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Apple Rejects Nine Inch Nails iPhone App 397

Posted by timothy
from the you-must-be-this-tall-and-this-melodic dept.
jarrettwold2002 writes "Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails announced via his Twitter account today, 'Apple rejects the NIN iPhone update because it contains objectionable content. The objectionable content referenced is "The Downward Spiral."' The initial NIN Access iPhone app garnered much fanfare (Wired article, Guardian article) and was approved by Apple. The update has been rejected due to an album reference. If Nine Inch Nails is having problems with censorship and approval what kind of problems are you having with the iPhone app approval process?"
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Apple Rejects Nine Inch Nails iPhone App

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  • by runlevelfour (1329235) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:02PM (#27802973)
    Hey if Apple wants to reject a killer app from one of the most popular contemporary artists I guess that is their prerogative. Pretty stupid effiing move, and I guess Trent will have to take his application (and devoted money spending fans) elsewhere I guess...
  • TFA? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LaskoVortex (1153471) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:03PM (#27802977)
    Which of those links has TFA in question? 140 bytes of twitter? A you tube video. WTF is so bad about "downward spiral"? I'd RTFA if there was one.
  • Confused! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Vincent West (1521953) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:03PM (#27802979) Homepage
    Confused! Why would they ban the app because of a reference to his most famous album?
  • What the fuck (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Jrabbit05 (943335) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:05PM (#27802991)
    WTF is that shitty summary. "If Nine Inch Nails is having problems with censorship and approval what kind of problems are you having with the iPhone app approval process?" That's the entrance fee to the walled garden of the App Store for iphone/ipod. You trying to subvert apple is just another punch in the face. So they care more about the bigger/popular apps and how they fit their rules. That's kind of their job. It's not free stop expecting it to be.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:10PM (#27803023)

    I've been waiting since April 14th just to be accepted into the iPhone developer program as a business developer. I've been a Mac user since 1985 but this is just about enough for me to say goodbye to the Apple. The more I hear about slow customer service and delayed payments to developers make me seriously consider not participating(if I ever am approved) in the App Store. I may just have to go with a mobile framework like Rhomobile's Rhodes.

  • No problems at all (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:12PM (#27803033)

    With jailbreaking it, I don't have problems at all. I can write my own programs using free software, upload them without paying $150 to access my own device, and share them with my friends. I can do a lot more than Apple would let me in their walled garden. The only question is how soon untill mainstream companies/groups like NIN release their promotional apps on the distribution channels for jailbroken iPhones.

  • by rob1980 (941751) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:15PM (#27803049)
    I'm not really into NIN but I watched the Youtube video explaining what the app is. This is something Apple should be promoting because it does a pretty good job of taking advantage of the platform's capabilities - not suppressing because it contains a reference to a 15-year old album.
  • by DirtyCanuck (1529753) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:19PM (#27803073)

    TODAY, my GF called Apple support, it said call back in 15 mins and automatically hung up on her.

    2 days ago we tried to get a replacement on an Ipod 8gb Nano and despite having an extra 59$ service plan we were told we had to go through apple. Apple informed us that shipping was 39$ Canadian plus 10$ for insurance.

    Apple seems to want to turn its back on it's customers, even if they are gods like Trent Reznor.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:24PM (#27803097)
    He wasn't really specific about the reason. He said it was because of inclusion of "The Downward Spiral". If he wanted to be more specific, he could have said it was because of the song "Closer", or to be even more specific, the lyric "I want to fuck you like an animal" (among others in that song that could be considered offensive by some uptight individuals in Cupertino).
  • by The End Of Days (1243248) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:25PM (#27803101)

    It'll happen as soon as jailbroken phones stop being a niche market, so probably never.

  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:27PM (#27803113) Homepage Journal
    I guess Trent will have to take his application (and devoted money spending fans) elsewhere I guess...

    Or he will write a song about Apple. Knowing Trent's material, Apple better hope he just moves on, because I doubt they will want to license it for a commercial...
  • by headhot (137860) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:42PM (#27803213) Homepage

    I wouldn't mind having the app on my gphone.

