updated 10:40 pm EDT, Thu March 25, 2010
Three similar titles still available on App Store
The German developer Vemedio has voiced frustration with Apple, following the rejection of a radio recording app submitted to the App Store. The software, an iPhone version of the desktop title Snowtape, allows users to record and share audio streams from Internet radio sources.
While it is not surprising that Apple would reject an app that essentially allows users to violate copyrights by sharing MP3 tracks gleaned from Internet radio feeds, the developer has criticized the company for failing to cite specific terms in the iPhone SDK which prohibit such functionality.
Vemedio was allegedly contacted by Steve Rea of iPhone Developer Relations to provide reasons for the rejection. Rea reportedly said Snowtape could not be approved because it permanently stores Internet radio content locally on an iPhone or iPod touch, while the integrated sharing feature is also prohibited.
"Of course I tried to asked him about the paragraph in the iPhone Developer SDK agreement we are violating," said Vemedio developer Martin Hering. "His sole words were, that there are lots of things missing in the SDK agreement and that they can not foresee [every] circumstance that leads to a denial of an app."
Although Hering compares his company's app to several other App Store titles, such as FStream and TuneIn Radio, that allow users to record Internet radio for later playback, Snowtape clearly provides a different level of recording ability. While the approved apps simply record the entire stream, including commercials, Vemedio automatically separates each track, adds ID3v2 tags, and even finds album art.
Vemedio also goes one step further with its sharing functionality, automatically uploading each MP3 to a server and pairing it with a unique URL. Although Vemedio presents this as a way for users to listen to their own recordings on a Mac or PC, the function could presumably allow others to follow the link and download tracks instead of purchasing the content.
"So, is this another sad story about a great app that suffers from an unfair and arbitrary approval process," Hering asks. "I still hope that Apple will come around and really starts a discussion with us about what we can do to get Snowtape approved for sale."