We have seen quite a few iPhone apps removed or banned from the App Store by Apple for reasons such as copyright issues, duplicating functionality, offering tethering functionality, based on limited utility, content or materials found objectionable, just a ridiculous app etc.
In fact, Apple recently removed a controversial iPhone game called "Baby Shaker" and later issued an apology for approving the iPhone game.
Apple's approval process has come under scrutiny yet again. This time rock band Nine Inch Nails' (NIN) founder Trent Reznor has spoken out against Apple's rejection policies as a service update of their iPhone app NIN: Access was rejected for "objectionable content".
The new version of NIN's iPhone app was a service update to fix
a bug which was crashing the app for international users.
Trent Reznor founder and leader of the band Nine Inch Nails' founder has published the rejection letter from Apple on Nine Inch Nails' forum:
Thank you for submitting nin: access to the App Store. We've reviewed
nin: access and determined that we cannot post this version of your
iPhone application to the App Store at this time because it contains
objectionable content which is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the
iPhone SDK Agreement which states:
"Applications must not contain any 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
The objectionable content referenced in this email is "The Downward
Spiral". Since the app is live on the App store, please make the
necessary changes to the application as soon as possible, and resubmit
your binary to iTunes Connect. Thank you
iPhone Developer Program
He speaks out about Apple's rejection policies (warning: explicit language):
iPhone app. The song "The Downward Spiral" I believe is in a podcast
that can be streamed to the app.
Thanks Apple for the clear description of the problem – as in,
what do you want us to change to get past your stupid fucking
And while we're at it, I'll voice the same issue I had with Wal-Mart
years ago, which is a matter of consistency and hypocrisy. Wal-Mart
went on a rampage years ago insisting all music they carry be censored
of all profanity and "clean" versions be made for them to carry. Bands
(including Nirvana) tripped over themselves editing out words, changing
album art, etc to meet Wal-Mart's standards of decency – because
Wal-Mart sells a lot of records. NIN refused, and you'll notice a
pretty empty NIN section at any Wal-Mart. My reasoning was this: I can
understand if you want the moral posturing of not having any "indecent"
material for sale – but you could literally turn around 180 degrees
from where the NIN record would be and purchase the film "Scarface"
completely uncensored, or buy a copy of Grand Theft Auto where you can
be rewarded for beating up prostitutes. How does that make sense?
You can buy The Downward Fucking Spiral on iTunes, but you can't
allow an iPhone app that may have a song with a bad word somewhere in
it. Geez, what if someone in the forum in our app says FUCK or CUNT? I
suppose that also falls into indecent material. Hey Apple, I just got
some SPAM about fucking hot asian teens THROUGH YOUR MAIL PROGRAM. I
just saw two guys having explicit anal sex right there in Safari! On my
Come on Apple, think your policies through and for fuck's sake get your app approval scenario together.
NIN has removed the song "Downward Spiral" from their servers and resubmitted the iPhone app for approval to ensure that it gets approved to fix the issue that international users are facing.
In my opinion, the reason for rejecting the new version of the iPhone app was quite absurd and again highlights the problems in Apple's approval process.
As always, let us know what you think about the rejection in the comments section below.
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