The developer of GIF Finder, a relatively popular app in the iOS App Store with over 90,000 downloads, had to remove his app from the App Store after Apple rejected an update for it because of copyright issues.
The app was initially launched in 2012 and allows users to find GIFs that are relevant to their conversation or situation and share it with their friends. While Matt Cheetham, the developer, did not update the app on a regular basis, he did release major updates to the app to coincide with every major iOS release.
Matt submitted a quick bugfix release of his app to Apple last week after he realized that the app was crashing on iPads when users tried to share a GIF. A week later to his horror though, Apple binary rejected his app from the iOS App Store on grounds of copyright infringement.
Apple rejected the app update because it contained or featured images images from Disney and other bigger corporations. In its rejection email, Apple has asked Matt to provide evidence that authorizes him to use these images. Simple, right?
The problem, however, here is that Matt is simply using the APIs provided by Imgur and Tumblr in his app to display any images searched by the users of his app. This method is similar to how thousands of other apps work in the App Store, including the official Tumblr app itself.
Matt has been trying to explain this same thing to Apple again and again. To his frustration though, Apple has only been sending him canned responses to his emails asking him to provide the authorization evidence to use such images in his app.
It is quite disappointing to see Apple failing to properly help the developer here. Apple has always proudly boasted about its developer community so it should take necessary steps to help them instead of repeatedly sending them canned responses.
Considering that GIF Finder works in a way that is similar to how thousands of other apps on the iOS App Store work, I fail to see why the company is rejecting the app. Do you think the developer is at fault here? Have you ever been in a similar situation? Let us know your thoughts and experience in the comments.[Via Matt Cheetham]