Apple Threatens To Kick Out Comic Book App Over 'Adult' Content, Forcing Publisher To Pull 40% Of Its 4,000 Titles

from the option-iPrude-accessory-gouges-eyes-out,-removes-personal-responsiblity dept

Apple’s worked very hard cultivating its walled garden and it isn’t going to let a bunch of creators ruin its pristine utopia with nudity, depictions of sweatshops, nudity (again), swearing, topical commentary, competitive apps and the ancient art of intricate lovemaking.

Once again, Apple has decided to arbitrarily boot more content out of its garden, expressing its concern that things might be getting a little too sexy for its apparent target audience of schoolchildren who have never browsed the internet.

Reports are coming in that the digital comics distributor Izneo has had to radically prune their catalog or face banishment from iTunes.

Izneo has been selling digital comics on the iPad since they released an iPad app in mid-2010, and they successfully built a catalog of over 4000 French and Belgian titles.

Everything was going fine until late Friday night when one of Apple’s censors noticed that Izneo sold adult comics. And since Apple clearly cannot allow their precious iPad to be sullied by salacious content, the censor gave Izneo 30 hours to remove all adult comics.

Like other Apple takedown requests, this one arrived with no warning and no clear indication as to what content Apple felt was inappropriate and should be removed.

IDBoox broke the story earlier today, and they report that Izneo had absolutely no warning that there was a problem or guidance as to which titles needed to be removed. All they were reportedly told by Apple was that the adult content had to go, so Izneo drastically pruned any comic that showed a breast, cleavage, and even ones with characters evoking a suggestive gesture.

In order to comply with this incredibly vague request, Izneo immediately pulled 2,800 of its 4,000 titles. After a more in-depth review of its content, Izneo restored about half of what it had dumped, bringing it back up to 2,500. That’s still 1,500 titles pulled because Apple said, “Jump,” and couldn’t even be bothered to specify how high.

Now, Izneo is stuck in a bit of a bind. It can abide by Apple’s ethereal “guidelines” and hope that it doesn’t need to remove even more titles. Or, it can start looking at a few options to get around the walled garden while still remaining somewhat ensconced. Nate Hoffelder suggests it switch to an HTML-5 reading app, or better yet, simply stop selling titles from within the app. This will allow Izneo to avoid Apple’s app censoring while also bypassing the “opportunity” to toss 30% of the in-app purchase Apple’s way.

As long as Apple is going to continue to behave like a stern parent in need of mood stabilizers, app developers and content creators are going to find themselves on the receiving end of vague missives like these. Apple is, of course, welcome to run its business however it sees fit, but every story like this serves as a warning to developers: if you want to play in Apple’s garden, you’ll have to abide by the nebulous, arbitrary rules. Apple has stated that if game developers want to handle serious issues (like the Syrian War), they should write a book instead. What is it going to tell comic book creators whose artwork veers into adult areas? Fire up the keyboard and turn those pictures into 1,000 words?

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Companies: apple, izneo

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Comments on “Apple Threatens To Kick Out Comic Book App Over 'Adult' Content, Forcing Publisher To Pull 40% Of Its 4,000 Titles”

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25 Comments
Ninja (profile) says:

Well, one can argue that iGadget users tend to fall strictly into 2 categories: the clueless and the tech-savy (as in the ones that know the true utility of them lies in unlocking and using sources like Cydia or whatever).

I tend to believe most iTrap users fall in the first category.

Also, considering Android gadgets have outsmarted the iCrap stuff I do believe Apple should be very careful of what it’s going to do or risk being the new RIM/Nokia.

gorehound (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I own a Collection of awesome Vintage Books and Pulps appraised conservatively at $16500.I have a Gallery with a bunch of stuff from my collection.You will probably like this gallery so I post my link.
http://www.bigmeathammer.com/gallery.htm
And Yes I Am A Proud Dinosaur !!! I own my stuff, can resell at high pricing, and can will it to my heir.
My Son loves my Pulps and Rare Paperbacks.

Anonymous Coward says:

So for the thinking public, I’m glad Apple continues to make walled gardens look bad, very bad.

For the other hundred fifty million in the U.S alone, I have to wonder… how did they get to a space where it was OK to leave their kid alone with full access to a store and 1-touch buying tied to their credit card?

Not to mention, how is it OK in their minds to blame their stupidity on anyone or anything but themselves when they have the CC bill to prove their absense of recognizable consciouness?

Honest these people shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce.

Anonymous Coward says:

First, let me call out Apple on this bullshit maneuver. Why is Apple pretending to be the morality police on one side of the fence and then claiming to be the immoral police on the side by everybody and their uncle simply because somebody has created a product that has “rounded corners”. Either you do the right thing and apply it to yoour company 100% or you don’t.

You cannot pull the I’m the “morality police” defense part of the time because it makes you sound like an idiot.

Second, why are developers continuing to do business with Apple? They don’t do anything for the developers except to act as landlord and charge them rental rates that would make any “renter” swear at the top of their lungs.

If Apple continues to act this way, sooner or later, they’re going to start attracting the attention of Federal authorities as to how they’re doing business in this country.

Apple is acting like the Catholic Church. On one hand, they are preaching to the public to confess their sins and to turn their faith to God while their priests, on the other side, are sexually abusing children with their so-called pedophile priests.

Apple needs to get off its high horse and stop acting like such a prude.

Internet Zen Master (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Bad comparison.

The pedophile priests act on their own (and iirc, the total number of priests convicted or even accused of sexually abusing children is less than 1% of the worldwide clergy). And what they do is definitely not sanctioned by the Catholic Church.

On the other hand, what Apple is doing is the company policy, just not a bunch of prudish employees playing morality police without the guys at the top knowing about it.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Sullied

> And since Apple clearly cannot allow
> their precious iPad to be sullied by
> salacious content, the censor gave Izneo
> 30 hours to remove all adult comics.

If Apple had any idea the breadth and depth of porn that has crossed the screen of my iPad, their heads would explode and they would instantly ban the app responsibly for it– Safari.

Oh, wait…

Aratuk says:

Law if the Internet

While I agree there have been some instances of overreach on Apple’s part, the fact that you can essentially name all of them demonstrates the pervasiveness of the issue.

I think Apple is just aware that one of the laws of the Internet is that if you allow any porn on your site, your site becomes known for nothing but porn. They should address the handful of issues that are actually unduly censorious, and implement clearer policies for their employees.

RyanNerd (profile) says:

Back in the day

Way back when I used to be an Apple enthusiast. I made a number of apps for the Apple ][ platform (yes I’m old). The system was completely open and fun to program.

Then they came out with the Mac’n Trash. Completely closed and unless you were a close friend of Jobs or Woz you were not allowed to make apps for the Mac. I think it was this closed system thinking that eventually led to Billy Gates coming to the rescue and saving Apples sorry asses.

I create apps for both iOS and Android but only as a contractor. Someone pays me for creating the apps and they get to figure out how to make money in Apple’s walled garden or in Android’s infected Play Store

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