was because it is pornographic.
Apple is now stepping back from that classification,
according to Pope, with Apple claiming that rejection for porn was a misunderstanding on their part. Apple suggested that the game should be resubmitted complete with the nudity option.
While this is a win for Pope, Apple's control over its closed
system will likely continue to trouble other developers. A freelance games designer, Tadhg Kelly wrote an open letter to Tim Cook of Apple on this subject of censorship:
I'm a huge fan of Apple's
products including my new iPhone 6 Plus. It's gorgeous. I'm even more of a fan of what Apple has done for games in the last half decade. Prior to the App Store, selling games to the mass market was an expensive and difficult mess of approvals by
powers-that-be, often at massive disadvantage to the game maker. Apple opened that closed shop, which in turn spawned multiple revolutions. It led to many new kinds of game, new powers, new economics for games and a whole raft of other innovations.
I bring these examples up to frame my appreciation and disappointment appropriately. I think you're doing an incredible job but there is one area in which you're letting me down badly: Censorship.
get age certificates and music might get stickers warning of offensive lyrics, but they don't get banned. They used to. From the early days of pulping books like Ulysses through to the Comics Code and video nasties , every medium has had to face
allegations of offense or indecency. Every one has had to make the case that their material is worthy of being treated as free expression. And -- thankfully -- they've all won. Except games.
Game developers are regularly treated
as second class media citizens. It was only in 2011, 40 years after their creation, that video games were finally declared to be a protected form of free speech by the Supreme Court. Throughout the history of the industry we have had self-policing, legal
suppression, publisher, platform and retailer demands for creative changes to games based on censorship. Some are ridiculous (bans against showing blood) and some are allegations of prurience (nudity in games) and some are baseless fears of corruption
(video game violence).
Whether it's a console or a big retail chain, we game makers have long had to put up with a level of interference that no other medium faces. We're consistently told what our medium should be like, often by
people with a poor understanding of it. We frequently get accused of leading the world astray in ways that are not supportable. All this at a time when the first generation of game makers is passing the torch ( Ralph Baer RIP ). The second generation
often wants to make fun games, but some of them want to use games for other means. Games like Depression Quest and dys4ia , for example. Games like Papers Please . Games like Sweatshop . Games like Howling Dogs .
But even though
Apple has done many amazing things for our industry in liberalizing its economics (with great thanks) the company nevertheless buys into the urge to suppress games. And it's just morally wrong. Tim I don't believe that this is a position that you're
actively taking. I think it's happened as a result of a couple of related issues that have bred an awkward censorship.
First there was the issue of trying to keep iOS relatively consumer friendly by keeping porn away. Apple's
position has been that people are welcome to go out onto the Web and do as they wish. If they really want their adult material, Safari is their gateway. Second was the fact that because games are made in software there is frequently confusion in many
minds over whether they are a medium or a product. Approval of software is essentially a checklist of what's permitted or not, much as a technical requirements, violations, bugs and so on. It's (mostly) entirely binary.
problem for us game makers is that the Safari answer usually doesn't work for us. Software is not permitted to get to iOS devices via the Web because to do so invites malware, and that would be a major problem for such a high-profile platform. And
secondly evaluating games in the manner of software checklists strips them of context. It is literally this game contains boobs as in Lucas Pope's Papers Please . Ban or change.
It doesn't feature whether those boobs are
appropriate or not, as they might in other media. Via Apple today I can purchase Game of Thrones episodes or Lady Chatterley's Lover even though both have invited questions of appropriate content in their time. Why? Because Apple understands context.
Media gets protected even though some would find it offensive because it matters. Except for games. If a game is philosophically seen as like an app then it falls under a certain remit. If a game is philosophically seen as like a book or album, it goes
another way. Shifting from one to the other view is what needs to change.
I imagine that the experience of the team vetting Papers Please was a little like the Fox censor character from the Simpsons . He reads a script and marks
no, no, no then sees a joke which makes him laugh out loud before marking it no . I imagine that in playing Papers Please or many of the other banned or censored games on iOS that the team knew it was good but had no option to approve it.
It didn't fit the checklist.
I don't mean to make light of your own situation, but Tim you know what it is to express your true self . You know that being free is important, supremely important. Yet through a series of
circumstances the company founded by one of the designers of Breakout finds itself in this position of saying no, of insisting that games fit in a box and be culturally relegated. Great revenues maybe, but creatively they're not being allowed to be all
they can be on your platform.
Would taking the view that games are media and thus not censoring them alter the bottom line of the App Store? I doubt it. Would it need some thought as regards age categories and appropriate
handling? I would think so, yes. So it's likely a net drag to actually do it. But you should do it anyway.
It's been a hard fought battle for some of us within the games industry to get to the point where we're not thought of as
drug dealers or child-corrupting monsters. We're trying to overcome that Comics-Code perception, and slowly succeeding even despite resistance within and without. The big platforms often still stand in our way, still act like games should only exist in
certain boxes, but they're slowly shifting.
Tim you control the biggest gaming platform in the world. Mobile games will surpass PC and console soon enough, and when they do they will become the new core gaming . The games won't
all be just Candy Crush and Clash of Clans forever though, any more than TV stayed as its 1960s incarnation forever. Communities and cultures form around games in a way that's important to the overall culture, and will only increasingly do so.
Given your position of power do you really feel it's your place to stand in the way of the development of a medium? To say game developers you get to live in this box only . I don't think you mean to, but that's kind of where
you are. Tim I need Apple to lead on this, as it has so often before.
Google Play and Apple have banned an app designed to help women obscure nudity when posting images online.
Model Melina DiMarco has designed an app called Nood to provide simple stylised lady parts to post over your own, to get round
censorship rules on nudity. She claims other options for censoring photos, for example black bars and crosses, encourage the sexualisation of the female form. DiMarco said:
It's a photo editing app where you can upload
a photo and put illustrated nipples over your nipples and an illustrated vagina over your vagina.
As a woman and as a model I don't quite understand why my male counterpart can post freely on social media but I cannot. Nipples are
nipples, there's no difference. Female nipples, male nipples, they're all the same.
However the App Store and Google Play Store claim her app promotes explicit content Apple claimed the app includes content that many users would
find objectionable and offensive , while Google says we don't allow apps that contain or promote sexually explicit content .
The Wall Street Journal released a report that details the state of Apple's yet-to-be-unveiled streaming service. It highlights some of the difficulties Apple has faced in striking the right tone for its content, particularly when it comes to gratuitous
sex, profanity or violence.
The report opens with Apple CEO Tim Cook's reaction to Vital Signs, a show based on the life of Dr. Dre. Apple picked up the show back in 2016 , but when Cook viewed it a year ago, he told Apple Music executive Jimmy
Iovine that it was too violent, and that the company can't show it.
Apple has some big plans for its original content ambitions. It brought in two seasoned Hollywood executives to oversee its video streaming project, and invested $1 billion to
develop new a slate of new projects.
The WSJ report notes that Apple's preference is for family-friendly projects that appeal to a broad audience, and that it's trying to avoid weighing into overly political or controversial territory with the
content that it's producing -- only a handful of those shows "veer into 'TV-MA territory. Apple's approach has caused some delays in its programming. Programme makers have been unhappy with the restrictions on their creativity and have clashed with
Apple, leading to argument and delays.