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Apple hints App Store rules may loosen with iPhone OS 3.0

post #1 of 42
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Following the rejection of an iPhone app for content the developer didn't produce itself, Apple has given signs it may allow more risque software on the App Store once iPhone OS 3.0 and its enhanced parental locks become a reality.

The response came as part of a rejection notice sent to Newspaper(s) app creator Makayama over the initial submission of its article reading software; the software's inclusion of the UK edition of daily newspaper The Sun, which is well-known for the topless models in its Page 3 section, purportedly violated App Store rules against obscene content.

However, while that newspaper eventually had to be pulled for Makayama's app to clear Apple's review process, the company told iLounge that it might have a chance at resubmitting the app with the British paper intact once iPhone OS 3.0 is available. It "would be appropriate" to try submitting the app once the new firmware's parental controls are an option for iPhone owners, the Cupertino company said.

The upgrade, due to ship in the summer, is set to provide significantly expanded content filters that aren't limited to Apple's software. Although the block system hasn't been fully illustrated, it should let parents screen for particular kinds of apps and, in theory, prevent younger children from seeing Page 3 or other more controversial content in the future.

Requests for such a change policy are steadily becoming more prominent with the growth of the App Store and reached a possible boiling point this weekend, when Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor published Apple's rejection letter and accused it of hypocrisy (caution: profane language) in rejecting an update to the NIN: Access music fan app.

Even though Apple had green-lit version 1.0 with its access to the industrial band's music and videos as-is, an attempt to submit a patched version was rejected for allegedly including offensive material in a podcast accessible from the app, which had a copy of the song "The Downward Spiral" as part of the stream. Reznor likened Apple's approach to the double standards he sees in Walmart's music section, where bands have been forced to self-censor their albums even as games and movies with language, nudity and other content at least as offensive could be had in the same shop. "The Downward Spiral" and all of NIN's frequently expletive-laden songs are already available on iTunes while the Safari web browser and the iPhone's e-mail client aren't subjected to the same scrutiny, the artist said on Sunday.

Nine Inch Nails' preview video for the features of its iPhone app.

The Nine Inch Nails lead isn't alone in having been subjected to a seemingly random approach by Apple to monitoring content. In a more straightforward example of filtering content, author and CNET editor David Carnoy was pressured into removing expletives from an iPhone edition of his book. However, other apps, such as Latest Chatty from developer Alex Wayne, were rejected simply because of community members' posts (caution: further expletives) beyond his control that were still fully accessible through Safari on an iPhone or iPod touch.

At this stage, it's uncertain whether the notice to Makayama to wait until iPhone OS 3.0 is again the result of a frequent app-by-app variation in Apple's reactions to content or part of a more consistent approach. If the latter, however, it directly implies that more adult-oriented content may be allowed into the App Store under the assumption that parents concerned about content will finally have the tools to ban these apps from childrens' devices themselves.
post #2 of 42
There is more profanity in the posted reviews of apps than there is in the apps themselves! They need to get this solved to allow a greater range of apps and material for customers. They shouldn't aspire to be Blockbuster or Walmart, they should aspire to Walmart's sales, with Apple's openness.

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post #3 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

There is more profanity in the posted reviews of apps than there is in the apps themselves! They need to get this solved to allow a greater range of apps and material for customers. They shouldn't aspire to be Blockbuster or Walmart, they should aspire to Walmart's sales, with Apple's openness.

And the same profanity they are preventing in the app is available in the songs the NIИ songs they sell. It's pretty damn silly.
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #4 of 42
The trouble they are giving Reznor made my blood boil. A lot of NIN fans (including myself) are suggesting he release an unshackled version of the app on Android.
post #5 of 42
Apple will launch its new "breast recognition technology" for parental filtering!
post #6 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4metta View Post

The trouble they are giving Reznor made my blood boil. A lot of NIN fans (including myself) are suggesting he release an unshackled version of the app on Android.

I'm not so sure that will happen. The platform may be less encumbered by content checking, but it will harder to create an app at the same level of the iPhone SDK. Then there is the issue of how many will get the app. I think that Reznor has to either remove the profanity or wait until v3.0 to come out. Since it's only a couple months away I think he will probably just wait, but they really need to have more consistency between the apps and music they sell with profanity.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #7 of 42
I hope Apple gets out of the buisness of filtering content for us REAL FAST!

I don't mind providing parental controls, as long as they are adjustable by the end user, but it just doesn't smell right when Apple is deciding what we can see on our iPhones. (I say "our" but I don't have one yet--maybe in June?)
Progress is a comfortable disease
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Progress is a comfortable disease
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post #8 of 42
I understand that some filters are appropriate. I also understand there's some filth out there. Still, it blows my mind how puritan the morals are in the U.S. towards expletives and sexual content...