  • by MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:42PM (#27803215)
    ... and get off my lawn! seriously though, i'm all for folks like you trying to make a profitable business but frankly, you (and the rest of the industry) need a better business model. let me make analogy from your time period you're selling horses and but steve jobs is really henrey ford, and itunes? well, you can call that the assembly line. what you offer is obsolete.

    should artists get paid for what they do? sure, but everyone wants to eliminate the middleman. if you cant find a good reason for people to buy CD's rather than download music (legally or otherwise) you need to stop being a middleman- produce something. the industrial revolution left a lot of people crying the same sob story you are.

    sure you can argue that digital distribution is often illegal, but frankly the law is whatever people make it. the law in this case actually makes it harder on the artist. if the lawmakers werent at the beck and call of their corporate constituents the whole RIAA DRM crap would be ancient history, much like retail CD stores. now i know that last sentence may look kinda "conspiracy theory" but truthfully, someday the law will represent the will of the majority and when it does, artists will make music, put it on the tubes and i'll buy it directly from the artist and the RIAA, the record label, and you, will all be unemployed. so do yourself a favor, like i said before, go do something productive, dont be a middleman.
  • Explicit Content (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:45PM (#27803227)

    Is it just me, or is this very same album available on the iTunes music store? How is it that you'll be rejected on the App Store for referencing an album you can buy on the Music Store?

  • Just more proof... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ogre332 (145645) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:52PM (#27803277) Homepage

    that no matter how hard Apple argues it, they're just as bad as Microsoft.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:53PM (#27803299)

    iTunes sells Trent Reznors Music but wont distribute his App?

    HUH?

    Shouldnt Apple be giving the big "DUH" on this. What the fuck is Apple thinking?

    I thought Apple was the "artist" friendly computer platform. You know that image they try to sell us on, using that hip "Mac guy"...

    BEGIN SCENE

    MAC GUY: "Hey PC, I'm a MAC, I dress like an artist, but really I'm just another fake image driven sock puppet for an evil corporation"

    PC GUY: "Boy, I sure know how what it feels"

    FADE TO WHITE

    Apple.. Think What We Allow You To.

    END SCENE.

    Apple really has changed over the years. Its a very snobby platform for so called "artists". I find it histerical when I see college students thinking they MUST get a MAC if they will ever be an artist. Its just embarrasing. As if a platform makes you talented... If only it were that easy.

    Image is everything, and Apple really needs to change direction and stop censoring song titles on itunes, and stop censoring applications. Simply have parenting mode settings in Itunes. Thats all you need. Let the parent decide what is right for their children. AND MORE IMPORTANTLY... Let us ADULTS choose what is right for us.

    Oh and btw to you snobby college students that think you're artists because you just bought a Mac. You're wrong :) 95% of todays blockbuster films are made with windows pcs and linux pcs running various kinds of special fx software. Photography is done on both platforms but windows users out number mac users by a far.

    Music? Sure... Protools for the Mac... of course! No wait... How about Nuendo for the PC? :) Far better.

    Final Cut? ok you got us. :P

    Hey will still have avid though... and the entire 3d animation industry.

  • by Swizec (978239) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:06AM (#27803373) Homepage

    Oh and btw to you snobby college students that think you're artists because you just bought a Mac.

    I bought a Mac because at the time it was the most powerful machine packed into the thinnest and lightest package (so it fits in my backpack nicely) with the longest batter span.

    That was two years ago. Nowadays I'd buy a Mac because having dropped it a lot I've come to appreciate the aluminium case and I do believe it's still the best battery life for a laptop with a graphics card that has its own memory ... plus the touchpads are just bloody awesome.

    Art has nothing to do with it, it's just a better (portable) computer

  • What the hell?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:07AM (#27803379)

    Apple sells The Downward Spiral on iTunes!

    Apple is starting to sound like Sony, where two (or more) competing ideologies threaten to drag the entire company down. Jobs needs to issue a set of objective, fair guidelines that apply across ALL content Apple sells on ALL of its storefronts. And yes, those guidelines need to come from His Steveness Himself, so that random lackeys in the App Store aren't left making judgment calls on the company's strategic direction.

    This really is pretty outrageous; if you've seen the advance publicity for the NIN app, you'd probably agree that it was looking impressive as hell.

  • This is art (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:26AM (#27803485)

    This is art. Someone home at Apple?

    At any rate, it illustrates the slippery slope Apple's going down. All sorts of people will feel invited to seek attention for their agenda now.

  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:32AM (#27803517)

    Starting? Apple has always been a DRM peddling big-media supporter, it's just that the honeymoon period they had with fanboys distracted everyone from this fact. Now that the novelty of shiny white gadgets is wearing off, perhaps we'll start seeing a bit more objectivity and a little less worshipful adoration from Jobs' zealots.

