iPhone App Store Bans Book App for Naughty Language

Illustration for article titled iPhone App Store Bans Book App for Naughty Language

Self-published authors are now distributing books in self-contained iPhone apps, but when a friend of ours submitted his for approval, he got blackballed for content that was either "obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory." NSFW pic:

Yes, our buddy David Carnoy, an editor at CNet, wrote an emergency-room psychodrama called Knife Music which he published through Amazon to some decent reviews. He hired app developer Alexandru Brie to release the book though the App Store using Brie's TouchBooks Reader software—which Brie had already used to publish classics like White Fang and Arabian Nights. But when Brie submitted the book-app, he received this reply:

Illustration for article titled iPhone App Store Bans Book App for Naughty Language

Dear Mr. Alexandru Brie,

Thank you for submitting Knife Music - David Carnoy to the App Store. We've reviewed Knife Music - David Carnoy and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains objectionable content and is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement which 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."

An example of the offensive content is attached.

To be clear, that screenshot is one Apple actually took of the book running in its emulator. It's interesting to note that Brie and Carnoy submitted the work after some M-rated apps began appearing in the store.


You know if some of us ran the App Store, we'd have requested a version of Carnoy's book that consisted only of the naughty bits (though to be fair to Carnoy, there wouldn't be very many pages in that edition). As it is, we don't know whether to laugh, cry or call the ACLU, but one thing's for sure: When more ebook content starts hitting the App Store, SDK Agreement Section 3.3.12 is gonna need a lawyerly revision or two. Good luck with the resubmission, David!


Needless to say, CNet's News.com is also running a story on Carnoy's plight; check out Tom Krazit's piece for more details.

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Can't really say that this violates anyone's free speech, as Apple doesn't run the country, only iTunes. That said, this is idiotic.

Wake me when Bound is released on iTunes. :D