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Apple rejects Pulitzer winner's iPhone app because it 'ridicules public figures'

A Pulitzer Prize can win you a round of applause in a newsroom, but it won't necessarily get your application in Apple's App Store.

Freelance artist Mark Fiore, winner of the 2010 prize for editorial cartooning and the first online-only recipient of a Pulitzer, found that out in December.

app_store_icon.jpg

This story surfaced yesterday, when the Nieman Journalism Lab blog (a product of Harvard University's Nieman Foundation) reported on Fiore's computing rejection in a piece about his critical success. Author Laura McGann wrote that Apple refused to list an iPhone program presenting Fiore's animated cartoons because ... well, they were mean to name-brand people. She quoted an Apple e-mail forwarded by Fiore:

We've reviewed NewsToons and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains content that ridicules public figures.

The message cited Section 3.3.14 of Apple's iPhone Developer Program License Agreement -- although Apple hasn't published it, the Electronic Frontier Foundation recently obtained a copy -- which bans things that "in Apple's reasonable judgment may be found objectionable."

In a phone call Thursday night, Fiore confirmed that account, said he uses Apple's products, pointed out that the iPhone's YouTube program plays Fiore's animated cartoons on his YouTube channel (Apple employees may also know them from the San Francisco Chronicle's site), and called Apple's actions "un-Apple-like" while comparing them to the dystopian vision of its "1984" commercial.

Then Fiore said he'd gotten a call from an Apple employee who hinted that if he re-submitted his app, he might find it would get a more hospitable reception. That wouldn't surprise me; Apple has a history of backing down once its App Store gatekeepers' conduct sees daylight.

An Apple publicist said she would forward a query about this to representatives working on the App Store, but none have replied yet. I'll update the post whenever they do.

This escapade raises an interesting question, one that media critic and tech writer Dan Gillmor has been asking for a while: Now that many news organizations use iPhone applications to publish their work, can Apple evict those programs if it doesn't like their content? What about, say, The Post's own iPhone app, which presents the often-scornful work of such colleagues as Dana Milbank and Tom Toles?

(After one reader raised the same point in comments here, I waved off his concerns. That's not looking like a good call.)

When I asked whether The Post's app could be yanked for featuring "objectionable" content, Washington Post Co. spokeswoman Kris Coratti suggested I first ask Apple for comment. A developer of The Post's app didn't want to speak on the record.

But there may be one way to test that theory. A Post writer could denounce Apple's conduct and then ridicule a public figure -- perhaps one connected to the Cupertino, Calif., company -- in a piece that is then distributed via the Post's iPhone app. Here goes ...

Ridiculing public figures is the birthright of every American citizen, enshrined in the First Amendment. Brave men and women have shed blood to defend that freedom, one we celebrate every time we boo a politician who can't keep an opening-day pitch out of the dirt. Apple once professed to speak for people who "think different" and, presumably, appreciated that right. Now, though, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs apparently thinks it's Apple's job to comfort the comfortable, sparing them the indignity of being mocked in a smartphone application. Since when is that Apple's work? Since when should it be any self-respecting, red-blooded capitalist's job? You have to ask: Why does Steve Jobs hate America?

Okay, Apple: Ball's in your court. Anybody want to wager on the fate of the Post's iPhone app? I'm taking bets in the comments.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  April 16, 2010; 10:58 AM ET
Categories:  Gadgets , Mobile , The business we have chosen  
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Next: AP says write 'website,' not 'Web site'

Comments

Deja vu all over again. Steve Jobs wants to return us back to a highly regulated online experience. Nothing new here. He should call it Apple Online (or AOL).

Posted by: emacee1701 | April 16, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Um, Rob, you really missed the point here: the 1st amendment ONLY applies to action by the government. Apple is free to do as it pleases with its product. There are NO constitutional issues here at all and you should stop framing the issue as such. Apple has no duty to you save for the duties imposed on it by any federal, state, or local laws relating to business. Apple granted to you the right to use its product- not to change it. Unlike say, a pair of shoes you buy that you can then do to them whatever your heart pleases; buying an Apple product only implies right to use- not own.

The only solution is to not buy Apple products.

Posted by: bokun59 | April 16, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

No, the final solution is to fire the teabaggers who are in the App Store.

Posted by: bs2004 | April 16, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

It's Apple's right to use or reject any apps that come to it. Consumers can vote with their dollars whether they approve.

I'm so very tired of the "you hate America" accusation for anything someone disagrees with.