  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by retchdog (1319261) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:34AM (#27803523) Journal

    iTunes has some songs tagged as adult content; I'm sure Spiral qualifies. On the other hand, the app store doesn't which explains this "paradox" up to first-order.

    The obvious question is why the app store doesn't have an adult content section. The answer is pure politics; just calling something "adult software" (or even admitting you stock such things) has a stink of "low-art" about it: crude S&M games or masturbatory aids. On the other hand, "adult content" in music typically just means that you maybe don't want a 12 year old listening to it. Your adult friends typically wouldn't hide their NIN, but they'd hide their copy of rapelay [boingboing.net].

    And, an accurate label like "non-adult software containing/accessing music which would be labeled `adult content'" is too risky for Apple to feed its users, who might well just read it as "adult software". Sad but true: 90% would, left alone, ignore it; 5% would be in the niche; and (of course) 5% would raise holy hell about how Apple is going to start selling porn-games and rile up the 90%. It's more un-Apple than putting EQ levers or a microphone on an iPod; just icky and won't happen.

  • by robably (1044462) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:43AM (#27803557) Journal

    Becuase you then lose all your pre-15 market due to having uncensored material available on your device..

    ...and all your post-15 audience due to them seeing the app store as being filled with an ocean of peurile and flaky apps. Not a professional image to present to your customers.

  • by AnalPerfume (1356177) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:51AM (#27803603)
    If it's simply a case of adult lyrics, mark the content as such and allow it. Let the people decide for themselves if they want adult content or not. They do already have an "explicit" tag in iTunes.
  • by Snocone (158524) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @01:13AM (#27803721) Homepage

    This conservative mindset ... seem content to have all their censored for their own good

    Indeed.

    OK, let's put "The Greatest Nigger Jokes of All Time.app" up on the store and see how cool liberals are with it.

    Oh, wait, the liberal mindset "like to live in a bubble where the real world does not enter" and "seem content to have all their censored for their own good" too?

    Funny, that...

  • Amazing.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eric Freyhart (752088) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @01:43AM (#27803851) Journal
    I have been a developer for over 30 years. My first application (we called them "programs" back then) was on the TRS-80 microcomputer sold by Radio Shack. In all this time I have seen a very disturbing trend towards closed operating systems and platforms. If the automotive industry operated the same way, you would be forced to only buy service and parts from "authorized" centers and distributors. This was long ago outlawed by state and federal regulations. If Microsoft were to only allow "approved" applications on their OS (computer or mobile), the federal government would be looking at a major case against their anti-competitive behaviour. Is there really a clause in the TOS for iPhone developers that they cannot say anything about a rejected application? Wow. I cannot understand how any company in todays market can get away with that. Well, lets see... Microsoft: open and free development for their platform, and will run on multiple hardware configurations. Google: open and free development for their platform, and will run on multiple hardware configurations. Apple: closed platform with final say of any application developed, and with a percentage of all applications being paid to Apple Corp. Can someone tell me again why I should by an iPhone? Can someone tell me why Apple has not been taken to court? Can someone explain to me the hype on why Apple is so much better than MS?
  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @01:52AM (#27803893)
    Exactly.

    "I want to fuck you like an animal / I want to feel you from the inside" is deliberately one of the most inflammatory chorus lines ever seen in the mainstream.. moms seeing those slick iphone commercials and thinking of buying one for christmas might freak if they heard about that song being "promoted" on the app store that their kid will be browsing innocently..

    Apple just cares about the cost of implementing an age restriction more than some band's app (a bad idea anyway).
  • by atraintocry (1183485) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:14AM (#27803971)

    It's really, really sad that in this country refraining from calling people niggers is a thing that automatically makes you a liberal.

  • Re:Enough Already (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vitriolix (660279) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:15AM (#27803973) Homepage

    This is such a farce, you need to read a little deeper than the glossy "gold rush" articles. there have been a very *small* number of people who got lucky and struck it rich, but as in all gold rushes, there are now so many people trying to get theirs, that the app store has become a wasteland clusterfuck of shitty me2 apps. Now, like everywhere else in life, you have to a) have a good application b) have good marketing c) have some luck to make money with iphone apps.

