Trent Reznor rages against Apple censorship policy

Written by Ben Hardwidge

May 5, 2009 | 13:28

Tags: #access #content #downward #inch #iphone #nin #nine #objectionable #reject #reznor #spiral #trent

Companies: #apple

The musical guru behind Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor, has publicly hit out at Apple after having a Nine Inch Nails iPhone app rejected by the company. Reznor published Apple’s rejection letter in full on the Nine Inch Nails forum over the weekend, revealing that Apple had spurned the app because it “contained objectionable content.”

Apple claims that the app, called nin: access, violates Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement. This states that "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 judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users."

After investing a lot of time and resources into developing nin: access, the rejection has ignited the wrath of Reznor, who points out that “you can buy The Downward F***ing Spiral on iTunes, but you can't allow an iPhone app that may have a song with a bad word somewhere in it. Geez, what if someone in the forum in our app says F*** or C***? I suppose that also falls into indecent material. Hey Apple, I just got some SPAM about f***ing hot asian teens THROUGH YOUR MAIL PROGRAM. I just saw two guys having explicit anal sex right there in Safari! On my iPhone!”

In its letter to Reznor, Apple says that the objectionable content it’s referring to is "The Downward Spiral" but doesn’t provide any more detail. This, along with the censorship issue, has also irked Reznor. He points out that "The Downward Spiral the album is not available anywhere in the iPhone app. The song The Downward Spiral I believe is in a podcast that can be streamed to the app. Thanks Apple for the clear description of the problem - as in, what do you want us to change to get past your stupid f***ing standards?”

Despite laying into Apple’s censorship policy, Reznor is keen to point out that he still loves the iPhone, which he describes as the “most elegant, modern smartphone at this point in time.” He says that the device is “perfect for what we want to do with the NIN app - except for the ludicrous approval process, and that's what I want to draw attention to.”

“If Apple doesn't get it together," says Reznor, “we will most certainly make it [nin: access] available to the jailbreak community. I didn't invest in this app to see it languish on the sidelines from an idiotic policy while this tour is in full swing.”

This isn’t the first time that Apple’s policies on iPhone apps has caused a stir. In March, the company also rejected an update to the Twitter client Tweetie because its Twitter trend search view displayed “offensive language”. Of course, the offensive language wasn’t in the app, but just on Twitter itself, which brought the future of other iPhone Twitter apps into question too.

Does Apple need to revise its policies on “objectionable content” with regards to iPhone apps, and is Trent Reznor right to castigate the company for this? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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