Posted by: sarahabc | April 16, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

The Apple App store is just that, a store. Every store owner decides what to include/exclude in the store. Wal-Mart doesn't sell cigarettes, a legal product. Is it Wal-Mart's job to dictate what people do in the privacy of theirs homes? No, but it is there business to choose which products to sell in their stores. Same with Apple. No one has a constitutional right to have their product in a store. Now if the government pressured Apple, that would be different.

Posted by: jroane | April 16, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who says this behavior is "un-Apple-like" only knows the company from its ads.

Apple as a company, and Steve Jobs as a person, have a long history of screwing over their business partners. It started with the way Jobs lied to Wozniak in the early days of the company. It runs through pretty much every hardware and software partner over the years (remember the PowerPC?). If the pattern ever changes, then that's what will be truly "un-Apple-like."

Posted by: just_semantics | April 16, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

So you think Apple should have 2 different sets of rules?

One for people that have won "awards"... and their apps get immediately approved (even if they CLEARLY break the agreement that the developer signed)...
...and then...
another set of rules for me and everyone else to follow.

Fair?

Posted by: alice12 | April 16, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

> have a long history of screwing over
> their business partners

Did they do that during the first *BILLION* apps downloaded... or the second *BILLION*?

Currently 3 billion downloads... and counting.

That "awful company" and "awful man" must be doing something right.

Posted by: alice12 | April 16, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

the Iphone , like any other smart phone is a media news distribution device. It is connected to the public network and happens to allow independent developers to create applications for it. This also includes various news outlets and other media sources. This alone makes the Iphone different than walmart or any other commercial entity. Some of you seem unable to compute that Apple is engaging in political censorship. This goes beyond limiting an APP because it infringes on something APPLE is doing. They are in fact forcing their political opinions on IPhone users and giving them no other options.

Thing is... had lets say the DROID come out first... the Iphone would be the one playing catchup. Apple got lucky and they have obviously let things like the Ipod and Iphone go straight to their heads.

Posted by: robc0704 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I think some readers have missed the point of what Rob is saying in this piece. I don't think he is arguing that Apple is somehow being unconstitutional. Rather, I think he's trying to say that you cannot be claim to be an iconoclast, market yourself as an iconoclast and claim to be the arbiter of iconoclasts while embracing iconography. You can't legitimately be anti-Big Brother while BEING Big Brother. Yes, Apple is a private enterprise and can conduct its internal business as fairly or unfairly it sees fit within the bounds of the law. It just has to pay the PR price for doing so when it seems hypocritical.

Posted by: Richmond_JDL | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Apple will cave. Like an ISP, once you start censoring based on content, you have to censor all content consistently or else you get a legal headache.

Posted by: jimward21 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

alice12: arguing success and connecting that to what is "right" is insane. Hitler had quite a few followers. Was he right?

Posted by: netsurf12 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@jroane Walmart does sell cigarettes... and booze and guns.

Posted by: nehmoe | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Apple and China have a lot more in common than just the fact that they both make phones that look and work very much like the iPhone.

Posted by: BurgundyNGold | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"Since when should it be any self-respecting, red-blooded capitalist's job? "

Since there's money to be made in the process?

Posted by: dubya1938 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Washington Post is protected, since they are a vital part of the globalist overlords' (Bilderberg Group) perception management operation.

I smell a strong case building for anti-trust action based upon this and, well, their monopoly-approaching ways.

With demagouger climate hoaxer/fear Master Al Gore on the board they've lost sight of reality.

Why do the Chinese make their products again?

Posted by: artsy | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I'd rather have Apple control over the App Store than have to worry about antivirus programs and so forth on my iPhone. Apple is not the government. It is not bound by the First Amendment. If you do not like it, do not buy an iPhone; do not develop for it.

Yes, I own an iPhone, I bought it in December after three years of Blackberries. I do not know how I did without it. The "censorship" does not worry me at all, too busy playing Words with Friends ("wehwalt" if you want to challenge me, I'm pretty good

By the way, if the WP has an "8" next to the App Store icon on its iPhone, you better download some updates.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

If you owned a store (yes, the iTunes is a store)... would you like to be forced to sell items... that you didn't want to sell?

If you wanted to sell religious items... should you be forced to sell porn instead?

If you didn't want to sell illegal, copyrighted items... should you be forced to?
(You'll be responsible for the copyright violations.)

If you didn't want to sell items that ridiculed public figures, or spread hatred... should you be forced to sell them anyway?

