AAPL Stock: 118.23 ( -0.65 )

Printed from

Apple rejects BitTorrent, Jesus-themed iPhone apps

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.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Granted while I'd looove to be able to remotely control the torrents on my Mac, I can understand why it's not a good option from Apple's point of view.

    As for the Me So Holy app... frankly it doesn't really do much and it is obviously insensitive. Glad Apple doesn't want the app store to be quite as badly littered with these kinda apps... though it's already pretty bad.

  1. doctor9

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Agree w/ Salty

    It's the liability issue probably more than anything that Apple is looking to avoid. If Napster & Pirate Bay can be sued for being portals of piracy, then Apple may see no benefit in allowing such programs. Although not a direct BT client, it doesn't seem to take much for someone to sue Apple & the iPhone these days for anything perceived as unpleasant.

  1. AlenShapiro

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Stretch a little more...

    Stretch just a little more and you get...

    Due to the use of such tools to write malware, Apple will no longer support compilers for this platform.

    Apple needs to use its clout to stand against such stupidity not go with the flow.

  1. ebeyer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Any word..

    Any word about the slingbox app?

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bittorrent != Piracy

    Shame on Apple for gimping the iPhone OS platform by disallowing P2P applications, which actually DO have legitimate uses, particularly in the open source and independent content creator realm. Just because you don't have the money to spend on http hosting of your content doesn't mean you don't have something valuable to add to the platform or to Apple's iPhone customers. It's downright idiotic of them to block apps dealing with an entire protocol simply because a portion of the content on that protocol might be infringing on copyrights. The same thing can be said of the http protocol, and Apple happily supports it. Looks like another case of cranial-rectal inversion over at One Infinite Loop...

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    "let's not needlessly

    pick a fight with the music labels, since they are already uncomfortable with iTunes Music Store standing between them and their customers..."

    ...that's certainly one of the deciding factors.

    We've come a long way from the "Rip. Burn. Play" iPod ads...

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple stops selling Macs

    "this category of computer is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights. We have chosen to no longer sell this type of computing device in our Apple Stores."

  1. jondesu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Transmission Remote

    While I don't think Apple should have rejected Drivetrain, Transmission does have a built-in web client that works fairly well (I've saved it on the home screen, and it works similarly to a built-in app), so you can still get that functionality even if Apple disapproves. I can completely understand on the other app, however, and I hope they would do the same for "Me So Allah" or any other app for any other religion (and I am willing to bet that they would). There's no justifiable reason for that type of thing to get through their approval process, since it's offensive to so many people and entirely needlessly. If someone wishes to release it as a jailbreak app, feel free, but Apple's well within their rights on that one.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I can understand why it's not a good option from Apple's point of view.

    Why? What point of view?

    It's the liability issue probably more than anything that Apple is looking to avoid.

    What liability issue? What in the world could Apple be liable for? Allowing an app to talk to an app that could be used for infringing copyrights? Maybe you didn't notice, but one can use Safari to connect to the internet to download torrents to download illegal content. Yet no browser maker has been sued for such malfeasance, and that seems a lot more infringing. h***, they won't even sue google, who indexes those torrents.

    So I guess if Snow Leopard comes with a Bittorrent firewall that prevents all bittorrent activity, you'll agree with that option too, because, well, Apple has to play it safe.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If Snow Leopard comes

    with a BT firewall, I'll use another one of my Mac computers that isn't running Snow Leopard. No problem for me. I always say, better safe than sorry. As an Apple investor, I don't want any undue controversy that will draw fire to the company. I'm all about choice, and I don't presume to tell a successful company how to run it's business.

    In time, the Drivetrain app may be allowed after it's been thoroughly discussed and reviewed for liability. But as it is I don't see the big loss of such an app. Why isn't a browser-based interface good enough to control Transmission.

    If Apple is making mistakes in the approval process, then chalk it up to inexperience. They're the one's setting the precedent and they've not been in this business even a year. iTunes allows explicit material now, but there must have been some approval problems when they first started.

    This stupidity of complaints about Apple trying to censor everything only points out that most of you complaining don't know c*** about running a corporate business. I see nothing wrong in a company playing it safe. Too damn many activist groups running around pointing fingers and trying to make a fast buck from lawsuits. You try and run your own business thinking that you can get away with doing anything you damn well please and you'll see how long you can stay in business.

    I honestly believe 99% of iPhone users won't even care if the Drivetrain app doesn't make it to the App store. Most of my friends don't even know what BT is.

    My server runs BT torrents 24/7/365 and I don't give a damn that Apple doesn't allow a BT control app on the iPhone. If I'm not bitching about it, why should anyone else need to?

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented