updated 03:20 pm EDT, Mon May 11, 2009
Dubious app rejections
Apple has made a controversial rejection of two more iPhone apps, say parties involved. The first is Maza Digital's Drivetrain, a remote control program for the Transmission BitTorrent client. Initially met with an Apple message that the app would demand "unexpected additional time for review," Maza later received a notice saying that "this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store."
Maza has expressed anger at the decision, calling it "ridiculous." The company notes that, despite its frequent association with piracy, neither the BitTorrent protocol nor any supporting clients for it are illegal. Drivetrain is in fact further detached from any possible piracy, only being able to stop, start and delete torrents on a Mac. Apple appears to be rejecting all BitTorrent apps wholesale, without any thought to their actual use, Maza alleges.
Apple has meanwhile rejected Lil' Shark's Me So Holy, a simpler app which lets people substitute a photo for the face of Jesus. The software was banned under Section 3.3.12 of the iPhone developer agreement, which blocks "obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users." Such rules are not normally used to address perceived blasphemy.
The approval process at Apple is often seen as arbitrary, most recently because of Nine Inch Nails' NIN Access 1.0.3, which was initially rejected because of song lyrics in a podcast but later approved without any changes. Parental controls in iPhone 3.0 may allow formerly "offensive" apps to reach the App Store.