If you wanted to sell shoes... should you be forced to sell hats also?

And who should decide what your store sells? You? Or Me?

Let me decide for you. I'll tell you what to sell.

Posted by: alice12 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

My darling , precious Apple,

I have loved you so much and for so long, does this mean that I will no longer want to kiss your virtual feet and nibble your virtual ears? Is my adoration and admiration for you doomed to wither and die? Are you no longer the Apple I have known and loved all these years. Please, please , tell me that I am wrong. You are and have always been so much more than "just a store."
Has love flown? Do you no longer think different? Come back to me, my heart and let me live again.

Posted by: m_richert | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

The Apple App store is just that, a store. Every store owner decides what to include/exclude in the store. Wal-Mart doesn't sell cigarettes, a legal product. Is it Wal-Mart's job to dictate what people do in the privacy of theirs homes? No, but it is there business to choose which products to sell in their stores. Same with Apple. No one has a constitutional right to have their product in a store. Now if the government pressured Apple, that would be different.
Wonder where you live? The Walmart I go to in Virginia most certainly sells cigarettes!
Just sayin'...

Posted by: jrtfan | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

So all of the girlie pic apps are OK but not cartoons lampooning public figures (who are generally fair game for lampoons for anyone who wishes to pitch in)

Sounds like someone with a personal dislike for Mr. Fiore's brand of humor...

Posted by: wildfyre99 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I'd rather have Apple control over the App Store than have to worry about antivirus programs and so forth on my iPhone. Apple is not the government. It is not bound by the First Amendment. If you do not like it, do not buy an iPhone; do not develop for it.

Yes, I own an iPhone, I bought it in December after three years of Blackberries. I do not know how I did without it. The "censorship" does not worry me at all, too busy playing Words with Friends ("wehwalt" if you want to challenge me, I'm pretty good

By the way, if the WP has an "8" next to the App Store icon on its iPhone, you better download some updates.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"Wal-Mart doesn't sell cigarettes, a legal product. Is it Wal-Mart's job to dictate what people do in the privacy of theirs homes?"

Really? Did someone mention this to Walmart? Because they seem to be unaware of this policy. The lengths that some people go to defend Apple is ridiculous. It is just as monopolistic and money grubbing as Microsoft but it just has a cooler image.

Posted by: altib | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Of all the things the iPhone supports, wouldn't it be nice if Apple would come out with an update to support a few more things; such as freedom of expression?

Posted by: IQ4U | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Of all the things the iPhone supports, wouldn't it be nice if Apple would come out with an update to support a few more things; such as freedom of expression?

Posted by: IQ4U | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I'd rather have Apple control over the App Store than have to worry about antivirus programs and so forth on my iPhone. Apple is not the government. It is not bound by the First Amendment. If you do not like it, do not buy an iPhone; do not develop for it.

Yes, I own an iPhone, I bought it in December after three years of Blackberries. I do not know how I did without it. The "censorship" does not worry me at all, too busy playing Words with Friends ("wehwalt" if you want to challenge me, I'm pretty good).

Posted by: Nemo24601 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't think you can read the blog post as suggesting that Apple's policy violates the First Amendment. What Rob said was that it seemed that Apple appreciated our rights under the First Amendment, but the policy is inconsistent with that. And, despite being a huge Apple fanboy, I agree. If newspapers and other "publishers" have to denature the content that's going into their apps in order to satisfy Apple, I'm going to access the content via another medium, and I hope Apple suffers the market consequences.

To the extent that the policy has any rational basis, it must be that Apple is concerned about liability as a publisher of content. The way to avoid that liability is to promote the App Store as a marketplace of ideas, where Apple provides the forum but doesn't necessarily endorse the content, and places only a few restrictions on content (obscenity, pornography, etc.) appropriate to the venue. Ironically, by exercising more control over the type of content that appears in the App Store, Apple opens itself up to liability if/when, inevitably, something truly objectionable and actionable appears. Bad move all the way around.

Posted by: 0073 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Of all the things the iPhone supports, wouldn't it be nice if Apple would come out with an update to support a few more things; such as freedom of expression?

Posted by: IQ4U | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I'd rather have Apple control over the App Store than have to worry about antivirus programs and so forth on my iPhone. Apple is not the government. It is not bound by the First Amendment. If you do not like it, do not buy an iPhone; do not develop for it.

