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Apple rejecting all e-book reader, content apps?

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, August 6, 2009
News Categories: Apps + Games

Apple has started rejecting all e-book and e-book reader applications for the iPhone and iPod touch on the basis of possible copyright infringement, according to a new report. Citing developers speaking on the grounds of anonymity, TUAW reports that Apple has begun sending all e-book submitters rejection letters which state, “this 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.” The report claims that Apple has rejected at least one application from a national content syndicate who owns the rights to the materials and can prove those rights, and has also rejected a new e-book reader application on the same grounds. As the developer of the reader application said in an email to TUAW, “[l]eaving aside the presumption of innocence, [what] about iTunes and iPod; shouldn’t they be banned too? After all many users indeed are using them to listen to the music that is not always legally obtained.” It is unclear whether the company also plans to remove and/or reject future updates to other e-book applications currently available on the App Store, and whether this move may be paving the way for Apple to offer its own e-book store, as was rumored last week.

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Comments

1

What the hell is WRONG with Apple lately? Isn’t this the same kind of behaviour that got Microsoft in trouble?

Posted by ahMEmon on August 6, 2009 at 8:54 AM (PDT)

2

“this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing upon third party rights.”

Huh? The mere existence of iPods and iPhones could be used to “infringe upon third party rights”.

Apple is getting really pathetic. Its like they are purposely trying to trash their Apple App store.

Posted by Dale on August 6, 2009 at 8:58 AM (PDT)

3

Yeah. kinda nuts.  Doesn’t iTunes hold the same potential?

Posted by Joe in VA on August 6, 2009 at 9:03 AM (PDT)

4

I understand what APPLe is doing and I think this was not triggered by APPLE. There are copyrights laws out there to protect the orig. author and even e-book apps have to respect that.

I wanted to develope a ebook/pdf style apps for the IT area but i quickly found out that I can’t pubish any information from another author. These authors can sue and have good ground for it.

Apple is protecting it self, and apparently lawmakers pointed APPLE to this risk. It’s the same with APPS developer who copy other developers work and sell it under a diferent name. It sound tuff and stupid but you have to think of the capability of the orig. authos to have gorund for a lawsuit.


Either these Apps have to be removed or the APPS developer will share or pay the orig. author for using their info.

Posted by dennis on August 6, 2009 at 10:12 AM (PDT)

5

@dennis:

I’d have to disagree. 

If you continue on that line of thought then Apple needs to close up shop, because almost everything it sells could be (and has been) used to infringe on third party rights.

Getting rid of the competition, as sad as it sounds, seems much more likely to me.

Posted by WhoCares? on August 6, 2009 at 10:54 AM (PDT)

6

Just in case an Apple employee sees this… (and I’ll send the same message to Apple as well)

If Apple blocks future releases of eReader or Kindle for iPhone on this basis, I will immediately sell my iPod touch and wave bye-bye to the App Store for good.

Just my two cents worth.

Posted by Daniel S. on August 6, 2009 at 11:26 AM (PDT)

7

What about ereader? Aside from selling e-books, they have an app that allows you to make an e-book out of a variety of text files. Couldn’t that be used to violate copyrights? Will this be banned too? And what about the much announced partnership with Barnes and Nobel.  They own ereader?
Oh, Apple do you even think?

Posted by Jakewood on August 6, 2009 at 11:29 AM (PDT)

8

Actually, according to actual music industry executive testimony in court, the industries position is that you DON’T have a fair-use right to RIP music CD’s to play on iPods, but that the industry doesn’t bother to sue because it’s impossible to track.  So the VAST majority of music on iPods is illegal.

Posted by dave on August 6, 2009 at 12:19 PM (PDT)

9

hmmm,,. i understand what you talking about. I wounder if Apple kind of getting forced or pushed to it from the original authors? ...

@WhoCares:

you are absolutely right. It’s a 50/50 situation, you can see it from the author who would not like to have their stuff duplicated and someone else gets paied for it.. and you can see if from the consumer eyes who think that lots of stuff on the apps store is duplicated and if Apple atart to pull apps out that many other apps have also to go…

it’s something like plagarism i guess… if you rewrite words and sentences in ebooks files then you will not have any issues .....

