Apple's Rejection Of EFF RSS Reader App Sort Of Proves EFF's Point About Arbitrary App Rejections
from the thanks-for-making-it-easy dept
It’s pretty clear that Apple’s policies covering what iPhone applications are acceptable for its App Store are pretty absurd and arbitrary. The company has repeatedly blocked applications that could allow users to access content Apple deems “objectionable” — like an e-book reader that can display the Kama Sutra, among thousands of other books — when that same content is accessible through the iPhone’s built-in web browser or other applications. This rejection process led the Electronic Frontier Foundation to ask the Copyright Office to grant a DMCA exemption covering the jailbreaking of iPhones, so they could be used with any app the user wanted instead of just Apple-approved ones, as well as other phone unlocking techniques. Apple, of course, responded by saying that jailbreaking was copyright infringment.
The company may have now unwittingly given a little more juice to the EFF’s claims that the approval process is arbitrary, censorial and anti-competitive, though, by rejecting an application that displays the EFF’s RSS feed. Not because they dislike the EFF (ostensibly), but because it contained “objectionable content” in the form of a blog post that linked to a YouTube video containing the f-word in a subtitle. Once again, this content is available elsewhere on the iPhone, namely via the web browser and YouTube app pre-installed on the device, reinforcing the asinine nature of the rejection. Whether this will help the EFF’s case with the Copyright Office — or help change Apple’s policy — remains to be seen. But for now, it still looks like Apple’s app rejection process is a digital equivalent of a “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” sign.