Yes, I own an iPhone, I bought it in December after three years of Blackberries. I do not know how I did without it. The "censorship" does not worry me at all, too busy playing Words with Friends ("wehwalt" if you want to challenge me, I'm pretty good

By the way, if the WP has an "8" next to the App Store icon on its iPhone, you better download some updates.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

This will get approved shortly. Someone made a kneejerk decision, and it will be overturned. That Pulitzer won't hurt.

Posted by: krazykat23 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

If you owned a store (yes, the iTunes is a store)... would you like to be forced to sell items... that you didn't want to sell?

If you wanted to sell religious items... should you be forced to sell porn instead?

If you didn't want to sell illegal, copyrighted items... should you be forced to?
(You'll be responsible for the copyright violations.)

If you didn't want to sell items that ridiculed public figures, or spread hatred... should you be forced to sell them anyway?

If you wanted to sell shoes... should you be forced to sell hats also?

And who should decide what your store sells? You? Or Me?

Let me decide for you. I'll tell you what to sell.

Posted by: alice12 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

This will get approved shortly. Someone made a kneejerk decision, and it will be overturned. That Pulitzer won't hurt.

Posted by: krazykat23 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

If you owned a store (yes, the iTunes is a store)... would you like to be forced to sell items... that you didn't want to sell?

If you wanted to sell religious items... should you be forced to sell porn instead?

If you didn't want to sell illegal, copyrighted items... should you be forced to?

If you didn't want to sell items that ridiculed public figures, or spread hatred... should you be forced to sell them anyway?

And who should decide what your store sells? You? Or Me?

Posted by: alice12 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@alice12
Apple is not an awful company. They make same great products and are very innovative.

On the other hand, they have a long, well-documented history of screwing over people who partner with them.

Many people who get involved with the AppStore are not aware of this. They think Apple is just like the iPod ads.

Posted by: just_semantics | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

If you owned a store (yes, the iTunes is a store)... would you like to be forced to sell items... that you didn't want to sell?

If you wanted to sell religious items... should you be forced to sell porn instead?

If you didn't want to sell illegal, copyrighted items... should you be forced to?
(You'll be responsible for the copyright violations.)

If you didn't want to sell items that ridiculed public figures, or spread hatred... should you be forced to sell them anyway?

If you wanted to sell shoes... should you be forced to sell hats also?

And who should decide what your store sells? You? Or Me?

Let me decide for you. I'll tell you what to sell.

Posted by: alice12 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"Wal-Mart doesn't sell cigarettes, a legal product. Is it Wal-Mart's job to dictate what people do in the privacy of theirs homes?"

Really? Did someone mention this to Walmart? Because they seem to be unaware of this policy. The lengths that some people go to defend Apple is ridiculous. It is just as monopolistic and money grubbing as Microsoft but it just has a cooler image.

Posted by: altib | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't think you can read the blog post as suggesting that Apple's policy violates the First Amendment. What Rob said was that it seemed that Apple appreciated our rights under the First Amendment, but the policy is inconsistent with that. And, despite being a huge Apple fanboy, I agree. If newspapers and other "publishers" have to denature the content that's going into their apps in order to satisfy Apple, I'm going to access the content via another medium, and I hope Apple suffers the market consequences.

To the extent that the policy has any rational basis, it must be that Apple is concerned about liability as a publisher of content. The way to avoid that liability is to promote the App Store as a marketplace of ideas, where Apple provides the forum but doesn't necessarily endorse the content, and places only a few restrictions on content (obscenity, pornography, etc.) appropriate to the venue. Ironically, by exercising more control over the type of content that appears in the App Store, Apple opens itself up to liability if/when, inevitably, something truly objectionable and actionable appears. Bad move all the way around.

Posted by: 0073 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Frankly, I'd rather have Apple control over the App Store than have to worry about antivirus programs and so forth on my iPhone. Apple is not the government. It is not bound by the First Amendment. If you do not like it, do not buy an iPhone; do not develop for it.

Yes, I own an iPhone, I bought it in December after three years of Blackberries. I do not know how I did without it. The "censorship" does not worry me at all, too busy playing Words with Friends ("wehwalt" if you want to challenge me, I'm pretty good

By the way, if the WP has an "8" next to the App Store icon on its iPhone, you better download some updates.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"Wal-Mart doesn't sell cigarettes, a legal product. Is it Wal-Mart's job to dictate what people do in the privacy of theirs homes?"

Really? Did someone mention this to Walmart? Because they seem to be unaware of this policy. The lengths that some people go to defend Apple is ridiculous. It is just as monopolistic and money grubbing as Microsoft but it just has a cooler image.