I know, I know the Netherlands, or perhaps all of Europe have a certain reputation regarding our morals. But for all our supposed socialism, we certainly enjoy more freedom in these aspects
post #9 of 42
I laughed when I heard the nine inch nails app got rejected. It just brings light to how inconsistent the app reviews are, and how more than likely it's a per-person opinion that says if an app gets through. I bet there's people at the "app review center" (something I just made up in my mind) that are really harsh and hardly let anything through, while there are some laid back cool people letting everything through.

There simply needs to be a more concrete way of judging these apps. The iphone app store has become too monumental for there not to be.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

I hope Apple gets out of the buisness of filtering content for us REAL FAST!

I don't mind providing parental controls, as long as they are adjustable by the end user, but it just doesn't smell right when Apple is deciding what we can see on our iPhones. (I say "our" but I don't have one yet--maybe in June?)

I've heard people refer to the iphone as a rental because of this.
post #10 of 42
Apple has to tread a fine line here, East Texas lawyers are probably lining up because someone's little Johnny saw the word "fuck".
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post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by fpsanders View Post

Still, it blows my mind how puritan the morals are in the U.S. towards expletives and sexual content...

But we're okay with excessive violence and gore.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

But we're okay with excessive violence and gore.

..and you make some pretty good porn.
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post #13 of 42
I cannot convey how good of an idea this would be. The application "process" has become a bad joke. If it isn't a virus isn't hardcore port, and doesn't break agreements with the carriers, it should be approved.
post #14 of 42
Trent has answered that while he thinks ANDROID is awesome, not enough people have an ANDROID phone yet but that he is considering offering the app to the jailbreak community if Apple doesn't stop being ridiculous.

Now THAT would be funny!
post #15 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

I hope Apple gets out of the buisness of filtering content for us REAL FAST!

I don't mind providing parental controls, as long as they are adjustable by the end user, but it just doesn't smell right when Apple is deciding what we can see on our iPhones. (I say "our" but I don't have one yet--maybe in June?)

I don't like the idea of Apple censoring and I don't mind parental controls, but I do feel that Apple should have a way of filtering inappropriate apps. How should Apple respond when someone wants to create another baby-shaking app?
post #16 of 42
Why is Apple so obsessed with keeping mature content off the iPhone?

It's not like you can't download your own porn and put it on the phone yourself. They seem obsessed with keeping it squeaky clean for some reason.
post #17 of 42
So yet another "app store rejection" turns out to have a simple explanation and nothing nefarious at the heart of it at all. If the (so-called) "developers" didn't whine like babies all over teh Internets every time they received an email from Apple app store there wouldn't really be a problem with the app store at all IMO.

It somehow doesn't occur to them to calm down and make some inquiries before bleating about it to some forum somewhere and making a big deal out of nothing at all?
In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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In Windows, a window can be a document, it can be an application, or it can be a window that contains other documents or applications. Theres just no consistency. Its just a big grab bag of monkey...
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post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

Why is Apple so obsessed with keeping mature content off the iPhone?

It's not like you can't download your own porn and put it on the phone yourself. They seem obsessed with keeping it squeaky clean for some reason.

I can think of a couple of reasons:

With the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" case appearing again in the news, it could
be that Apple is afraid they will somehow incur obscenity fines from the (majority
reactionary) Federal Communications Commision.

Even if there is no government action on objectionable applications, there are very well
funded private organizations who make a huge stink if all public media are not suitable
for 8-year-old Sunday school girls. Apple do not want any boycotts or iPhone burning
demonstrations.

The release of parental controls should free Apple from these concerns, to some extent.
post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

Why is Apple so obsessed with keeping mature content off the iPhone?

It's not like you can't download your own porn and put it on the phone yourself. They seem obsessed with keeping it squeaky clean for some reason.

Apple is not trying to keep mature content off the iPhone. They are trying to keep mature content off their servers. It is the same reason you don't find porn videos on iTunes. However, you can find some movies with nudity on iTunes but that because there is a standard rating system for movie content so Apple cannot be assumed liable. There is no standard rating system for software.
post #20 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Apple is not trying to keep mature content off the iPhone. They are trying to keep mature content off their servers. It is the same reason you don't find porn videos on iTunes. However, you can find some movies with nudity on iTunes but that because there is a standard rating system for movie content so Apple cannot be assumed liable. There is no standard rating system for software.

Right. It is all about avoiding blame (liability).
post #21 of 42
Money talks and bullshit walks.
post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by zorinlynx View Post

Why is Apple so obsessed with keeping mature content off the iPhone?

It's not like you can't download your own porn and put it on the phone yourself. They seem obsessed with keeping it squeaky clean for some reason.

