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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 AnalPerfume (1356177) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:13PM (#27803039)
    Now Trent has publicly stated the reason for it's rejection, does that not break Apple's NDA rules on "don't talk about rejection"? Will Apple throw more PR petrol on themselves by fighting Trent with a lawsuit instead of trying to let the embers die out?

    Is anyone really surprised with another Apple rejection on dubious grounds? Perhaps the real message is that Apple design their products for good church going people who would rather vote Democrat than see anything with a little adult content. The way I see it, is that there are a LOT more "adult" users who would rather have the choice of content, even if they wouldn't consume it themselves. This means that Apple are seemingly intentionally cutting themselves off from that spending power.

    We complain rightly about government treating us like children, making our decisions for us with little right of reply, yet it seems if you stick a flashy interface on it and apply some PR brainwashing it's all good and dandy.

    For the Apple fanbois, feel free to mod me down for speaking ill of the almighty......the power of Jobs compels thee.
  • by syousef (465911) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:18PM (#27803067) Journal

    Fuck any platform where the vendor must approve content. (In this case that means fuck Apple, which immediately means I get modded up and down until the fanboi zealots are the only ones modding and I end up with a -1).

    We've seen open platforms dwindle in past years. PC gaming is in decline. Most consoles need all manner of hack and mod to run home brew content. Hell even GPS APIs (like TomToms) have been discontinued on newer models. We've gone from a society of tinkerers where the best idea wins to an increasingly IP law based profit model that stiffles innovation.

    Hell I don't even understand why objectionable content needs to be censored like this. For the most part don't buy it if you're offended. For the truely heinous stuff like that shake a baby to death iPhone app that was in the news lately, existing laws should be brought to bear if applicable. ...and you know what? I say this knowing that I fucking can't stand NIN music. As far as I'm concerned the only thing close to being any good they ever did was Closer, and that sold more on novelty and shock factor (and as a shagging song) than anything else.

  • Enough Already (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CSMatt (1175471) on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:20PM (#27803077)

    I am sick and tired of articles like this, where the developing community has surrendered to Apple the rights to veto apps, for pretty much any reason, that they no doubt worked hard on, as well as giving Apple the ability to retroactively change their minds and kill apps on paying customer's phones. Why is is so acceptable for Apple to do this, when it clearly is not acceptable in the PC* world? Why do developers put up with this kind of draconian control by a third party over their own apps?

    I for one can't stand it. To all developers of the iPhone, please stop developing for the iPhone. Hit Apple where it really hurts and develop for Android (not on the Market), the Freerunner, or pretty much any other platform instead, where you don't have to appease some entity that really needs you more than you need it. Don't just make an app that needs jailbreaking, as this still targets the iPhone and consequently still gives Apple more revenue and more power to control developers. If Apple insists on this kind of control, let them get their comeuppance.

    *Note by "PC" I mean microcomputers, not Windows machines.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 02, 2009 @11:25PM (#27803099)
    that's odd. I signed up a few days after 3.0 beta was released (when they would have had a huge influx of sign ups) and got approved the next day. perhaps you should give them a call and see what the hold up is
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:09AM (#27803395)

    This isn't a big deal, and it happens all the time, and every developer tries to use it for marketing leverage.

    Basically, when you submit your app, you have to indicate what inappropriate content it contains. If you don't flag it appropriately, or go way over the top in any of the categories (ex. baby shaker), you get rejected. The content areas you flag automatically 'calculate' the age rating for the app.

    In this case, the dev probably forgot to flag/was too lazy to flag the correct areas, and it got 'rejected' the second time around because a better reviewer noticed.

    If you don't believe me, idle in #iphonedev on Freenode. It's very common, and really not that big of a deal unless you misunderstand the issues.

    The real evil here is the soccer moms that get to run social policy nowadays. Not the companies that have to kowtow to them in fear of negative publicity from the mindless media.

  • by mister_playboy (1474163) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:22AM (#27803455)

    Trent Reznor is the artist with the most tech savvy attitude on the planet, at least as far as popular acts go. He currently has no record label contract and surely will never again have one, he has released music for free (as in beer), and has released music under the CC license, allowing fans to freely share and remix it. He has leaked his own material (the Broken Movie and the Closure DVD) to The Pirate Bay to overcome legal entanglements, because he wanted his music out there for people to hear. Like his music or not or not, you have to give him some credit for breaking out of the mainstream and proving the old record label system of doing things is not a necessity and can be overcome.

    His attitudes resonate with a lot of us here on /. and I wouldn't be surprised if he is a member of this site.

    Apple should reconsider... Trent has probably made the majority of his music on Apple computers, so he is a highly visible user of their products, not just "some musician". They should have embraced the marketing opportunity presented here.