Posted by: altib | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"Wal-Mart doesn't sell cigarettes, a legal product. Is it Wal-Mart's job to dictate what people do in the privacy of theirs homes?"

Really? Did someone mention this to Walmart? Because they seem to be unaware of this policy. The lengths that some people go to defend Apple is ridiculous. It is just as monopolistic and money grubbing as Microsoft but it just has a cooler image.

Posted by: altib | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@alice12
Apple is not an awful company. They make same great products and are very innovative.

On the other hand, they have a long, well-documented history of screwing over people who partner with them.

Many people who get involved with the AppStore are not aware of this. They think Apple is just like the iPod ads.

Posted by: just_semantics | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why they don't do what ZuneHD does. Sell the "approved" apps in their store, but let people make homebrew apps for free download. You don't even need to jailbreak the ZuneHD to load them on there. Not that the ZuneHD doesn't have its own set of problems...

Posted by: dkp01 | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

This is the reason Apple will always be a second rate company. I would also suspect he's working on tons for Jobs and the rest of the n1twits at Apple. Oh and just an FYI their products suck....

Posted by: askgees | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

This will get approved shortly. Someone made a kneejerk decision, and it will be overturned. That Pulitzer won't hurt.

Posted by: krazykat23 | April 16, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Apple is just protecting its business. If it supports political content that some customers might find offensive, it risks losing those customers. If it permits some political messages and not others, it risks being accused of taking sides, and might even in some way become liable for the content it permits. Maybe the solution is to offer a standardized publishing app (if it doesn't already) that anyone could use to publish anything they want. It would no more be responsible for content than a paper manufacturer would be responsible for what an author writes in a book.

Posted by: suzi01 | April 16, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I have noticed that Apple is "political" in its placing of
advertising. That is certainly its right if that is transparent. I have always been a fan of Apple. I have never had anything but an Apple,but my next purchase will be with an "open mind" and
not blind loyalty, because I believe in a separation of business and
politics in advertising. On a personal level a Corporation can
support whomever they want , but to punish free speech through
the withholding of advertising steps into an area beyond " free capitalism". Only a company that is SO wealthy is doesn't need my business can afford to do that.

Posted by: cdoyleok | April 16, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

I have noticed that Apple is "political" in its placing of
advertising. That is certainly its right if that is transparent. I have always been a fan of Apple. I have never had anything but an Apple,but my next purchase will be with an "open mind" and
not blind loyalty, because I believe in a separation of business and
politics in advertising. On a personal level a Corporation can
support whomever they want , but to punish free speech through
the withholding of advertising steps into an area beyond " free capitalism". Only a company that is SO wealthy is doesn't need my business can afford to do that.

Posted by: cdoyleok | April 16, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Apple is just protecting its business. If it supports political content that some customers might find offensive, it risks losing those customers. If it permits some political messages and not others, it risks being accused of taking sides, and might even in some way become liable for the content it permits. Maybe the solution is to offer a standardized publishing app (if it doesn't already) that anyone could use to publish anything they want. It would no more be responsible for content than a paper manufacturer would be responsible for what an author writes in a book.

Posted by: suzi01 | April 16, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I have noticed that Apple is "political" in its placing of
advertising. That is certainly its right if that is transparent. I have always been a fan of Apple. I have never had anything but an Apple,but my next purchase will be with an "open mind" and
not blind loyalty, because I believe in a separation of business and
politics in advertising. On a personal level a Corporation can
support whomever they want , but to punish free speech through
the withholding of advertising steps into an area beyond " free capitalism". Only a company that is SO wealthy is doesn't need my business can afford to do that.

Posted by: cdoyleok | April 16, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@alice12
Apple is not an awful company. They make same great products and are very innovative.

On the other hand, they have a long, well-documented history of screwing over people who partner with them.

Many people who get involved with the AppStore are not aware of this. They think Apple is just like the iPod ads.

Posted by: just_semantics | April 16, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Apple is a private company that can do as it pleases. That said, Apple is not going to go against the masses and if people object, Apple will listen. They have done this in the past.

With regard to the App store, there has been a lot of pressure from consumers to keep the apps tasteful and stable. Using these two tenants, Apple has to balance their approach. I would like to see Apple let Apps through that some may find objectionable, with a warning system of some sort. That would ensure that people know they are purchasing something that they may find objectionable.

