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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RE: Day late and a dollar short
8/7/2009 6:44:39 AM
In a follow-up post, Daring Fireball's John Gruber reports that he received a detailed e-mail from Apple senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller explaining the situation. Briefly, Apple's App Store approval staff objected to the presence of a number of vulgar "urban slang" terms that appeared in the application upon its initial submission in May and recommended that the developers resubmit their application after iPhone OS 3.0 was released so that it could carry a "17+" rating and be subject to 3.0's Parental Controls.
Rather than choosing that route (as iPhone OS 3.0 had no known ship date at that time), the developers opted to press ahead in advance of Parental Controls implementation and stripped "objectionable" content from the application itself.
"You are correct that the Ninjawords application should not have needed to be censored while also receiving a 17+ rating, but that was a result of the developers' actions, not Apple's. I believe that the Apple app review team's original recommendation to the developer to submit the Ninjawords application, without censoring it, to the App Store once parental controls was implemented would have been the best course of action for all; Wiktionary.org is an open, ever-changing resource and filtering the content does not seem reasonable or necessary."
The above is from this report
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