  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Plunky (929104) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:17AM (#27803991)

    "I want to fuck you like an animal / I want to feel you from the inside" is deliberately one of the most inflammatory chorus lines ever seen in the mainstream.. moms seeing those slick iphone commercials and thinking of buying one for christmas might freak if they heard about that song being "promoted" on the app store that their kid will be browsing innocently.

    Um, how do you suppose they got to be moms in the first place?

    and, I don't understand how its 'inflammatory'? It is crude but hey, thats what immature is all about..

  • by atraintocry (1183485) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:33AM (#27804045)

    Artist friendly because originally the best software for art & music ran on Macs first. Or Amigas, for that matter. Obviously that stopped being the case by the time XP came out, since PCs had caught up in terms of hardware and the Windows audience was over 90% and certainly not worth ignoring.

    But you know that Pro Tools is released for PC as well, right? And that Adobe, as well as everyone else, treats the platforms more or less equally these days?

    These are platforms that people get actual work on, this isn't XBox vs. Wii vs. PS3. You're not on SomeRandomGameNewsForum. And your only experience of Macs seems to be their TV ads. Seriously, get that teenage pissing contest shit out of here.

  • by MsGeek (162936) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:51AM (#27804109) Homepage Journal

    Trent Reznor has been a Mac user [audiohead.net] and evangelist [macuser.com] for the better part of two decades.

    His use of Macs go back to "Pretty Hate Machine" and an old Mac Plus.

    "I made Pretty Hate Machine using a Mac Plus, an Emax keyboard and a Mini Moog," says Reznor. "That set up was cool because it was so limiting that it forced you to get the most out of what you had to work with. It was just basic MIDI, with no digital audio. But I knew the three pieces of gear I had inside and out."

    And now they've pissed him off. Bad idea. Steve, get well soon so you can bitchslap whoever made this boneheaded decision.

  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:52AM (#27804113)

    This one title they are refusing alone is probably well over a million lost.I don't understand what you mean by risk - do you think anyone would seriously boycott Apple over a second nine inch nails album?

  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jerry Smith (806480) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @02:58AM (#27804139) Homepage Journal

    "I want to fuck you like an animal / I want to feel you from the inside" is deliberately one of the most inflammatory chorus lines ever seen in the mainstream.. moms seeing those slick iphone commercials and thinking of buying one for christmas might freak if they heard about that song being "promoted" on the app store that their kid will be browsing innocently.

    Um, how do you suppose they got to be moms in the first place?

    and, I don't understand how its 'inflammatory'? It is crude but hey, thats what immature is all about..

    Hopefully they got to be mom when they we're adults, and that's the point here.

  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Plunky (929104) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:50AM (#27804307)

    Hopefully they got to be mom when they we're adults, and that's the point here.

    I don't see how its at all relevant

    You need to be an adult to sign the contract for your shiny new iPhone, also to have a credit card to pay for things at the App store, and to top it all, this app is presumably only of interest to Nine Inch Nails fans who, get this, already listened to their explicit music which is in fact available from iTunes?

    Actually, I have no idea if any of that is true since I don't have an iPhone and am not able to run the software to access their marketplace..

  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DMalic (1118167) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:52AM (#27804315)
    I see this as a "risk" to the public of locked down devices. Yeah, it doesn't seem like a big deal, but it still pisses me off.
  • by amRadioHed (463061) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @04:26AM (#27804453)

    He didn't already write a song about Apple? I wonder what "Happiness in Slavery" is really about then.

  • by perryizgr8 (1370173) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @05:44AM (#27804711)
    so what do apple get from you for this behavior? yes, you continue to develop for the iphone and provide value to their product and their store. so why would apple or any other company not do the same thing they did?
  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by damburger (981828) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @05:47AM (#27804721)

    As I am just about to head to the apple store to demand a replacement for my fire hazard of a power adaptor (rather than pay £60 for a new one), I am inclined to agree. Once the shininess has worn off Apple products the fact they are shamelessly milking you for every penny they can is obvious.

  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @07:22AM (#27805055) Homepage

    Starting? Apple has always been a DRM peddling big-media supporter

    Apple was one of first companies to push for DRM free music so your claim is full of shit.

    Apple doesn't like competition but that is something completely different to DRM.

  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kklein (900361) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:30AM (#27805301)

    It is crude but hey, thats what immature is all about..

    That is not a song about sex; it is a song about alienation and loneliness, and using sex as a replacement for real spiritual closeness, even when we know that's what we're doing.