Posted by: Stats | April 16, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what's up with the duplicated (or quadruplicated) comments... I can go through and delete all but the newest or oldest incidence of each if it bothers everybody.

- RP

Posted by: Rob Pegoraro | April 16, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I really have a hard time trying to figure out, who cares what Apple regulates? It's their product, their store, if you don't like it, then go Droid. It is interesting, in a sort of tabloid journalism sense, but is it news? And you should ask yourself, if this bothers you, why? Life, get one.

Posted by: eeprof79 | April 16, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

There are some legitment first amendment issues regarding Apples rejection of content.

1. People are correct that the First Amendment protections of free speech applies to government action, not the action of private companies.
2. Freedom of Speech only exists if people are able to "hear" what speech is being said.
3. Apple is not a creator of content they are a distributor of content. If you don't agree with the views of the Washington Post or its writers, you can choose not to read the Washington Post whether you decide not to purchase its paper or go to its website.
4. In Apples case it is not allowing you view the content in the first place because it is not allowing you to "see" the content so you can make a decision if you want to view that content or not.
5. There is a valid argument to be made that not all newstands have to sell newspaper they don't agree with. However, there are many different "news stands" you can go to. In the case of Apple they are creating a medium that extends on a global level. Essentially they are making the decision for people what they can and cannot see.

I know from both the comments and people who are Apple lovers that their loyalty to the product is deep. And, yes I would love to own an IPad in many ways. But what does concern me is that Apple wants to control the content that is allowed.

In reality the internet on a PC is much more democratic than an Apple IPhone or IPad. This is ironic given the fact that the "1984 Ad" was trying to say that we will not have another 1984 because we have Apple rather than the evil PC.

Posted by: smith6 | April 16, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

oh yeah - and there is no 1st amendment issue here unless you have a different version, there is no restriction of free speech. that's just crazy talk.

Posted by: eeprof79 | April 16, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Voted:

Returned my iPad yesterday for a variety of reasons. Ate the restock fee.

Posted by: ey22314 | April 16, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

By the way, anyone ever read Fahrenheit 911? The point of the book is that book are banned and there is a government agency created to destroy books. The reason for this government agency isn't that the "government" did this, but that people decided they didn't want to read things they disagreed with so the government oblliged and got rid of "objectionable material".

Isn't this what Apple is doing?

Posted by: smith6 | April 16, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

This is exactly why the Android platform (Google's baby) is growing as quickly as it is. There's no approval process; developers simply agree to a code of conduct with terms and conditions for their apps and Google has a back-door kill switch by which they can yank an app from every Android phone in the universe. The iPhone App Store boasts (depending on who you believe) between an estimated 150,000 and 180,000 apps, while the Android Market is chugging along at around 30,000.

So the Post could write an Android app to run on slick devices like the Nexus One, the Droid or the myTouch 3G, without such inane objections. Developers are, alone, responsible for the content of their apps - as it should be.

How about it, Rob? Know any Java?

Posted by: wpreader2007 | April 16, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

bring it on down to Androidville

Posted by: TheBoreaucrat | April 16, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to decide which is more obnoxious, Apple's anti-free computing censorship (with proprietary chip/software lock downs), or Fiore's lock-step, PC, hate-mongering, far-left propaganda.

The two really deserve each other.

Just like I am sure that the 99% of Apple groupies are also brain-dead Obama supporters who think that anyone concerned about the government spending trillions of dollars we don't have, in the name of compassion, must be a right-wing fanatic.

To heck with the future, let's just run up all the credit cards right now, so we can have everything we want, right now!

Our grand children can pay all the bills.

(To heck with them anyway.)

Posted by: Parker1227 | April 16, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@sarahabc must hate America too.

Posted by: etrojan | April 16, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

This has nothing to do with Apple censoring their apps / stores, but with censoring them based on your company. Which is what the author is doing. According to Apple the washingtons post application should be banned cause it just delivered content to the user that put down another public figure, the same as the comic strip. Will apple remove this app? Nope.

Same thing happened with their smutt clean up. They banned clothing store apps cause they showed maniquiens in bikinis, but playboy and maximum got to keep their apps.

That is the danger area for Apple and the legal one at that. You can't say here is the rules, but we bend them for some people and not others.

Be like Walmart saying we don't sell DVDs, unless they are produced by Sony. The problem becomes anti-competition laws, which Apple is dancing all over, and will most likely burn them in the long run.

