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Apple Bans Sale of Comic Book On All iOS Apps Over Gay Sex Images - Update 299

Posted by Soulskill
from the past-lessons-remain-unlearned dept.
New submitter RicardoGCE writes "Apple has banned all iOS apps from carrying Saga #12, a comic book created by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, and published by Image Comics. The reason for the ban is the depiction of oral sex appearing on the computer monitor that serves as the head of one of the characters. The content has been deemed pornographic, and sale of the comic has been blocked. Comixology will allow users to sync their purchases, however, so users of their app will be able to read the book on their i-devices. They just won't be able to buy it through the iOS version of the app." Vaughan himself points out the sexual representation in this issue ("two postage stamp-sized images") are not as graphic or as prominent as other situations from past issues. The difference is that this depiction is of a homosexual encounter rather than a heterosexual one. Image Comics took the high road, saying they regret the decision, but that it's "Apple’s decision and it would be inappropriate for us to tell another company how to run its business."
Update: 04/10 18:36 GMT by S : As it turns out, reports of Apple censorship were wrong. Comixology posted today on their blog that they were the ones who decided to remove the issue of Saga from the app. They did so because they were trying to follow Apple's content guidelines. The issue will be available via their app soon.
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Apple Bans Sale of Comic Book On All iOS Apps Over Gay Sex Images - Update

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  • by DumbparameciuM (772788) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @10:09PM (#43408411)

    So the appropriate response to being censored now is to roll over? No fight whatsoever?

  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @10:19PM (#43408473)

    Only governments can sensor. Sure you can do e.g. dmca takedowns, but it is up to the government to enforce that at gunpoint.

    You can refuse to pay the lawyers, and you can refuse to go to court, but if you refuse to go to jail for contempt of court the police will drag you there at gunpoint.

    I'm no fan of apple by any stretch, but the app store is their property, and their private domain that they are free to remove you from if they don't like you. If you don't like it, go to a more open platform like android.

  • by Progman3K (515744) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @10:23PM (#43408489)

    We live in an age where big corporations can legislate morality

    Are we "thinking different" enough yet?

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @10:27PM (#43408505)

    Only governments can sensor.

    Anyone can censor, but only government censorship is typically limited by legal "free speech" provisions like those of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

    Private censorship -- especially by a player with substantial market power -- can have similar effects and raise similar ethical issues to government censorship, even if it isn't addressed by the same legal provisions.

  • Re:Wait a sec (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sesshomaru (173381) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @10:35PM (#43408559) Journal

    Any sufficiently large corporation is indistinguishable from a government.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @10:44PM (#43408615) Journal

    I have never been tempted to buy a ticket into Apple's "walled garden". It's not that it's overtly bad,

    Right, it's not that it's overtly bad, it's just that the system is set up in a way that someday, it's inevitable will cause you pain. Just like monarchies can be great in the beginning when the king is benign and an excellent administrator (hey, the trains run on time!) Eventually someone else will come into power, and you don't want to be involved in a system like that. Best to avoid it when it's easiest, from the beginning.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @10:46PM (#43408625) Journal
    It's not actually about gay rights, the author is trying to make it seem like being about gay rights in order to get more attention. If Apple were actually anti-gay, why did the donate so much money to stop proposition 8? It's more likely Apple just never noticed it until that time.
  • Re:Sarcasm? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ikaruga (2725453) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @10:46PM (#43408637)

    I hate to defend Apple, but you got to admit, it's Apple's own turf, directly or indirectly we're talking about their servers. Even if you try to get the comic through a 3rd party app, the app must be downloaded through their servers. Is it an asshole thing to do? Since they don't let applications to be installed from outside the Appstore, I say yes. Who to blame? Their beloved costumers, as they are the ones funding this system.

    Apple is not telling them how to run their business. Image Comics still can create sell their content anywhere else they want, if allowed(try selling gay porn at a church bookstore). And Apple can't do nothing about it.

  • by AlphaWolf_HK (692722) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @10:49PM (#43408657)

    Since when does any private entity have the power to shut you up at gunpoint or cuff you and put you in jail?

    Apple isn't doing that, they're just saying "not in my app store"

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @10:58PM (#43408701)

    Since when does any private entity have the power to shut you up at gunpoint

    Since whenever they are holding a gun pointed at you. Or are you arguing against the 2nd Amendment as well?

  • by dcollins (135727) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @11:04PM (#43408733) Homepage

    "Only governments can sensor."

    For god's sake, you don't even know how to SPELL "censor". I mean, look it up in a dictionary; it's not restricted to governments.
    - True statement: "The First Amendment only applies to the government."
    - False statement: "Censorship is something only government can do."

    Privately-owned broadcast television companies and publishing houses have in-house staff who function as censors.
    http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2010/07/how-to-get-back-at-network-censor.html

  • Re:Sarcasm? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AK Marc (707885) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @11:10PM (#43408771)
    I think they could win a lawsuit against Apple. Apple blocked direct sales through the app, but still sells it themselves. They are abusing their "monopoly" in the market to block access through a 3rd party while allowing it through theirs. If it's so objectionable it must be removed from the marketplace, why did they remove it from everywhere in the market place they don't own, but still allow it on the marketplace the one place Apple does own?
  • by quantaman (517394) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @11:17PM (#43408813)

    I'd be curious to see the examples they were talking about. I'd say in general that male genitalia are the most pornographic body part of either gender, and that images involving men are generally considered more pornographic than those involving women, ie two women is less pornographic than a mixed pair, which is less pornographic than two guys. Basically I'm saying it's not clear that it's discrimination at work so much as different standards as to what constitutes pornography.