Posted by dennis on August 6, 2009 at 1:13 PM (PDT)

10

@dave:

Fair use can only be determined in court, so while the music industry would like to be able to say that putting music that you own on CD on to your ipod is not fair use that is not their call. The various publishing industries are trying to narrow the concept of fair use and create a fear that you are violating fair use, but that does not make it so.

Posted by Barry on August 6, 2009 at 1:14 PM (PDT)

11

Oh please, this is rediculous.  As others have pointed out based on this logic virtually ALL PDAs, book readers and hell computers should be taken off the market.  Apple needs to pull their head out.

Now if someone was posting a reader that can strip encryption from protected e-books, then that would be another issue entirely.

Posted by SantiagoDraco on August 6, 2009 at 1:22 PM (PDT)

12

I emailed the iTunes store about this:
“This has to do with your rejecting ebook readers due to 3rd party infringments.  I’d like to know how this will impact apps like ereader, the BN ereader and Stanza.  Please let me know, because I use ereader frequently & I also want to know how this will impact the comic readers as well, as I paid over $10 for comic reader mobi, less than 2 months ago. I will expect a refund if you ban this app.”

This was their response:
“I understand that you are inquiring about the rejection of ebook readers due to 3rd party infringments. I can certainly appreciate your concern. My name is Julie and I am happy to assist you today.

Thank you for your inquiry. I’m sorry, but I cannot comment about such matters on behalf of the iTunes Store. Apple makes its company news available to the public through numerous channels, such as these:” and then listed some links.

Is this the customer service we can expect from iTunes, that they can’t even answer questions about their own policies.

Maybe I am naive, but I am relitively new to Apple

Posted by Jakewood on August 6, 2009 at 8:04 PM (PDT)

13

What’s happening? Once everyone has started jumping onto the Apple bandwagon the Company starts morphing into a typical “my way or the highway” big firm.

It makes me wonder, was there a time in the beginning when Microsoft was a darling?

Posted by Sreedhar on August 7, 2009 at 3:13 AM (PDT)

14

I wonder just how much this has to do with the FCC investigations. Maybe Apple will tighten its reigns altogether in order to justify what it did to Google et al.

Posted by Jiji on August 7, 2009 at 11:58 AM (PDT)

15

No, No, you’re missing the salient point! The tablet is due out soon. Apple have already said that they are looking into various other areas. it seems obvious that their recent deal with record companies to revive the album concept with added artwork and lyrics etc is aimed at the new tablet’s form and size - we will be flicking thru booklets on these tablets. Games will evolve for the new device and it seems obvious that along with a real push in movie rentals and sales, Apple will also want to exploit the ebook format on it’s perfectly sized tablet interface. As ‘Whocares?’ has already pointed out, Apple are taking out the competition, first. they would naturally need some excuse to stop helping, and selling other ebooks and readers. This is it folks. i can picture the new tablet now, like an A4 iphone running a crossbreed of osx and iphone os. it will be beautiful and addictive to use, and i hope it will run word and gargeband as well as dvd player safari etc. (maybe my hopes are a little high.) But unless Apple stops all this SO SO obvious manipulativeness and bullying. i’m going to fall out of love with it’s designs and operating system (this is what i truly love about apple - the OS!) then i will start to look to new, younger, more idealistic and less cynical innovators. Yes, Apple, you have lost your way.

Posted by mysteriousnumberfive on August 7, 2009 at 12:40 PM (PDT)

16

I’m guessing some specific attention (book publishers) is being paid to Apple (complaints), and Apple is buying time to figure out how to fix their approvals process to catch more copyright infringement.

Why isn’t Apple doing this for just about any other app type like music or movies? Because those companies aren’t complaining right now to Apple.  Don’t forget that Apple makes money from apps being sold, as well as increasing the appeal of the iPhone and iPod touch. They would only do something like this if the situation was so problematic that it wasn’t worth making money on. And again, I think this is a short term issue.

Amazon’s Kindle has also had some rough bumps lately too, and for all we know it could be related (as in, both companies are getting the heat from publishers due to copyright infringement).

Posted by Ned Scott on August 9, 2009 at 12:17 AM (PDT)

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