In general it won't really matter, though cause once slate, MS tablet, chrome, etc all release, and MS Mobile hits, and android continues it's push, developers will have less incentive to work with apple, and will slowly leave / migrate away from it. In the end Apple will be once again bottom rung of the food chain. Unless they keep developing new products, etc but in that department, Google, Adobe, and Microsoft have been preparing for the next generation of web / tv / interactivity, and apple has not they have been focused too much on living off iphone / ipad, without looking to far in the future, jobs probably wants to milk the market, retire and hand apple over to some moron that brings the company down. lol

I don't dislike apple, just see what other systems are preparing for and apple is no where close to being ready for what is coming.

Posted by: mtcoder | April 16, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if anyone noticed the humor in the post? The problem with Apple is that it is what it originally said it wasn't at one point in history. You would think with the market that enjoys its products that it would be a little more open to its own market adding apps.

Posted by: jdapathy | April 16, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"buying an Apple product only implies right to use- not own"

That is one of the most sad and scary attitudes I have seen since 1984.

my money then myTunes and myPod

Posted by: aeverett13 | April 16, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

This is why Apple sucks. Forget about the technical application of the First Amendment; that's really not the point. The point is Apple portrays this image of itself that is completely at odds with how it actually behaves. The "1984" analogy is right on the money.

Posted by: simpleton1 | April 16, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I think the solution would be to have an "official" App store, but also create a separate space for homebrew/unofficial apps. I don't really see why Apple doesn't do something like that.

Posted by: dkp01 | April 16, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Rob's point, which many seem to be ignoring, is NOT that Apple is constitutionally prevented from "choosing what to sell in its store."

Rather, he is observing that Apple seems to be creating a walled garden that could ultimately make it harder for millions of people to access controversial viewpoints -- and by tending to make those viewpoints invisible, could eventually negatively impact society as a whole.

What happens if the Apple platform gets really huge, and they refuse Apps from the liberal netroots or the right-wing tea parties based on the same grounds they used against Fiore? Does it become harder for holders of minority opinions to reach each other and organize? What are the implications to society when Apple makes those decisions? The implications to you, personally?

This had been a serious concern in the early days of the Internet, when services like AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy appeared to be headed for dominance, and it is a concern in the "Net Neutrality" debate as well.

Apple can set its ground rules. But we all need to notice the potential impact of what they are doing, and voluntarily choose or avoid their products with this in mind.

Put another way, Apple may indeed have the right to transform its part of the "free market of ideas" into a Disneyfied gated community/shopping mall. But you should be aware that when you buy an iPad or iPhone, that's what you may be moving into -- elegantly designed and wonderfully usable though it may be...

Posted by: bcamarda2 | April 16, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Jobs says that Apple want to maintain quality and security, hence the need for a closed, proprietary business model.

How interesting that when Apple went to OSX, they took what is an essentially Open Source system in BSD, re-branded it, and sold it as a commercial, proprietary OS.

Open Source software will eventually make Apple's business model obsolete.

Posted by: angelos_peter | April 16, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

And, while I'm thinking of it, why the hell would you want to buy an iPad to download books when Amazon has a free Kindle for Mac app?

Apple should change its brand name to

iToys

Posted by: angelos_peter | April 16, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Today, on school computers, if a children is using a different computer that has the most current update of Safari, they will see Apple's splash page emphasizing "Top Sites".
On of those "Top Sites" is Youtube, which currently highlighting the new movie "Kick (butts)"

Posted by: edlharris | April 16, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

As a long-time loyal Apple user, I suppose that I once bought into the 'Think Different' mantra that Apple's PR machine likes to tout. Apple is really good at being the underdog and, if you fancy yourself a nonconformist of any kind, they make you feel good for using their products.

Sadly, it seems as though Apple really wasn't prepared for the level of success that iPhone has brought to them. Their response has been a bit heavy-handed towards developers and extremely paternalistic towards their users.

One can only hope that the attitudes displayed lately by Apple are simply indicative of growing pains and that they will learn to steer their ship without totally alienating their core users. If they can't, then eventually someone will step in to fill the void. Maybe Apple doesn't care.. maybe they do.. only time will tell. As it's been said by others, Apple is a private company and, as such, is free to pursue profits any way they choose.

Posted by: jmp3 | April 16, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Washington Post is protected, since they are a vital part of the globalist overlords' (Bilderberg Group) perception management operation.

I smell a strong case building for anti-trust action based upon this and, well, their monopoly-approaching ways.

