Mix: iPhone patent, Apple in China, ITV, iPhone clones, iTunes boots homophobes | iLounge News

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Mix: iPhone patent, Apple in China, ITV, iPhone clones, iTunes boots homophobes

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Tuesday, April 22, 2008
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Apple has received a patent covering messaging on portable touchscreen devices (such as the iPhone), which goes beyond SMS to cover web-based instant messaging as well. Published in March, the patent is titled “portable device for instant messaging” and includes images depicting a user interface much like that of the iPhone’s SMS application, with patent claims covering the device’s unique ability to use a contacts database to group together all messages from one person, regardless of the phone number or electronic addresses he issending the messages from.

A new Apple store-within-a-store has been unveiled at a Shanghai area Best Buy. The store-in-store, Apple’s first in mainland China, was awarded to the Xuhui Best Buy due to that location being the leading retailer of Apple products in China in 2007. According to reports, the store-within-a-store occupies a total area of about 50 sq. meters, and displays more than 60 different Apple computers, devices, and accessories.

Programming from ITV has been added to the iTunes Store in the UK. Currently available programs include “Lewis,” “Brideshead Revisited,” “Captain Scarlet,” “Goodnight Mr. Tom,” “Cold Feet,” and “The Saint.” The Store’s ITV page also suggests that more shows will be added “soon.” [via Macworld UK]

Apple has begun aggressively pursuing iPhone clone dealers, according to a TG Daily report. Simon Rimmer, managing director of UK reseller Digital Playground, said that Apple’s legal team sent it a letter threatening legal action. Apple said Digital Playground had infringed on its designs by importing, marketing, and offering cloned iPhones which gave “the same overall impression as Apple’s registered design.” Rimmer settled with Apple out of court; as a result of the agreement he must stop selling iPhone clones, send Apple his remaining stock, reveal how many he imported, offered, and sold, as well as revealing his supplier.

Faced with pressure from several Canadian gay/lesbian rights organizations including Stop Murder Music, iTunes has pulled select songs, and in some cases entire albums, from certain artists whose lyrics were said to be homophobic. “Boom Bye Bye” by Buju Banton, as well as other selections from artists T.O.K. and Elephant Man have been removed from the iTunes Store. Akim Larcher, founder of Canada-based Stop Murder Music, said “this is an historic victory for the LGBT community here in Canada and in the Caribbean. iTunes is exercising its corporate responsibility by pulling this murder music and raising the bar for other retailers and distributors to do the same.” [via Broward-Palm Beach New Times]

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Comments

21

“Mike M. I’m a little confused by your remarks. First you say that “tolerance is about allowing ALL views to be heard”, but then, upon discovering just how repugnant the views are, you pronounce “good on [sic] iTunes”. Either you agree that tolerance is about allowing ALL views, or you don’t. The Supreme court has already told us the legal limits on free speech (time, place, and manner).”

My first comment was my knee jerk reaction to this news.  However there are several things to consider.  Comment #11 is exactly what I wanted to say in this thread.

“Apple, as a private entity, is free to do what it wishes.”

iTunes is not a government entity nor is it funded with taxpayer money.  Therefore they are entirely free to decide what they do and do not sell.

As far as tolerance goes… it’s one thing to say you disagree with someone’s lifestyle… it’s an entirely different thing to threaten to kill them because of it.  I’m a heterosexual myself, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  And I’m free to express that.  But I would never threaten to kill anyone… period!

The music that was removed was trash and it belongs in a trashcan, not on iTunes.

Posted by Mike M on April 23, 2008 at 6:31 PM (PDT)

22

I was surprised to see my quote on the front page - I figured a good deal of flaming would follow inside, and I wasn’t disappointed…oh wait, I was (am)
Look up the word “censorship” for those that the public schools have failed.
Apple took a stand.
Wonderful.
I happen to work for a company that doesn’t yet have the same standards it seems.
I work in the music business.
I’m repulsed at what even “we” put out to make a dime.
I stand by my earlier post.
Lame attempts at humor notwithstanding, at least some here get it.
Some, as always in a public forum, are downright frightening.