    Sorry. Rabid NIN fan. And I am an adult. Speaking from the standpoint of someone who (unfortunately) has a BA in literature, and therefore has spent a lot of time pulling art apart, I would suggest that the reason for Reznor's continued success and dedicated fanbase spanning a couple generations now is that his work very well may be crude, but it is always honest, and is never immature. To be honest, his lyrics are kind of flattening out (while his music gets better and better--normal for pop musicians, I think), but the guy knows how to express himself poetically.

    Back to the topic at hand, however, I understand Apple's position to a certain extent, after the whole baby-shaking incident, but... come on. This is one of the most successful bands of the 1990s, which is still touring sold-out arena shows today. He's pretty mainstream at this point, especially since most of us who got into NIN in the early 90s have kids of our own now. I don't, but if I did, I'd be stoked if he/she got into NIN when he/she was old enough to get it. With my luck, and the way kids turn out, though, they'd probably get into Phish or something (shudder) --oh well, at least Phish knows how to play and does a great show.

  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AikonMGB (1013995) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @08:41AM (#27805351) Homepage

    Just being a touch pedantic here, but Trent does indeed record his music in a recording studio -- it's just probably one he built himself, such as Le Pig Studios [wikipedia.org]. What he doesn't have any more is a major record label -- he now releases under his own label, The Null Corporation.

    Aikon-

  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Sunday May 03, 2009 @09:12AM (#27805489)

    No, but NIN might not distribute their next album on iTunes.

  • Studio != studio (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Sunday May 03, 2009 @09:39AM (#27805605) Homepage Journal

    Just being a touch pedantic here, but Trent does indeed record his music in a recording studio -- it's just probably one he built himself, such as Le Pig Studios [wikipedia.org]. What he doesn't have any more is a major record label -- he now releases under his own label, The Null Corporation.

    In movies, "studio" means something close to what "label" in music means. What music and TV call a "studio" is closer to what film calls a "sound stage". The phrase studio system [wikipedia.org] made me think Sebilrazen just slipped and used movie terminology.

  • by maztuhblastah (745586) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @11:11AM (#27806319) Journal

    It's really, really sad that in this country refraining from calling people niggers is a thing that automatically makes you a liberal.

    No, it's not just that many modern "liberals" abhor the use of racial slang. It's also that these "liberals" decide to attempt to punish those who use it. While libertarians tend to believe all speech, even if it is personally offensive, is protected speech, many modern "liberals" seem to believe in free speech only as long as it doesn't offend anyone's sensibilities.

    I refrain from calling people "niggers", but I'm by no means a liberal -- at least not in the modern sense of the term. Of course I also would oppose the censorship of an app such as the parent poster described. Would I buy it? No. But that doesn't mean that censoring it is the right thing to do.

    *That* is what the parent poster was playing at. (I think...)

  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nabsltd (1313397) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @11:37AM (#27806511)

    Yes, after years of selling you DRM-infested music, Apple was one of the first* to ask to be able to sell without DRM so that they could re-sell you the same music, thus milking you for every penny as the GP said.

    *By "one of the first", I mean "third or fourth out of the six or seven large downloadable music stores". EMusic [emusic.com], Amazon [amazon.com] and others all offered DRM-free music before the Apple iTunes store.

  • by WNight (23683) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @01:26PM (#27807375) Homepage

    Apple decided to keep the Appstore at PG-13 rating. Is that draconian control?

    Um, yes. Considering they lock the phone down so that you can't go anywhere else.

    If they just didn't want to sell certain apps then more power to them, but when they set themselves up as the monopoly dealer things that would otherwise be acceptable aren't. Now it's not that the iPhone is a cool device and Apple is just a family-friendly place to get one, but that the iPhone is itself crippled because of Apple's excessive market control.

  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @06:55PM (#27810173)
    As a avowed Apple Fan (TM), I call WTF? It's a computer for cripes sake! What do people expect, a magic box? Computer's have problems; yes you should get a new power adapter for free if you haven't abused it and it's under warrantee, but, really, why are you upset about it? Are there really people who look at something that you buy from any company as more than a, well, a thing? If the Apple fit and finish are worth it to you, then pay for it. If not, then don't. It's not like anyone forces a Lamborghini owner to pay $15K for an oil change, and no one forces anyone to pay for shiny iPods or other items. Maybe that's Apple's biggest problem right there; people do expect it to be more than a thing, and folks are disappointed when they find out that that is just what it is.

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

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