    I hope Trent shuns them for this... Apple's control freak attitude does not match with Trent's embrace of freedom, in both the monetary and the speech sense of the word. I say he is a trailblazer, the first big artist of the post RIAA/copyright dominated world. The first artist of the 21st century and the digital information age.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:49AM (#27803589)

    There was a piece on G4TV [g4tv.com] a while back about a game [persuasivegames.com] parodying airport security policies. While you might think Apple objected to the concept itself, they rejected it instead for "inappropriate sexual content", without telling the developer what specifically they objected to, leaving him rather confused since the game wasn't sexually explicit at all. It turned out, after some months of guessing and resubmission and trying to contact people, that what had offended Apple was the inclusion of items like underwire bras (which are notorious for setting off metal detectors).

  • Re:Enough Already (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 03, 2009 @12:58AM (#27803651)
    Here's the problem: The iPhone is the most attractive, lucrative platform I can find for me as an independent developer. Millions of users with the willingness to shell out cash. The platform itself is limited - meaning most traditional apps won't directly port - and uses Obj-C, which is a nice OO language I know and most others have to learn. The App Store provides an easy means for releasing software with no-fuss protection against illegal copying, which is important to me as both a developer and a customer. (I do wish they'd improve their searching and such, but hopefully with time.)

    What's more, I love my iPhone. Love, love, love it. I started writing for it because it's a really solid, powerful platform for the things I want. I watched the Google demo vid for Android and I wasn't impressed; similar features, but more awkward and uglier. If I'm not a fan of something, there's got to be a compelling business case for me to develop for it. I don't see that with Android at this point in time, though I'm more than willing to have people cite articles comparing its market with the iPhone's.

    The openness of Android is a major failing point as far as attracting me as a developer. Given the choice between a platform that's open to anyone and one that has some hurdles I know pass but others won't, I think I'll take the one with the small hurdles. Why would I want more competitors? I'm trying to make a living here and, frankly, Free Software doesn't mean as much to me as getting paid for my work -- or even as much to me as enjoying the platform I write for. Another problem is the people who are major proponents of Free Software also tend to go with free software or get illegal copies of non-free software. Maybe that's not as applicable to cell phones, but I suspect the spending habits of Android customers are probably not as rewarding as those of iPhone customers.

    Really, though, feel free to point me towards articles comparing the markets for Android or other open platforms' applications in comparison with the iPhone app market. If I saw real opportunity, I'd be willing to go with a platform I don't like as much -- or at least port the code over.
  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Suiggy (1544213) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @01:01AM (#27803673)
    Tagging it as "rated mature" is a little easier for people to digest, while still allowing Apple to reject apps with overly sexual or extremely violent themes. While not perfect, Apple should adopt something similar to the ESRB rating system for games for it's app store.
  • Re:What the hell?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AHuxley (892839) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @01:21AM (#27803759) Homepage Journal
    The only paradox is how Apple will protect its revenue stream.
    If every band or artist can just make a ssl like front end on their 'web page' in the phone, then its pure profit back to them.
    Its like a concert in your pocket, small payment out for software, music as content back. The fans love it as *every* cent goes back to the person they adore. Exclusive content and a degree closer to the band.
    Apple then becomes a packet pusher that can be replaced with any device with a chip.
    A netbook in your pocket.
    A 16:9 lcd, an audio chip, some encryption and networking?
    Very easy to find, then add Linux or some other off the shelf OS.
    The final step is to get the artists to build their own plugin gui.
    Out source that to the fans calling it a 'contest' with great prizes :).
  • by yamiyasha (1119417) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @01:25AM (#27803781)

    First, we're basing this off a vague message from the person whose app was rejected. Assuming it was about the lyrics, there are two likely causes. The first is simply that the person doing the reviewing made a mistake. The second is that it's fallout from the baby shaking app getting released and then having the wrath of the politically correct police come down on them. The problem is that the PC brigade is hyper-vocal and they are good at getting media outlets to carry their stories, thus they're really good at shitting on other people's parades. The people reviewing apps for release almost certainly are now erring on the side rejecting too many apps for content. You can buy The Downward Spiral from iTunes, so it's not as though Apple has a general policy against explicit lyrics. Apple's initial reasons for rejections were generally either "this copies our own software" or "you need to fix this and this and this", which are both terms I find acceptable (even though the first one is undesirable, especially to me as a full-time iPhone developer). With the exception of the app that charged thousands of dollars simply to show a picture, Apple has not been about censoring content (and that was one probably more about the high rate of returns). I think it's going to be a while before Apple comes to a reasonable solution to the baby shaking fallout, although the PC police have definitely tainted the App Store forever.