Carry on…

Posted by slb on April 23, 2008 at 7:22 PM (PDT)

23

Now what do we do about songs like “I shot the sheriff”?  I have Clapton’s version of that on my iPhone as we speak.  Is that not advocating violence against a uniformed officer?  And how many rap songs advocate violence against police officers?  Perhaps this is a slippery slope.

Posted by Mike M on April 23, 2008 at 7:49 PM (PDT)

24

Flippy Hambone. This is in fact a slippery slope. I disagreed with it in the ‘90s with Cop Killer (which by the way, people were forced to download on P2P - and probably haven’t listened to since). That’s exactly the point though. I don’t want to download a homophobic song, but I want that to be my choice. I don’t want it to be Apple’s decision. No one is supporting such lyrics (except, perhaps spudtak with his naive and hateful remarks about “special privileges”. Apparently he views the constitutional protection granted all Americans as “special privileges” when the gay population wants them too). What many of us are saying is that we find having the decision made for us just as reprehensible as the hateful lyrics themselves.

Posted by urbanslaughter on April 23, 2008 at 8:11 PM (PDT)

25

It’s not a slippery slope when a corporation decides to stop selling a product because it is, in the view of that corporation, a bad product. This is a business decision, not made in a vacuum and not with some paternalistic intent to rob the poor consumer of his freedom of choice.

Grocery stores yank things off shelves and you don’t even know it. Retail establishments drop brands all the time, and nary a peep. Intellectual property is just that: property. All of you who would crow openly about your precious rights being trampled would’ve never known a thing if Apple had simply never sold this documented bigotry at all, but now that it is removed and lightly publicized, suddenly you all are fighting for your exalted principles.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on April 23, 2008 at 8:27 PM (PDT)

26

Further, identify the sort of hideous crime is Apple committing by telling you the following: if you wish to download this particular song, you will simply have to do so elsewhere. Wal-Mart sells edited CDs; Target sells the unedited variety. You still have your choice.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on April 23, 2008 at 8:33 PM (PDT)

27

The bottom line: Apple has the right to pull any content off iTunes Store that they don’t want to promote. Done.

To respond to all the sarcastic “I’m XXXX so I want XXXX pulled off iTunes” examples: Apple is in no way OBLIGATED to pull content based on user complaints. If the execs at Apple don’t want content in iTunes, they don’t have to put it there - in the same way they don’t have to put porn in the videos section. It’s Apple’s store - they can stock it with whatever they want. That’s not censorship in the true sense of the word.

Posted by thelottery on April 24, 2008 at 12:38 PM (PDT)

28

There is a difference between a song being offensive to some, and a song that is advocating murder of a particular group of society.

It is even more alarming considering the high profile that these artists have in some communities. We’re not just talking about some one hit wonder or crackpot making just one song. We are talking about very succesfull artists with many albums under their belts.

Posted by Moose on April 24, 2008 at 4:41 PM (PDT)

29

I’ve never claimed that Apple was committing a crime. What they are doing is perfectly legal. But there are plenty of legal actions that I find offensive. The fact is most people are fine with the decision because they find the views expressed by these “artists” offensive. However, the concern arises over the fact that we don’t like a corporation deciding what we do and do not find offensive for us. In an earlier post I cautioned readers to remember that Elvis’s hips were found offensive at one time. Flippy you point out that we “would’ve never known a thing if Apple had simply never sold the documented bigotry at all”. I believe that is the very injury about which we are complaining. It allows Apple to be the arbiter of what is art, rather than allowing the consumer to decide. We would never have been aware. This is all very easy and simple when it’s a band universally perceived as offensive, but what happens when it’s a band YOU like?

