Apple rejects BitTorrent control app Drivetrain [Updated]

Apple has rejected iPhone developer Maza Digital’s Drivetrain application, a remote control for Transmission, a BitTorrent client for Mac OS X and other platforms. After an initial email stating that Drivetrain required “unexpected additional time for review,” Maza then received a rejection email from Apple, stating that “this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store.”

Calling the rejection “ridiculous,” Maza notes that “a BitTorrent client or the BitTorrent protocol are not illegal (and does not infringe on third party rights),” and points out that Drivetrain does not download anything itself, instead allowing users to manage the activity of Transmission, including controls for stop, start, and delete; while it allows users to upload .torrent files to Transmission, it does so by sending links to Transmission instead of downloading/uploading files itself. Maza suggests that Apple “seems to have decided that any app that has anything to do with BitTorrent (even if the app does not download/upload anything!) is treated as doing something that ‘is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights,’ and will therefore likely be rejected.”

Update: iPhone developer David Muzi contacted iLounge to point out that his iPhone and iPod touch RSS application Trackr, currently available on the App Store, also lets users remotely queue torrents to start downloading to a computer running uTorrent or Transmission—functionality similar to what Apple rejected in DriveTrain. Trackr sells for $2.99.

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