That’s because when Carnoy enlisted a software developer to submit the book to the App Store, Apple rejected the book for containing “objectionable content” … In its rejection letter, Apple singled out the passage in question, which we actually can’t print either. Let’s just say it involves a teenage girl telling a detective that she […]
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Should Apple Be Banning Books from the App Store for ‘Objectionable’ Content?

That’s because when Carnoy enlisted a software developer to submit the book to the App Store, Apple rejected the book for containing “objectionable content” … In its rejection letter, Apple singled out the passage in question, which we actually can’t print either. Let’s just say it involves a teenage girl telling a detective that she overheard her friend asking a gentleman caller to “love me like you mean it,” just with a slightly more emphatic verb.

Ironically, in the same month that they loosened App Store restrictions enough to allow us to be overwhelmed by a slew of farting apps, Apple has also drawn attention for rejecting a book (of the self-contained ebook variety) on the grounds of having ‘objectionable’ content.

‘Knife Music’ is the name of the rejected novel, which is a medical thriller that is being sold on, and receiving some pretty good reviews on, Amazon – it’s page is here.

In their rejection notice to the developer, Apple showed a screencap of at least some of what was considered objectionable content and, as indicated in the quote from a CNET post at the top of this post, they seem to be objecting to the use of ‘the F word’. As the CNET post points out, there are many valuable pieces of literature that contain the same word, and the iTunes Store certainly stocks some movies that contain ‘objectionable’ content. For movies though (maybe for music too – I don’t know as I rarely shop for music via iTunes) there is a ratings system, presumably in an effort to keep people below a certain age away from certain types of content – and there is no equivalent or similar ratings system for books.

Tom Krazit, author of the CNET post I keep referencing seems to think Apple is going to have their work cut out for them in this difficult area:

If Apple really wants to offer books on the App Store, it is going to have to strike a balance between a desire to keep out-and-out porn off the App Store while avoiding comparisons to a modern-day Anthony Comstock. Apple doesn’t have to sell erotica if it doesn’t want to, but simply rejecting books because they use one of George Carlin’s seven favorite words is going to exclude an awful lot of literature.

I think this is a really tough and tricky area for Apple all the way around. It’s one thing to protect us from ‘rogue’ or unsafe / unstable applications – but quite a different thing to start making decisions for us on what is ‘objectionable’ content. Seems like maybe they will need to look at some sort of ratings system for books at some stage.

What do you all think? What’s the best way for the App Store to handle this subject?

Source: CNET via Gizmodo

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