Posted by urbanslaughter on April 24, 2008 at 5:01 PM (PDT)

30

I believe we should let the market decide. If the listeners don’t purchase it, then Apple has every right to pull the artist - for the very same reason that “Grocery stores yank things off shelves and you don’t even know it. Retail establishments drop brands all the time, and nary a peep” - there is no demand for the product. However, when there is demand for a product, but the Grocery store, retail establishment, or internet media provider decides that product is offensive, all consumers are injured. In order to remain open and let the market decide, we have to be exposed to some offensive nasty stuff, but that’s one of the costs of living in a free society. One I’m willing to pay.

Posted by urbanslaughter on April 24, 2008 at 5:05 PM (PDT)

31

All the posturing and pontificating means nothing. Apple took the initiative to remove a universally objectionable and borderline dangerous piece of “art” from its inventory. This was done at the risk of alienating two types of consumers: (1) those with an unhealthy degree of anti-gay vitriol, and (2) those that thump their chests about free speech (inapplicable in a private context) and principles. I suspect it’s fine for Apple to risk losing these buyers. Again, big deal.

The corporation is doing what it feels is responsible and respectful in this regard. We have companies that almost never act in this manner, and yet no outcry happens until an online music store pulls a 99-cent, presumably unpopular track because it doesn’t want the stigma. Meanwhile one guy griping about it says he doesn’t buy from iTunes anyway, presumably because he prefers complaining and trolling instead of making a constructive comment of his own volition.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on April 24, 2008 at 5:22 PM (PDT)

32

Further, this argument about Apple attempting to be the “arbiter of art” is ludicrous. They jerked a song or two. They don’t have rights to other artists. They offer a lot of content, but not everything. And more than any other thing, what waters down the “arbiter” argument is the fact that they are a STORE, a mere part of a capitalist media distribution framework, which puts its inventory out for sale. Other competing entities may still distribute the filth in question, but Apple is taking the stance against it.

Apple sells. The people buy. If this makes the seller an arbiter of art, I guess the buyers are accordingly artists? Not an applicable description whatsoever.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on April 24, 2008 at 5:35 PM (PDT)

33

You apparently don’t know what the word “arbiter” means. Look it up. I can’t continue to make my point with you because your arguments don’t respond to my comments.

Posted by urbanslaughter on April 25, 2008 at 3:36 PM (PDT)

34

Not a particularly rational or compelling response. I’m surprised, given that I find favor with most of your comments.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on April 25, 2008 at 4:44 PM (PDT)

35

That you resort to accusations of misunderstanding or being non-responsive proves your “argument” is fallacy. A corporation preventing an artist from profiting from inflammatory, violent content through its retail store is not judging per se, but advising buyers to find another venue for Mr. Banton’s bigotry. In clerk-speak, “We don’t carry that. Try going to [fill in music retailer].” Whoa. You really hosed us, Apple. We’re taking our dollar and my high-mindedness to emusic.

A company made a business decision, inherently no different than any other, presumably with an eye toward the bottom line, not toward others’ artistic sensibilities. Apple isn’t censoring but managing inventory and distribution. Meanwhile, you act as if your rights are being callously bludgeoned, which is illogical.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on April 25, 2008 at 4:53 PM (PDT)

36

I’m all for free speech but there are limits. For instance, you can’t yell fire in a crowded movie theatre, nor can you discuss bombs while flying in an aircraft. For that matter, air carriers don’t show movies with plane crashes in them. This falls right in line with those other examples which we have all accepted for years. A corporation can’t in good conscience sell music that is sold to impressionable teenagers that encourages someone to kill a particular group. (And yes, I would extend that to the cop killer songs). That’s not censorship, that’s common sense. And looking out for the safety of others.

And as for post #30 where it’s stated that “we have to be exposed to some offensive nasty stuff, but that’s one of the costs of living in a free society. One I’m willing to pay.” Oh really? What if your kid was gay and got popped in the head by a gunshot one day by a punk that listened to this kind of trash music and was encouraged to actually do it. Would THAT be a price you were willing to pay?

Bottom line: Music that advocates killing of anyone has no place in our society.

Posted by Greg G on April 28, 2008 at 11:25 AM (PDT)

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