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Censorship Iphone The Media Apple Politics

Apple Blocks Cartoonist From App Store 664

ink writes "Here is another troubling anecdote on the iWeb front: 'This week cartoonist Mark Fiore made Internet and journalism history as the first online-only journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize. Fiore took home the editorial cartooning prize for animations he created for SFGate, the website for the San Francisco Chronicle... But there's just one problem. In December, Apple rejected his iPhone app, NewsToons, because, as Apple put it, his satire "ridicules public figures," a violation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement, which bars any apps whose content in "Apple's reasonable judgement may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory."' Whether or not you agree with Fiore's political sentiments, I believe we can all agree that the censorship of his work should be denigrated."
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Apple Blocks Cartoonist From App Store

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  • by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:07PM (#31863642)

    Yes, Apple has a locked down system that rejects apps for arbitrary reasons.

    This is a known fact, can we stop pretending its "stuff that matters?"

    • by xbeefsupreme ( 1690182 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:15PM (#31863766)
      It really does matter: saying that apple can reject any app they want may not mean much to the general public, but a specific example like this really puts it into perspective and gets potential iphone buyers/developers thinking "If they block an app in this circumstance, then apple can block apps for any circumstance".
      • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:27PM (#31863958) Journal

        Indeed it does put it in perspective. Apple is run by a bunch of cowardly, vile morons.

      • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:17PM (#31864682)

        I don't think it matters to 99.999% of people

        Here's why:

        They buy an iPhone or an iPod Touch or an iPad for what they can see it can do.

        The do NOT buy it for what they can see it *might* be able to do.

        Only engineers and visionaries will buy something for the second reason. Consider that most cars which run on hydrogen are conversions of ordinary petroleum vehicles which were bought specifically to make them do something that they ordinarily would not have been able to do. Someone converting a Ford Escort to run on Hydrogen, though, is highly unlikely to encourage someone to buy a Ford Escort in the hope that conversion kits will be available "at some point in the future". It's even more likely that someone bought a Ford Escort 4 years before the first person converting it to run on Hydrogen in order to have one on hand when conversions kits became available on the off chance that someone would think of converting one to do that four years in the future.

        Likewise, the person buying the iPad is not going to do so on the basis of anticipating some killer app that hasn't been thought of by the person who will eventually implement it only have their idea rejected by the app store. We're never going to see a lot of people who fall into the category of: "Oh crap! I bought this thing 4 years ago because I knew someday someone would write this program, and now they have, but I have no way to buy it!".

        Yeah, it may piss you off on general principles, but all you're ding is trying to get everyone else to adopt your general principles by compplaining, you're not the white knight errant saving the world from censorship, so get over it.

        -- Terry

    • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:19PM (#31863834) Homepage Journal

      Yes, Apple has a locked down system that rejects apps for arbitrary reasons.

      This is a known fact, can we stop pretending its "stuff that matters?"

      We're trying to find the pattern in the reasoning, if you don't mind.

      I think they show it to a judgmental old lady and reject what she objects to. The reason for long approval times? Naps.

    • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:25PM (#31863928)

      Yes, Apple has a locked down system that rejects apps for arbitrary reasons.
      This is a known fact, can we stop pretending its "stuff that matters?"

      And accept defeat? I'll keep pointing it out to people until Apple changes the system or kills it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by couchslug ( 175151 )

        "I'll keep pointing it out to people until Apple changes the system or kills it."

        I'll keep pointing out that if people want Open-ness and Free-dom they should starve the beast(s) and not buy from EITHER Apple or Microsoft.

    • by ThatsNotFunny ( 775189 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:29PM (#31863980)
      I think you mean "News Alert"... Flash is not supported.
    • by PsychoSlashDot ( 207849 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:29PM (#31863990)

      We need to keep bringing up this stupid behaviour. We need to talk about it, think about it, and most importantly share this idiotic stories with those we know who don't read Slashdot.

      Why? Because this isn't okay. Like copyright extensions to infinity and like DMCA issues, Joe Average simply doesn't know what bad stuff is going on. The only way to cause change is by votes. Those votes might be at a ballot box, or at a cash register.

      You and I know what's going on. Each of these stories is a new bit of ammunition to us. Or would you rather we just accept corruption, bias, and philosophically repugnant behaviour so we don't need to hear about it anymore?

      • by Tanman ( 90298 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @06:02PM (#31865196)

        buuuuut this is not like DMCA or copyright extensions to infinity.

        This is a private company, not the government. Also, this is a closed box -- think of the app store as a way for people to make nintendo games. Are you upset at the standards nintendo enforces on people making games for its platform? Then why get your panties in a bunch about the standards apple enforces on people making applications for its console?

