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Oh, Think of the Children
By Vincent Chang - on 23 Feb 2010, 3:34pm

Another day, another headline about Apple removing apps from its App Store that does not fit with the company's arbitary and vague policies. It seems that Apple is getting uncomfortable with the level of smut available on its App Store and Big Apple has cracked its whip again.

Once again, the complaints from developers are not so much about the bans, as the opaque process that regards one app as poison while another app with similar content is deemed fine. In this case, apps from more well-known names like Playboy, FHM and Sports Illustrated, have escaped the bans while numerous smaller developers had their entire offerings removed.

Obviously, such a move can be a death blow for some of these smaller developers but hey, it's like gambling in a casino. As long as there's money to be made, there will be developers willing to submit to Apple's whims. Cross your fingers and pray hard before submitting a new app.

The other approach is not to regulate actively, but to respond to valid complaints and then take down the offending app. That seems to be the basis for the safe harbor defence for websites that allow posting of third-party content. As long as the host is reasonably prompt in abiding by takedown notices, it's a valid approach that used by YouTube for example.

As the App Store continues to grow, one has to wonder how much effort Apple is willing to exert to keep it 'pruned' of undesirable content. And the brickbats that will be thrown at the company from disgruntled developers and commentators like yours truly. 


Vincent Chang

Vincent Chang / Former Senior Tech Writer

Vincent has written enough about tech to know that he doesn't know enough about tech. But that's not keeping him from going jargon-heavy about processors and mobos. After all, "you can't stop the signal".