That's because Apple and the iPhone (thank you Al Gore) are soo politically and environmentally correct.
post #23 of 42
The real answer is a 3-part solution: One store section in which all apps are apple certified and monitored for content, anyone can download from this part from thios part, no age or managment controls: a new app store segment of Apple certified apps that are adults only, using the same controls that are in place for R rated movies or Explicit music (but leaving Apple just enough legal leg room to reject crap like Shaken Baby). lastly, we need a more organic, less centrally controlled method to load "wild card" apps, apps that havent been certified by apple, arent distributed by Apple and prompt a big scarry warning when it is installed onto the phone via the itunes client: Every blackberry can use any app from any web site, so long as it works, it works...This would literlay KILL jail breaking, dead over night.Additionally, it would elimenate all advantages that Windows Mobile, BB, Palm Pre, Google, and Symbian have on apps at the moment
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post #24 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

I can think of a couple of reasons:

With the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" case appearing again in the news, it could
be that Apple is afraid they will somehow incur obscenity fines from the (majority
reactionary) Federal Communications Commision.
t.

What grounds could the FCC use? the fact that they can use wifi or cell network isnt enough to get FCC content judgement as TV is free to air broadcast, it finds you if you have an antenna and tuner, a cell signal requiers both parties to willingly partisipate, so it would fall under the same rules as Directv or Dish Network I beleive that there was a ruling about adult content on free to air C-Band back in the day, they had to encode it and charge the end user, then they were fine.

Basicly, no matter how loud the whiney jesus freaks scream, the FCC wouldnt be the ones to regulate it if presidence is any indication.
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You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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post #25 of 42
I think Apple has made some serious mistakes with its app approval process. Overall though, seeing as how powerful, capable, and popular the development platform has become I think its a wise choice to be cautious with the App Store moral code. Its just a fact of life that the US has a particularly conservative culture. I can understand Apple being cautious.

A teenage sexting app would be popular with some, but would risk major backlash from parents and the media. A popular company flush with billions in the bank, Apple has to be careful.
post #26 of 42
The difference being that iTunes music has a rating system and sophisticated parental controls that the App Store does not yet have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

And the same profanity they are preventing in the app is available in the songs the NIИ songs they sell. It's pretty damn silly.
post #27 of 42
Exactly, there are parental controls, and content filtering on safari/mail and iTunes. Once in place on the App store, then it will be consistent across the board. if they let it through now, then the other side will complain... better be thought too harsh now, then be too permissive. Once the controls are in place, then it won't be an issue.
post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The difference being that iTunes music has a rating system and sophisticated parental controls that the App Store does not yet have.

Good point.
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post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by quinney View Post

I can think of a couple of reasons:

With the Janet Jackson "wardrobe malfunction" case appearing again in the news, it could
be that Apple is afraid they will somehow incur obscenity fines from the (majority
reactionary) Federal Communications Commision.

Even if there is no government action on objectionable applications, there are very well
funded private organizations who make a huge stink if all public media are not suitable
for 8-year-old Sunday school girls. Apple do not want any boycotts or iPhone burning
demonstrations.

The release of parental controls should free Apple from these concerns, to some extent.

But that doesn't explain why they are heavy handed in the rest of the world
post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by a_greer View Post

The real answer is a 3-part solution: One store section in which all apps are apple certified and monitored for content, anyone can download from this part from thios part, no age or managment controls: a new app store segment of Apple certified apps that are adults only, using the same controls that are in place for R rated movies or Explicit music (but leaving Apple just enough legal leg room to reject crap like Shaken Baby). lastly, we need a more organic, less centrally controlled method to load "wild card" apps, apps that havent been certified by apple...

I could go for something like this...
Progress is a comfortable disease
--e.e.c.
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Progress is a comfortable disease
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post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'm not so sure that will happen. The platform may be less encumbered by content checking, but it will harder to create an app at the same level of the iPhone SDK. Then there is the issue of how many will get the app. I think that Reznor has to either remove the profanity or wait until v3.0 to come out. Since it's only a couple months away I think he will probably just wait, but they really need to have more consistency between the apps and music they sell with profanity.

The issue is that Parental Controls ARE in place for music but NOT for apps.
Once Parental Controls ARE in place for apps then Apple will sell more explicit content and parents will continue to oblivious to their children's consumption.
However, it won't be Apple's fault at that point.
post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfanning View Post

But that doesn't explain why they are heavy handed in the rest of the world

Apple tries to maintain a "clean" American as apple pie image.
post #33 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Apple is not trying to keep mature content off the iPhone. They are trying to keep mature content off their servers. It is the same reason you don't find porn videos on iTunes. However, you can find some movies with nudity on iTunes but that because there is a standard rating system for movie content so Apple cannot be assumed liable. There is no standard rating system for software.

Well there is already a well established standard for rating video games(which comprise a bulk of the app store).

eC - Early Childhood - Content suitable for children over the age of 3. These games contain no objectionable material and are intended for a young audience.