        In other words, get over it and find something useful to do with your protests. If you don't like how they do it, make a competing product.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by windex82 ( 696915 )

      Maybe because it does matter to a big part of this sites readership. Many people who read this site are developers, many write iPhone apps. Knowing that if they make something too politically charged will cause it to be rejected wasting the developers time.

      Do you see why it might count as stuff that matters now?

  • by Pinhedd ( 1661735 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:09PM (#31863670)
    I honestly cannot understand how apple's monopolistic behavior hasn't attracted the same attention that Microsoft's did
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:10PM (#31863698)

      Because Apple has neither a monopoly on desktop computers nor on smart phones? And thus can not be guilty of "monopolistic" behavior?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Itninja ( 937614 )
      Because nothing that MS has made in the last decade gave the fanboi's hard-ons like Mac products. Go back in time 20 years and IBM was in the role of MS and MS was in the role currently held by Apple. Apple is well on their way to being the Borg.....
      • by HarrySquatter ( 1698416 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:17PM (#31863812)

        Except unlike IBM or MS, Apple has never held a monopoly on anything. Its funny how people on Slashdot will both be quick to point out how the iPhone's market share is smaller than other smartphones yet at the same time will try to also claim that Apple is a monopoly. You can't have it both ways.

        • by FuckingNickName ( 1362625 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:28PM (#31863966) Journal

          Apple displays monopolistic, i.e. anti-competitive, behaviour. Who cares whether they're a monopoly? unless your aim is to punish success (i.e. Microsoft) out of spite rather than to stop activity which is damaging to the marketplace.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            I think they are at the very most damaging their own marketplace, the rest of the computing industry will chug along either copying them or ignoring them. If you compare their behaviour to Microsoft's history you'll see what it really means to be anti-competative. Apple are nowhere near that level for which you're trying to name them as.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            No. Apple displays competitive behaviour. 'Comptition' is pretty cut-throat and there is never any love lost between competitiors. Such behaviour only becomes 'anti-competitive' (i.e. contrary to the Sherman Act or similar) when you have a monopoly. For example, a new startup wants to get their product out there so they give away free samples; fine if you are a startup with no market power, but not if you are a monopoly who is thereby foreclosing competition.

            Apple also displays control-freak behaviour. Bein

        • Apple has a 99.4% marketshare in smartphone applications. Sounds like a monopoly to me.

    • by bennomatic ( 691188 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:17PM (#31863814) Homepage
      The difference between Apple and Microsoft in these actions is like the difference between an old man shouting to get off their lawn and a protection racket.

      Unless you choose to play on the old man's lawn, he doesn't affect you. He's a jerk, but he's avoidable, much like Apple is.

      Microsoft is more like the protection racket; either strong vigilante action (for which Linux is emblematic) or law enforcement are the only way to stand up to those guys.
      • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:46PM (#31864220)
        No, its more like the old man invites you onto his lawn and then has you arrested for trespassing.
  • Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spleen_blender ( 949762 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:10PM (#31863678)
    Make an android app instead.
  • by Stele ( 9443 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:11PM (#31863702) Homepage

    I wrote an app called Sort [], which is a simple sorting "game" with various topics (sort the letters of various alphabets, sort states alphabetically, sort President years, etc).

    We had one topic called "Madoff Victims" where you were to sort the 10 highest losers of money due to Bernie Madoff's schemes, in order of loss.

    I don't remember the exact wording, but Apple rejected our app because they didn't like us implying bad things about him, even though exploits are well known. We removed that topic and the app was accepted.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wsanders ( 114993 )

      And I can still load iPhone apps that consist of nothing more than audio clips of farts.

      Go figure.

  • Reason #238... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:11PM (#31863708) Homepage
    ...not to get an iPhone.
  • This is why... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:15PM (#31863772) Homepage Journal

    ... I don't own a Mac, iPhone, iPod, or any other iStuff. Apple does produce some really great technology. But I just can't deal with the whole Apple technology ecosystem. The company, its developers, and its users buy into a really obnoxious kind of groupthink, typified by those weird lovefests where the audience goes orgasmic every time Steve demonstrates something. Can you imagine any other place where they'd even consider a rule against "ridiculing public figures"? Gives a certain irony to that stupid commercial [].

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Amouth ( 879122 )

      the worst part about that commercial is there are far too many people who have zero idea what it was trying to say.. they would just wonder why the hooters girl was carrying a sledge hammer

  • by dusanv ( 256645 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:16PM (#31863792)

    Chairmans Mao and Stalin would be proud.

