Apple Rejects Dictionary, EBook Apps on Profanity, Piracy Grounds
August 6, 2009 5:30 PM
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Apple continues to carefully police its users' behavior. It has rejected eReader applications, which it believes are used to infringe upon copyrighted works, and rejected a dictionary app until profanity was removed from it.
Apple believes apps would likely be employed for nefarious piracy purposes
Many have fantasized about using their iPhone as a high-resolution handheld version of Amazon's
Kindle eBook reader
or as a handheld dictionary. An eBook reader and dictionary applications on the iPhone certainly seemed technically feasible on the iPhone. But would they withstand the true test -- Apple's at times inconsistent app approval board?
called Ninja Words, written by Matchstick software, promised to open the gates for eBook readers on the iPhone. It was supposed to offer a "really fast" dictionary search. The app was submitted on May 13 and was quickly rejected due to a flaw. States Phil Crosby, one of Ninjawords's developers, "Our app was crashing on the latest beta of iPhone OS 3.0. We quickly fixed this issue and resubmitted."
The now fully-working app has just been rejected again, this time due to the fact that it contains
. Despite the fact that you had to explicitly type the swear word in its entirety to look it up ("fuc" returned no profane results), Apple complained, "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."
The makers resubmitted, this time without the swear words. However, Apple still made it a 17+ application, requiring users to meet an age requirement to download it.
EBook readers met an even worse fate. Apple is reportedly
rejecting them in mass
. Why, you ask? Well, it says that the technology is typically use to pirate works that the user does not enjoy legal access to. Apple states, "(T)his category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing upon third party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store." At first glance, this policy seems in line with Apple's approach to applications that promise charitable contributions. Apple cannot police the developers and will not allow possibly fraudulent postings on their store. Apple does not want to be in the position of vetting rights claims."
Apple is currently
by the Federal Communications Commission over its rejection of the Google voice app. With its growing track record of rejecting useful apps, Apple's industry leading iPhone is truly missing out on its chance to distance itself from its competitors. Instead its raising red flags with the government and users alike.
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8/6/2009 7:20:02 PM
I'm not sure where you get your "facts" from, but there are a zillion ebook readers available in the iPhone app store and I haven't read about any that were not ultimately allowed in. I have several installed on my iPhone and my favorite is Stanza, which has great dictionary-lookup included within the app and great access to free books (such as project gutenberg). Stanza also makes it easy for me to turn document files I have into ebooks. All for free.
Since many of the ebook readers (which you seem unaware of) already include dictionary programs I'm don't get what the point of your article is.
RE: ebook readers
8/7/2009 8:13:27 AM
The point is very clear: Apple is rejecting legitimate applications without any good reason to do so.
Your post reinforces this. If similar apps have been approved in the past, isn't it a bit arbitrary that these ones were rejected?
RE: ebook readers
8/7/2009 9:18:08 AM
They have a good reason. Programs are likely to duplicate, in some way, functionality of an app Apple or one of their friends make. They couldn't have anyone competing with them, that would be terrible for the industry.
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