App Store Rejection of the Week: Mark Fiore’s NewsToons

Laura McGann:

This week cartoonist Mark Fiore made Internet and journalism history as the first online-only journalist to win a Pulitzer Prize. Fiore took home the editorial cartooning prize for animations he created for SFGate, the website for the San Francisco Chronicle. […]

But there’s just one problem. In December, Apple rejected his iPhone app, NewsToons, because, as Apple put it, his satire “ridicules public figures,” a violation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement, which bars any apps whose content in “Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory.”

This is preposterous, pure and simple, along the lines of last year’s fiasco with the Ninjawords dictionary app being forced to excise cuss words.

Fiore has not resubmitted his app, saying he’d heard about the experiences of others cartoonists and wasn’t in a position to get into a fight with Apple. Still, he has a hunch Apple will eventually change its mind on him, as it has with other cartoon apps. “They seem so much more innovative and smarter than that,” he told me.

I think he should have resubmitted immediately, and hoped for a different reviewer. But he should definitely resubmit now, given the amount of attention this rejection is drawing. I realize this was an app, not an e-book, but Apple can’t credibly run a book store while holding any sort of policy that bans political satire.

Update: Ruben Bolling (author of the wonderful Tom the Dancing Bug) reports on Twitter that Apple has asked Fiore to re-submit his app.

Friday, 16 April 2010