With demagouger climate hoaxer/fear Master Al Gore on the board they've lost sight of reality.

Why do the Chinese make their products again?

Posted by: artsy | April 16, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

How do you spell HTML?

Posted by: bigdood | April 16, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Not good enough, Rob ...

... if your goal is to test Apple's censors.

Apple isn't offended by words as easily as something more visual (think: "No Flash for you").

If you really want to titillate Apple's thought police, you need to make a more visual statement, like Mark Fiore.

Might I suggest a picture of you holding a pair of apples up at about chest height, captioned by the phrase: "How about them apples?"

That might work ...

Posted by: declineToState | April 16, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

My darling,sweetest love of my life,
Please tell me that you are the good and fine entity I have always known. Let me keep the privilege and honor of kissing your virtual feet and nibbling you virtual ear lobes. O, heart of my heart, my worshipped and adored, please tell me that you are still the personification of all that is good and fine about that right we clutch to our bosoms above all others, the right to speak freely about those thing we treasure above all else regardless of the dark clouds whirling above us and the loud voices attempting to silence us.

Posted by: m_richert | April 16, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

So has the foxnews app stopped working or been de-listed yet?

Posted by: docwhocuts | April 16, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I almost bought an iPad. After reading this article, I think I'll wait for the PC knockoff.

Posted by: JimZ1 | April 16, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Android would accept it.

Posted by: tomtildrum | April 16, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

This is nothing new and no surprise to me. Steve has always had a Stalinist streak-- it's the dark side of the "simplicity" espoused by Apple-- it's simple because it's tightly controlled from above. Do as Steve commands, or else...

Funny how that 1984 Apple ad looks like from today's perspective.

Posted by: alarico | April 16, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: WarriorJames1 | April 16, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

There is no news here, technology or otherwise.

Posted by: mOnsterbite | April 16, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Yet another reason not to buy that control freak's overpriced gadgets.

Posted by: alientech | April 16, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I think the following says it all: End of debate:

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

Posted by: Raydoggy | April 16, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

To the WP's credit, at least they published my criticism of their hypocracy.

Posted by: Raydoggy | April 16, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Apple isn't morally superior to Microsoft. It's technically and aesthetically superior.

Posted by: stanimano | April 16, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Why Jobs' behavior?

1)Unchecked childhood megalomania.

2)Need to continue corporate profitability in difficult economy compromises stated principles.

Doesn't hate America.

Posted by: featheredge99 | April 17, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

This post is ridiculous and silly. Apple OWNS their platform. It isn't a violation of free speech to prevent publication of content you disagree with on YOUR platform. If it were, every news organization in America would be anti-American and violating my rights to free speech. How many letters to the editor have I sent the Washington Post that they in turn did not publish? THE WASHINGTON POST HATES FREEDOM!!!

This author is an idiot.

Posted by: apissedant | April 17, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Read this at the end of all the comments, especially the second paragraph.

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

Posted by: Raydoggy | April 17, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Rob, please delete the duplicate comments. They ARE annoying. When I have accidentally resubmitted a comment in the past, I have received a warning message that it had been disallowed.

Evidently some commenters failed to appreciate the tongue-in-cheek nature of your "rant".

I half-heartedly agree that there is not a First Amendment issue here, but it is well established case law that "public figures" do not enjoy the same degree of protection as private citizens. One cannot tell outright lies about them with malicious intent, but as far as being "ridiculed", that is fair game, as any viewer of a late-night talk show monologue will attest. Although even the strict interpretation of libel law apparently does not prevent some in the public media from telling or writing demonstrable untruths about our president (he was born in Kenya, he is a Muslim, etc.) with what can pretty much by definition only be defined as malicious intent ("knowing it was false or with reckless disregard to its truth", New York Times v Sullivan, 1964).

Posted by: 54Stratocaster | April 17, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, you too are getting older, let the Old Man be. We all go thru stages, he may be closer to his last one than you are and this may, and more than likely does, affect your perspective, the framework you use to convert words into "your reality".
Have you read Saul Bellows "Mr. Sammler's Planet", won Pulitzer and Nobel -1970. Might do you some good.

Posted by: MikeSar | April 19, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I urge people to go and find the Apple 1984 commercial that first introduced the Mac as a fight against Big Brother and imagine that instead of breaking the screen the hammer just bounces off and up rises the Apple Logo. Now they don't care about being different. Unless you're not like them in which case they will convert you so that you will let them think for you.

Posted by: masschine | April 20, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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