• Germany's news in English

Publishers fear Apple iPhone app censorship

AFP · 25 Feb 2010, 11:04

Published: 25 Feb 2010 11:04 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"Apple has tightened the rules" at its online App Store, which sells applications for the iPhone and for its soon-to-be released iPad tablet computer, and bans some without justification, the VDZ federation said this week.

Bild, the best-selling German newspaper, portrays naked women daily on its

front page but has been forced to put a bikini on the pin-up in its iPhone application that has already reportedly sold 100,000 copies.

A "Shake the Bild Girl" application allowed iPhone users to undress the model by shaking their phones.

An application for the magazine Stern was censured in January because it presented risque photos, a VDZ spokesman said.

Axel Springer, which publishes Bild, "must be worried by the latest developments," VDZ said in a statement. "Today it is bare breasts, tomorrow is

might be something else.

"We consider Apple's behaviour to be unfair, arbitrary, bad for business and dangerous for freedom of the press."

Apple's position underscores "the need for editors to develop their own electronic distribution platform, independent of Apple and Google" to retain control over applications, the federation said.

It called on the US group to "respond to the accusations and to present clear rules" on what it will accept.

Story continues below…

US media said Monday that Apple had begun to remove risque applications from the App Store, which the US company declined to comment.

Apple is also blamed for inconsistency in deciding which applications can be used by iPhones, since it allows the US magazine Playboy to offer some erotic content.

A report in the Wall Street Journal said stricter standards applied by Apple appeared to be an effort to clean up the App Store before the first iPads are shipped next month.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

13:42 February 25, 2010 by Frenemy
...and the Moral Majority wannabes strike again!

(Lukaschenko is probably on Apple's board of directors, hehe!)

13:53 February 25, 2010 by Fredfeldman
If german publishers have a problem with Apple why don't they open up their own application store? Good for Apple, at least there is someplace kids can be protected from all the crap thats out there.
14:58 February 25, 2010 by dcgi
@Fredfeldman: I don't think you understand the point, Apple are being unbelievably fascist in their approach to the app store and here's why... People spend a lot of time writing applications and have to wait until some reviewer at Apple Inc reviews and decides whether its allowed on, you can't syndicate your application, have it downloaded anywhere else otherwise Bild, Google and others would just offer it as a download on their site.. The approval process is long and beaucratic and complicated, some people write an app and then have to wait more than a month before they're told whether it makes the grade or not, it's a ridiculous process.

Developers have been left gobsmacked as to why Apple doesn't for adult content simply put in parental controls into the phone and rates the app, then it would just be a problem of having a rating that isn't always something you agree with (e.g., girl in a bikini on the app requires you to have 18+ parental control rating). The app store then if you're a 14 year old with the app store wouldn't show you any adult content at all, a pretty simple move but Apple are yet to say why they're not going this route, instead they just want to plough on and cull 5000+ hard worked on apps.

Google also are suffering at Apple's hands, currently wanting to have their Google voice app approved on the iPhone. Apple won't allow it to be approved because it competes with their product!! If that's not an illegal anti-competitive practice I don't know what is.

The iPhone deserves to bomb badly because of all of this whole mess.
16:17 February 25, 2010 by ovbg
It's even crazier than it sounds. These simple, barely risqué apps that have been banned from Apple, have been done so because Apple received a couple of complaints. They also say that it is in order to protect children.

Well, let me get this straight. When I get an app from the iPhone app store, it needs to know my credit card even if the app is free. This means there is automatic age protection as the credit card information has this feature.

On the other hand, the iPhone is a complete and full browser for the internet. So, although Apple won't allow a photo of a topless woman in it's age restricted app store, anyone, and I mean absolutely anyone, can browse the internet on that very same iPhone and view the hardest core porn known to humanity.

This procedure doesn't block porn on the iPhone, it just stops the age-aware downloading of an app and yet any website can still be viewed.

There is absolutely no logic behind it. It's a bit like banning the sale of the Bild in a brothel.

Of course, as long as your company has a well known brand name like Playboy, and is true blooded American like Playboy, you can still have your app anyway.

None of this bothers me anyway. Apple have to address far more important issues like allowing multitasking for third party apps and Flash. But that will hardly happen soon.
16:32 February 25, 2010 by freechoice
i mean how difficult is it to write an iPhone app that flips the pictures of women in different stage of undress?
07:58 February 26, 2010 by ColoSlim
This NOT censorship. It is simply aligning its product in a positive light. iPod, iPhone, and soon the iPad have been the profit kings for Apple. One can still read Der Bild anywhere they like, just not on the iPhone. Apple's decisions "force" developers to stay on the conservative side, because they want to have their product accepted and I think it is a GOOD business decision.
10:03 February 26, 2010 by MJTinNOLA
I think that maybe some of you do not understand the idea of free speech, at least from a legal point of view. Freedom of speech is a concept given or denied by the state to its citizens and concerns political and other forms of speech. Apple is not a state, and therefore cannot deny freedom of speech. They can do business with who they like. It is wrong to assume Apple MUST do business with certain people and companies as an issue of freedom of speech. They can do what they want and there is nothing that can be done about it. If Bild is so concerned, they should sue Apple. Of course, they would lose the moment they step into court, so all they can do is complain. Oh well.
08:15 February 27, 2010 by ColoSlim
Right on New Orleans!
Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd