Apple Rejects eBook App Over Access to Kama Sutra

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
49,682
11,001
https://www.macrumors.com/images/macrumorsthreadlogodarkd.png

In an extensive blog entry, James Montgomerie reveals that Apple has repeatedly rejected his eBook reader iPhone application, Eucalyptus, due to its ability to access a version of the ancient Indian text Kama Sutra, which Apple considers to contain objectionable content.

As Montgomerie describes, the Eucalyptus application does not contain the "objectionable" text, as it merely serves as an interface to Project Gutenberg, a well-known distributor of free eBooks based on content that is in the public domain. Moreover, translations of the Kama Sutra are readily available on the iPhone via a host of other sources.
The exact book (the Kama Sutra) that Apple considers the ability to read 'objectionable' is freely available on the iPhone in many ways already. You can find it through Safari or the Google app of course, but it is also easily available via other book reading apps. You can get it easily via eReader, though the search process is handled by launching a third-party site in Safari, with the download and viewing taking place in eReader. Stanza offers up multiple versions, some with illustrated covers. Amazon’s Kindle app, the latest version of which was approved by Apple this week, offers multiple versions too - although it does charge from 80¢ to $10 per book - and you again purchase via Safari before Kindle downloads the book.

I am at a loss to explain why Eucalyptus is being treated differently than these applications by Apple. I’m also frankly amazed that they would suggest I should be manually censoring content that is being downloaded from the public Internet - classic, even ancient, books, no less.
While Apple's rejection of Eucalyptus could very well have been a result of an overzealous reviewer, Montgomerie proceeds to document his numerous attempts to contact Apple to have his case reviewed, only to be met with silence, automated e-mail responses, and in the responses that actually address his submission, tersely worded messages that provide little assistance.

Montgomerie has resubmitted for Apple's consideration a version of Eucalyptus that manually blocks access to the version of the Kama Sutra available through Project Gutenberg.

Article Link: Apple Rejects eBook App Over Access to Kama Sutra
 

iPie

macrumors regular
Feb 21, 2006
132
0
Milan, Italy
Actually, I think it's because Apple wants to be the only one doing any screwing of its flock.:eek:

Apple joins the religious right in this quest.
 

ltcol266845

macrumors regular
Aug 25, 2006
217
0
Elgin, IL
Stanza provides access to Project Gutenberg, among others... I would guess that there is even a version of that text (or maybe even "worse") trough the Kindle Store.
 

QCassidy352

macrumors G4
Mar 20, 2003
11,125
3,903
Bay Area
This has to be a mistake (an over-zealous reviewer). As the developer points out, this book can be downloaded and read in several other already-approved applications.
 

whistler222

macrumors 6502
Nov 8, 2007
318
0
this clear shows the tech geek reviewing the app doesn't even know what sex is..nor ever participated in such feats..
 

DotComCTO

macrumors 6502
Aug 17, 2006
307
36
The author is 100% right, and Apple is 100% wrong in this case. The eBook reader does not contain the "objectionable" information - just like Safari doesn't contain objectionable content. Perhaps Apple should put all sorts of filters into Safari so anytime a "bad" image or word showed up, it would just block that content?! For that matter, maybe Apple shouldn't allow "explicit" music in iTunes. I might download that to my iPhone...oh noes!!!!!

Apple is getting insane over this. The author is right in comparing his app to the Kindle app, Stanza or any other reader.

I feel badly for the Eucalyptus author. What a crock.

:(

--DotComCTO
 

srl7741

macrumors 68020
Jan 19, 2008
2,091
1
GMT-6
It's too bad

These type of things are getting pretty sad. Does anyone have any common sense anymore?
 

EgbertAttrick

macrumors regular
Feb 25, 2008
220
50
If this kind of rejection continues to happen after 3.0's parental controls are released... Well, I won't do anything, but it will seriously piss me off. Apple's reviewers really need to lighten up and learn the difference between art and porn.

And once they learn that difference, they should lighten up even more.
 

kas23

macrumors 603
Oct 28, 2007
5,627
291
Stanza provides access to Project Gutenberg, among others... I would guess that there is even a version of that text (or maybe even "worse") trough the Kindle Store.
Shhhh! Don't let Apple know about this. This may cause them to pull their most popular eBook reader.

Anyways, thank you Mommy and Daddy Apple for looking out for me and letting me know what could possibly corrupt my feeble mind. For God's sake, Apple is acting like the Catholic church in the Middle Ages!
 

kdarling

macrumors P6
Apple doesn't always seem to employ the brightest crayons in the box.

I remember someone posting a link on the Apple support forums to a legal document, which happened to be titled "Petition to the FCC".

The word "petition" in that case, of course, had nothing to do with collecting signatures. It's a legal term simply meaning "formal request".

The uneducated Apple forum managers repeatedly deleted the link because their forum rules said "no petitions allowed".

So... kudos to Apple for giving their people power and responsibility. They just need to pick different people to give those to.
 

tk421

macrumors 6502a
Dec 7, 2005
654
1
Los Angeles
This one seems pretty out there. Even if OS 3.0 provides app parental controls (allowing mature content in apps) it would be pretty weird to have this app rated such.

This also implies that reviewers of ebook apps have to read every ebook available to screen them. That is insane.

Stanza provides access to Project Gutenberg, among others... I would guess that there is even a version of that text (or maybe even "worse") trough the Kindle Store.
Uh... did you read the article? It says exactly what you said, only without guessing.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,776
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
Very odd. One would have hoped that the Trent Reznor business would have taught Apple a lesson. If the Kama Sutra is banned, then the Song of Solomon should be banned too. :rolleyes:
 

Porco

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2005
3,128
6,004
Very odd. One would have hoped that the Trent Reznor business would have taught Apple a lesson. If the Kama Sutra is banned, then the Song of Solomon should be banned too. :rolleyes:
Apple would by their own standards need to remove Safari. As it too can access this same ebook.
Exactly. For crying out loud, how many times? Apple need to sort this approvals mess out, they're looking increasingly stupid over it every time we hear another of these stories.
 

Randman

macrumors 65816
Jul 28, 2008
1,329
9
Jacksonville, Fla
Obviously, there are flaws in the approval process. And yes, Apple is being silly when they can just slap a 18+ warning on apps.

But at the same time, I am sick and tired of every developer with a rejected app blogging and creating threads in the hopes of gaining attention. I wouldn't be surprised if someone tries to get rejected on purpose so they can complain later for the free attention/publicity.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
An absurd decision on many levels, and surely to be reversed--but the decision should never have been made in the first place.

I take the silent treatment as a good sign in a sense: it's not a rejection of the issue; someone's deciding something. My own dealings with the dev program have always started with me sending an email, and getting a live call--not an email--back (in a week or two) with helpful answers. So if that's not happening, I take it as an indication that gears are slowly turning. (An upcoming content-ratings system could complicate the decision too.)

This is a side-effect of the sheer scale of their app-approval process. I think Apple does pretty well considering the tidal wave, and they keep improving--but they do have a ways to go yet!

These type of things are getting pretty sad. Does anyone have any common sense anymore?
Yes. Everyone--with the exception of the one-in-a-thousand bad call that one-in-a-thousand Apple employees sometimes makes. Which then gets a lot of attention. (As it should!) But it's hardly a trend of any kind: we're looking at a few bad calls out of THOUSANDS of decisions. Still bad--still in need of correction of course. And Apple has, in the past, reversed their bad calls. I'm sure they will in this case too. (And in the meantime, I feel the developer's pain! Very frustrating to be one guy dealing with such a massive operation.)
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.