  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @11:39PM (#43408913)

    Since when does any private entity have the power to shut you up at gunpoint or cuff you and put you in jail?

    I never said they did. In fact, the fact that they generally don't is why, whereas (as I stated in GP) private censorship, particularly by a party with substantial market power, can raise some similar ethical issues to government censorship (specifically, in allowing one party to control the ideas that can effectively be communicated), they don't raise an identical spectrum of issues to government censorship.

    Apple isn't doing that, they're just saying "not in my app store"

    Which is, exactly, private censorship.

  • by TheLink (130905) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @11:46PM (#43408943) Journal
    If you're on their private land they can certainly escort you out with armed guards. So imagine if one day there isn't much decent public land left- e.g. all the idiot libertarians got rid of all that pesky Big Government and the Corporations took over and you're just renting your homes from them.

    To all those who grumble about Big Government. Get a clue, it's quality not quantity that matters. Don't be surprised things don't get better if you all keep trying to fix the wrong thing.

    All those nice "amendments" and laws like FOIA do not apply to Corporations. So if you replace Big Ugly Government with Big Ugly Corp, you'd be more screwed.

    The likes of Apple aren't going to hold elections every few years to let the riff-raff vote for different bosses or even put up with the inconvenience of merely pretending to do so.
  • by interval1066 (668936) on Tuesday April 09, 2013 @11:47PM (#43408947) Homepage Journal
    bingo.
  • by stenvar (2789879) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @12:14AM (#43409033)

    Exactly, if it was a depiction of heterosexual sex, Apple would have behaved the same way.

    RTFA. Apple let plenty of heterosexual sex pass.

    Apparently, the influence of the reality distortion field still hasn't worn off.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @12:15AM (#43409041)
    Or, what often happens is that people don't complain until it's "gay", then Apple responds to the first complaint of "porn". The timing is based on readership, not Apple, in most cases.
  • by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @12:20AM (#43409061)
    So, if you are confronted with 20 armed people taking away your "rights" they are only taking them away if they are government, and if they are private, the it isn't a violation of your rights. No, I still don't agree with you.
  • by stenvar (2789879) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @12:21AM (#43409067)

    Is gay porn somehow different and worthy of new nerd rage?

    No, but what is worthy of nerd rage is when a company discriminates and prohibits depictions of gay activities when it allows depictions of straight activities. And the "rage" is not so much over the discrimination itself, but over Apple's hypocrisy and pretense of being a liberal and modern organization.

  • by skine (1524819) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @12:26AM (#43409085)

    To play devil's advocate, perhaps Apple simply didn't get any complaints until the issue involving gay sex, or that they had gotten a complaint from a previous episode but hadn't gotten around to shutting it down until it coincided with the one with gay sex.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @01:19AM (#43409281)

    Hint from a libertarian: Big Corp exists because of Big Government.

    Hint from someone who doesn't have his head rammed up his butt: No, it doesn't.

  • by TheLink (130905) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @03:30AM (#43409855) Journal

    Even if that is true (which it's not- there's nothing stopping a corporation from growing larger if it has enough resources) Big Corps would still continue existing after you get rid of Big Government. They're not going to magically vanish just because one country goes up in smoke.

    And if you had any sense you'd realize it's far easier for a big corporation to bully a small government or work with a corrupt small government. They would be very happy to take over or use the government as its army. There would be very little that a small government can do to stop it if no big government/organization with a larger military steps in to help.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_East_India_Company [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_India_Company#Military_expansion [wikipedia.org]

    The Dutch East India Company (VOC) was also arguably the first megacorporation, possessing quasi-governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts,[4] negotiate treaties, coin money, and establish colonies.[5]

    Think it can't happen today? http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/2-shells-oil-africas-blood/ [projectcensored.org]

    The only thing stopping them from doing worse stuff are big governments with bigger "guns".

    If Mr Sociopath Billionaire CEO didn't have to worry about pesky big governments cramping his style what do you think he'd do? Behave better?

  • by Big Hairy Ian (1155547) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @04:18AM (#43410039)
    So what we're basically saying is that Apple the company that essentially takes it's name and logo from the suicide method of a famous homosexual http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Turing [wikipedia.org] although Apple deny this. What we're saying is that they are homophobes?
  • by flyneye (84093) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @07:21AM (#43410657) Homepage

    Apple is a company that decided their business structure and standards, long damn ago.
    If you haven't clued in from the very beginning, with 1 mouse button and no console, they think you are TOO DAMN STUPID to make choices for yourself.
    This has been reflected in their products, software and hardware from day one. So, no surprises here.

    Since they assign themselves guardianship over their faithful devotees( the stupid of the world, by their vision) Apple wouldn't want that image to fall into the hand of some kid who might get the idea " hey , maybe I can talk Billy into putting mine in his mouth, that would feel neater than whackin' it myself" and then decide arbitrarily that it must mean he is gay and summarily embrace the lifestyle ,erroneously. Nope, Apple is there to protect everyone from themselves, just like a Repubmocrat in Federal office. They know better than YOU, after all. Which is why they have such a huge following. There is a demographic of people out there, that don't like to think for themselves in real life, are willing to let others authoritate their will, and be parented in a strange Freudian sense, by others. ( This may also explain the last century of Repubmocrat tyranny, as well)

    So what is all the surprise and silly noises about? This is not outside the historical scope of Apple.

  • by bsane (148894) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @08:34AM (#43411033)

    Apple the notoriously gay unfriendly company has an anti-gay agenda?!

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