    Uh, They used this excuse to ban the South Park Studios Application to view clipped content way before NIN and baby shaker

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:02AM (#27804145)

    We've released 14 apps now to the AppStore and I could go on forever about our problems with it. And yes I'll remain anonymous, I fear google indexing and Apple's wrath.

    Problem 1: They rejected our apps that had cartoon drawings of the possible future presidents in it, it was meant to be a silly app, yet was rejected because it "Defamed a public figure". We in no way depicted the potential presidents in any way.

    Problem 2: Two of our apps, after about 1 week after submitting them for approval we received a email which said "It may take longer than expected to review your application". We determined this was because our application wasn't a "high priority" application. I think submitted apps have a process in which they first order them by apps which they think are of more benefit, or higher quality, or from big name publishers, and put them in a "order to review". These two apps took over 5 MONTHS to approve. So much for their one week turnaround. F**kers. One of our apps was time-sensitive, and well, after 5 months it was basically useless.

    Problem 3: When the AppStore first launched, I made the mistake of saying "upload later" and invoking a bug with their Application Loader. Their application loader was too simple and would allow me to upload .apps and say they were uploaded properly, but not show them in the iTunesConnect website. I also got no errors or details about why not. I also was unable to get support from Apple. I went to two Apple Store's, emailed every iTunes and Developer support email I could find, and nothing. Two weeks went buy and we just figured it out, our version string wasn't properly formatted to their standards. They never got back to me on this issue at all. (not to all, do not "Upload later")

    Problem 4: The "What's new" string on their web interface had a bug where you could only type in 64 characters even though the error said (too long, limit it to 4000 characters). Bug reported. Took them 4 weeks to fix this.

    Problem 5: Early on there was NO information for developers. At least for small ones. We had NO information about how many sales, how the whole process worked, anything. If I would have known 1 week after our game was released it did so well, we would have started kicking ass on new games. Instead we have to wait a month+ to get any data.

    There were a lot more things we ran into and Apple has kept updating things. But man... it was a very very rocky process. And very in the dark. I couldn't get support for shit. Every single beta update broke the app we were creating. Then even their updates all broke our app. Very limited backwards compatibility, and many undocumented new/changed features left us with a very bad taste in our mouth. Though they are finally up to date on most of the docs, it just took them 6 months or so to get there.

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

    by tjonnyc999 (1423763) <tjonnyc@@@gmail...com> on Sunday May 03, 2009 @03:19AM (#27804219)

    ...Most fans don't care about where their money goes; have no inclination to design artwork for you;...

    Very true, but keep in mind that although 99% of fans/users/viewers don't contribute a damn thing, it's the 1% "heavy contributors" that create the bulk of user-gen content.
    Nielsen 2006, also common sense. http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.useit.com/alertbox/imbalanced-contributions-pyramid.gif& [google.com]

    For every Slashdot poster, there's 1,000 lurkers.
    For every 1,000 fans who won't lift a finger, there will be 1 who will contribute.

  • analog was special (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jipn4 (1367823) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @05:13AM (#27804621)

    We've gone from a society of tinkerers where the best idea wins to an increasingly IP law based profit model that stiffles innovation.

    Analog was really special that way, and it may not come back: open interfaces defined by physics, plus the ability to plug components together anyway you like.

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

    by greyhueofdoubt (1159527) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @09:59AM (#27805749) Homepage Journal

    Hey, do you like the rolling stones? Ever listened to the words from "sparks will fly" (I know you'd recognize it, it's on the radio all the time)?

    "You'd better grease up
    I'm coming back
    You're going to catch fire
    (....)
    You'd better grease up
    I'm coming back
    You're going to catch fire
    (...)
    When I finally get myself back on you, baby
    I'm gonna step on the gas
    I want to get there really fast
    I want to fuck your sweet ass"

    Never noticed that a popular classic rock song is about anal sex? Pay more attention. Rock and roll is ALWAYS about sex on one level or another.

    Relax. If you want to go after someone, go after Britney or the dozens of singers *explicitly packaged for children* but with songs about lust and fucking. That is, to me, way more screwed up than NIN. How are you supposed to keep that Disney sex shit away from your kids when it is blasting on the media meant for kids? Ask any parent if they know the lyrics to any flo-rida song.

    -b

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

    by carou (88501) on Sunday May 03, 2009 @07:01PM (#27810237) Homepage Journal

    No - Amazon weren't first.

    Don't confuse the recent "everything is DRM-free" move with a much earlier deal with EMI to offer most of their catalogue DRM-free. Albums were sold at the same price as before. That was available well before the Amazon store came online.

    Yes, emusic was earlier, but a few people do occasionally want to buy major-label music...

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