E - Everyone - These games are aimed at a broad audience but are suitable for younger children over the age of 5. Minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence may be encountered. Many games receive this rating.

E10+ - Everyone 10 and Over - These games may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence than previous ratings. Mild language and minimal suggestive themes may also be present. This rating is relatively new and was added in early 2005.

T - Teen - The most common rating for video games. The content of these games may be suitable for ages 13 and over and could contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood and infrequent use of strong language.

M - Mature - These titles are intended for ages 17 and over. Intense violence, blood and gore, strong language and sexual content may be present. Many retailers refuse to sell these games to minors.

AO - Adults Only - Aimed at adults over the age of 17 only, these games may include prolonged scenes of violence, graphic sexual content and nudity. In 2005 there are under 20 games with this rating, including Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas after the Hot Coffee controversy.

RP - Rating Pending - This simply means the ESRB has yet to evaluate the content of the game.



post #34 of 42
My iPhone is the only place I feel comfortable letting my kids watch YouTube vids (under supervision, of course) because you can't see the viewer comments. I know that my 6 year old won't accidentally see the dark side of the English language.
post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by codachrome View Post

My iPhone is the only place I feel comfortable letting my kids watch YouTube vids (under supervision, of course) because you can't see the viewer comments. I know that my 6 year old won't accidentally see the dark side of the English language.

Well you can also supervise what apps your 6 year old plays with as well. The iPhone is a grownup's toy.
post #36 of 42
I think Apple are being overly puritanical here. They need a new policy that makes sense. Currently they are blocking a BUGFIX to the NIN application. The App itself is out.

I can understand some degree of concern - as long as iPod Touches are being sold as Gameboy-a-likes they do have to take some care.

But even family-friendly Nintendo WII has a web-browser which can be used to access adult websites.

I think is a big difference between applications which *contain* unsuitable material and applications which may link to web content which may be unsuitable. If Apple are going to ban the latter, they need to ban Safari, YouTube - and any other App which pulls down stuff from the internet. (as Mr. Reznor pointed out)

If Apple can place reasonable parental safeguards into the iPhone software - it should mean that we grown-ups can do what we want with our iPhones and iPods without these silly restrictions.

C.
post #37 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by codachrome View Post

My iPhone is the only place I feel comfortable letting my kids watch YouTube vids (under supervision, of course) because you can't see the viewer comments. I know that my 6 year old won't accidentally see the dark side of the English language.

Sorry, but I don't pay $300 for a phone, then $80+/Mo to use it just o be told that I cant see something violent or risque because there is an off chance that a 5 year old may see it...Heres an idea, why not watch the little twits when they are using the computer, my parents did: they may not have understand much of the BBS jargon, they didn't understand HTML tags, but they knew I wasn't seeing porn and making dates with strangers...

And wouldnt it be a shame if a kid read a swear word on the net, I mean they would never hear them on the playground, walkingg through the park with mommy and daddy, or at a ball game!

(for reference, I am 24, been online since I was like 6)

If you must spawn, you must deal with the result and not shift that burden to me.

Just had a brain belch that I would like to add:

When I was young, kids used computers differently, I am startled by the number of kids who do nothing more than play games on cartoon network.com, Nickelodeon.com and so on, when I was coming up, we were tinkering, breaking, fixing, upgrading, writing little scripts to make the machine do what we wanted it to, and such, Idont see kids of today doing that, and that is a sad commonalty on the state of the industry. Or maybe I am just a nerdy outlier...
You can't quantify how much I don't care -- Bob Kevoian of the Bob and Tom Show.
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post #38 of 42
you can reject anything on the pretext of whatever you like

We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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We mean Apple no harm.

People are lovers, basically. -- Engadget livebloggers at the iPad mini event.

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post #39 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I'm not so sure that will happen. The platform may be less encumbered by content checking, but it will harder to create an app at the same level of the iPhone SDK. Then there is the issue of how many will get the app. I think that Reznor has to either remove the profanity or wait until v3.0 to come out. Since it's only a couple months away I think he will probably just wait, but they really need to have more consistency between the apps and music they sell with profanity.

Like it or not Children are the market with money (their parents'). NIN fans may not like it but Apple isn't going to risk loosing a massive purchasing base with parents just to make a few of you happy.

As for censorship, please, banning flagrant language in no way is censorship of a message. I get so sick of this argument, it's gotta be one of the dumbest arguments ever conceived.
post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by codachrome View Post

My iPhone is the only place I feel comfortable letting my kids watch YouTube vids (under supervision, of course) because you can't see the viewer comments. I know that my 6 year old won't accidentally see the dark side of the English language.

3.0 allows you to view comments. You will lose this comfort blanket if you update your phone.
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