Apple's iPad Cinemax Softcore Porn Problem

Today Ryan Lawler over at GigaOM asks an easy question with an ill-defined answer: Does Cinemax's iPad app violate Apple's no-porn policy? If it does, shouldn't HBO GO get the boot too?

Unlike HBO GO, you see, the Cinemax app boasts an "after dark" tab that delivers the wonderful softcore porn experience "Skinamax" has been known for since, well, since I was a young socially awkward boy back in the 1990s. Thanks to this tab, gratuitous simulated sex on shows like Lingerie or Co-Ed Confidential (why is she grinding on his belly button?) are but a touch away whenever you want them. Softcore porn! On the iPad! How can this be?! My guess is "money" but what do I know. Onward and upward.

These shows differ from the sexually charged fare on HBO (Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, True Blood) only in that the nudity is pretty much always-on. But is that really all that different? Thirty minutes of simulated sex in The Hills Have Thighs as opposed to 30 seconds of Sookie Stackhouse getting it from behind by a thousand-year-old vampire (as it happened last week)?

The App Store approval process is notoriously spotty, but Cinemax and HBO are big names. They couldn't possibly have "slipped through" as some other apps have in the past before being pulled. Cinemax, to its credit, has parental controls and warnings about adult content, so maybe that's all it will take going forward as Apple (and Steve Jobs) relaxes its hardcore stance on hardcore content.

Then again, it's still all very murky. Where does "art" or "entertainment" line end, and where does the porn line begin? Does the line get crossed when people are, you know, actually having sex on screen, as opposed to ones in tightly scripted simulated situations? Is it just a time thing?

One can't help but wonder if there's some Apple intern over in Cupertino with a stopwatch. [GigaOM]

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