  • Dollars to Donuts... (Score:4, Informative)

    by gyrogeerloose ( 849181 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:22PM (#31863886) Journal

    ...that this decision gets reversed before very long. Wouldn't be the first time something like that happened with Apple.

  • Inconsistent (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ThatsNotFunny ( 775189 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:23PM (#31863906)
    The App store has a MSNBC app for political cartoons. How is that any different?
    • Re:Inconsistent (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @08:01PM (#31866440)

      The App store has a MSNBC app for political cartoons. How is that any different?

      MSNBC have money. Apple like money.

      I predicted the corporate dominance over the Apple App store some time ago (2008, when the Iphone was released in Australia), small developers are being pushed out in favour of larger developers which deliver Apple more profit and are easier to control. From my perspective the App store was designed for this from the word go.

  • *sigh* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:25PM (#31863936)

    "Whether or not you agree with Fiore's political sentiments, I believe we can all agree that the censorship of his work should be denigrated."

    The righteous never think that what they say is propaganda.

  • Oblig. (Score:3, Funny)

    by masmullin ( 1479239 ) <> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:31PM (#31864006)

    Agent Smith: But, as you well know, appearances [like a nice UI] can be deceiving, which brings me back to the reason why we're here [on the iPhone]. We're not here because we're free. We're here because we are not free.

  • by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <atd7@cor[ ] ['nel' in gap]> on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:34PM (#31864048) Homepage

    ... from their "1984 ad" that announced the Macintosh.

    They've gone from releasing the system advertised as "challenging Big Brother" to becoming very much like Big Brother's Thought Police...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      ... from their "1984 ad" that announced the Macintosh.

      Hey, 1984 wasn't like 1984, the moon did not blow up in 1999, pod bay doors opened just fine in 2001, and Jupiter shows no sign of exploding into a new sun in 2010. They have delivered in their promise of not accomplishing any sci-fi prophecy, you gotta give them that. Even their phones don't look like the ones from star trek.

  • Redundant (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:36PM (#31864080)

    Apple fanboys will do what Apple says, regardless of what anyone thinks. And those of us who aren't in Apple's lap really aren't affect by this. So long story short - who cares? Apple is performing the sacred duty of separating fools from their money.

  • by MagikSlinger ( 259969 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @04:52PM (#31864306) Homepage Journal
    For those Apple fans out there who wonder why we hate the idea of Apple becoming the de facto standard for portable computing, this is why. Apple can do what they want with their store (for example, if I owned an app store, I'd like to refuse to sell content I object to), but I would like the freedom to buy an app from someone else.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:15PM (#31864636) Homepage

    Read iCon [] the bio of Jobs that Jobs hated so much that he banned all Wiley books from Apple stores.

    iCon is available for the Kindle. Some Kindle books are available for the iPad. "iCon" does not appear to be one of them.

  • The real reason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by starfishsystems ( 834319 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @05:15PM (#31864652) Homepage
    The real reason that Apple is censoring applications by Mark Fiore is that he led the way in doing animated cartoons in Flash.

    Regardless of whether you agree with his views (and I think it's entirely possible for you to make your own choice whether to install an app whose function is to deliver political satire) his work is widely regarded as technically innovative and artistically stylish. And the Apple principals can't stand to be seen in conflict with anyone more innovative and stylish than they are.

    So rather than have him outclass them at the party, they'll just escort him out of the house, so to speak. There you go Apple, problem solved!
  • Ipad newspapers? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drolli ( 522659 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @06:23PM (#31865484) Journal

    how does this work if a newspaper has an app for the ipad? Do they have to censor the politcal cartoons?

  • by Requiem18th ( 742389 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @06:55PM (#31865840)

    Whether or not you agree with Fiore's political sentiments, I believe we can all agree that the censorship of his work should be denigrated.

    No, Apple denigrated themselves long ago, and Steve's fans continuously denigrate themselves by supporting his behavior with their wallet.

    We saw this coming from miles away when we first learned Apple would be policing what people run with their phone, why are people surprised now? A megalomaniac does fascist things with his company? I am shocked!

  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Thursday April 15, 2010 @08:15PM (#31866558)

    While there are going to be exceptions, (ie, geeks excited about trying new technological solutions), most iPad/Pod/Phone users I've met typify AOL customers of old.

    With one significant added dimension. . .

    There's a weird Christian-ness about them which is hard to put my finger on. Clean-shaven, pleasant-but-fake facade which feels cultish. They make my stomach squelch nervously when I'm around one of them. -Which either means I'm the anti-Christ, or something deep in my DNA is reacting with fight/flight chemistry to the smiling pod people.


The more cordial the buyer's secretary, the greater the odds that the competition already has the order.