Apple recently rejected an iPhone-based version of a book because it contained foul language. Citing a clause in the iPhone SDK that states “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 (sic) may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users,” Apple rejected Knife Music by David Carnoy, going so far as to provide a sample of one particularly graphic section. Alex Brie, developer of the application, believes Apple is checking for such content using word-matching software because it would be difficult to believe that Apple has staff with the time to manually read each book submitted. “Apple’s staff shouldn’t be allowed to refuse to publish works of literature based only on word matching. Even more, what would happen if I (a Romanian) would publish an ebook filled with Romanian obscenities? – would Apple’s staff need to learn Romanian…and read the entire ebook…to make sure this doesn’t happen?” Brie said. Apple offers both movies and music on the iTunes Store containing similar language to that found in Carnoy’s book, although in those cases it is able to either mark the content explicit or rely on the MPAA’s movie ratings; there is no equivalent ratings system for books.
Apple rejects book app for ‘objectionable content’
Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.