Apple has rejected an update to a Nine Inch Nails iPhone application because of objectionable content, and it brings up questions about the company's vetting process for its App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
There weren't issues with the application itself, but with the content it enabled users to access. Specifically, the app lets users stream the song "The Downward Spiral," which contains multiple profanities.
"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 judgment may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users," reads section 3.3.12 of the iPhone software development kit agreement.
Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor was not happy with the rejection, particularly because Apple already sells the song in question in its digital music store. Additionally, he said Apple was unclear on how developers could change the app to be approved.
"How does that make sense? You can buy 'The Downward ****ing Spiral' on iTunes, but you can't allow an iPhone app that may have a song with a bad word somewhere in it," Reznor wrote in the Nine Inch Nails forums.
With more than 1 billion downloads in less than a year, the App Store has been an unprecedented hit. Despite this success, there has been growing concern over Apple's vetting process for apps, which is seen as much stricter than rivals like Google's Android Market. Some developers say the approval process is not consistent, as a South Park application was denied but a baby-shaking application was briefly allowed to be sold.
Apple issued an apology for the baby-shaking app and said it was a mistake that has been removed. The company also said it approves about 96% of the programs submitted for the App Store.
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