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Apple rejects book reader Eucalyptus over content

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Thursday, May 21, 2009
News Categories: Apps + Games

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Apple has rejected yet another iPhone reading application over “explicit content,” despite the fact that the same content is offered in other currently-available apps, as well as online. iPhone developer Jamie Montgomerie has posted a blog entry chronicling his communications with Apple over the rejection of Eucalyptus, his book reader app that taps into Project Gutenberg, a producer of free electronic books that offers more than 28,000 titles. “The exact book (the Kama Sutra) that Apple considers the ability to read ‘objectionable’ is freely available on the iPhone in many ways already,” writes Montgomerie. “You can find it through Safari or the Google app of course, but it is also easily available via other book reading apps. You can get it easily via eReader, though the search process is handled by launching a third-party site in Safari, with the download and viewing taking place in eReader. Stanza offers up multiple versions, some with illustrated covers. Amazon’s Kindle app, the latest version of which was approved by Apple this week, offers multiple versions too - although it does charge from 80¢ to $10 per book - and you again purchase via Safari before Kindle downloads the book.”

He continues, “I am at a loss to explain why Eucalyptus is being treated differently than these applications by Apple. I’m also frankly amazed that they would suggest I should be manually censoring content that is being downloaded from the public Internet - classic, even ancient, books, no less.” He goes on to say that Apple seems unaware of “how genuinely torturous the app store approval process is,” suggesting that Apple should at the least implement a policy of “responding to at least one email after a rejection.” Montgomerie explains that he plans to manually block the book from appearing in the application, in hopes of it finally being accepted.

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Comments

1

Okay, this is truly getting ridiculous, and I have to believe that there is some glitch in Apple’s process that keeps causing these types of rejections. They seem so antithetical to what the company has always seemed to be about (IMO). So the question is what can be done to get Apple to respond?  It’s amazing to me that the amount of press that’s already resulted from these rejections hasn’t elicited any response from the company!

Posted by DomArch on May 21, 2009 at 1:59 PM (PDT)

2

I completely agree that Apple has stepped way over the line with its censorship efforts, but I just noticed something a little strange: If I use Stanza to search Feedbooks, I do indeed get a hit on an English version of the Kama Sutra, complete with thumbnail illustration. However, if I use Stanza to search Project Gutenberg, all I get is a French translation. What’s going on there?

Posted by David Orgel on May 21, 2009 at 4:47 PM (PDT)

3

By Apple’s logic, there should be no peanuts available in stores since some people are alergic and there should be no strobe lights because some people have epilepsy.  I thought this is what ratings were invented for.  Why are they filtering content just because most parents are too lazy to monitor what their own children actually do?  Great job once again Apple, you stay classy.

Posted by Greg on May 21, 2009 at 5:38 PM (PDT)

4

Apple’s app approval process does seem ludicrous. Although, with over 35,000 apps, there are bound to be a few glitches in the process.

Maybe there’s some old church lady in a back room in Cupertino who is shocked, shocked by certain things and has the power to deny approval?

Maybe Apple itself is creating mini media storms in preparation for the release of iPhone OS X 3.0. There’s LOTS of free publicity swirling around these app rejections and NO company plays the media like Apple can and does!

iPhone OS 3 supposedly has full parental controls, right?

After all, there are millions of iPod touches out there that may NEED to be updated… at $10 a pop… to protect all these tender little creatures that may be permanently damaged by exposure to playground language in pop song lyrics, a few dirty pictures or classic literature.

Posted by jeffharris on May 22, 2009 at 12:00 AM (PDT)

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