A book reading app for the iPhone was continually rejected by Apple, and its creator, James Montgomerie, couldn’t understand why. It was innocuous enough, letting users download and read books from Project Gutenberg, a site that hosts books that are out of copyright.
He finally received his answer. The app, called Eucalyptus, was turned down because one of Project Gutenberg’s books is the famous sex manual, the Kama Sutra, translated by explorer and scholar Sir Richard Burton in 1883.
Apple informed Montgomerie that allowing access to a book that "contains inappropriate sexual content" violated app rules.
Somewhat ironically, the Kama Sutra is available through other apps, and can also be found through the handset’s browser. Oops.
Montgomerie – who used to be a software developer for Apple – told the Guardian:
"I’m frustrated that they would want to censor that, especially because there are so many other ways of getting the same content. I wouldn’t call it a mistake, because it was quite deliberate obviously, but I think it was just a misinterpretation of what should happen."
"I’d never even thought about searching for it before. You have to type either "kama’ or ‘sutra’ before it appears. It doesn’t seem likely that they were searching for something else and yet it seems absurd that they were searching for that."
"I would like to think that someone, somewhere at Apple would realize just how flawed the whole approval process is, and do something to change it. It does seem like it could be a lot better without having to spend too much extra money on it. They could make the whole thing a lot more pleasant."
This comes very shortly after Apple was forced to do a U-turn after rejecting an app from Nine Inch Nails, then finally accepting it.
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