Pulitzer winning cartoonist gets app rejection from Apple

History was made recently when Mark Fiore, an online-only journalist, was given the Pulitzer prize. It was the first time an online-only journalist and cartoonist was given the Pulitzer, and it was considered huge success for the world of online journalism in general.  

Apple, however, doesn't care if you have a Pulitzer.

Fiore, who runs a syndication company to distribute his award-winning political cartoons and flash animations to websites, wants to take the next step into the mobile arena. "I think the iPads and anything iPod to iPhone — to maybe a product not made by Apple — will be good or could be good for distributing this kind of thing."

Apple, apparently, doesn't get the joke. According to the Niemann Journalism Lab at Harvard University, Apple responded to his app submission with an email citing section 3.3.14 of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement, which says:

“Applications may be rejected if they contain content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, sounds, etc.) that in Apple’s reasonable judgement may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory.”

This clause, which in the case of editorial cartoonists, basically restricts them from making fun of people on the iPhone, has caused a few other cartoonists some trouble as well. Fiore doesn't plan on revising and resubmitting his app, because he doesn't want to start a fight with Apple. He did express his disappointment with the company, saying “They seem so much more innovative and smarter than that.”

Image Courtesy of Niemann Journalism Lab

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How does this get rejected yet they approve a £7.99 non-official Pokémon Red & Blue soundboard consucted via "Paint" that infringes copyright rules?

This is madness, no, this is Apple.

What about iFart? the app that made millions for the retarded but business wise person who created it?
They dont like cartoons now? Satire is just that guys... the cartoonist has liberty to joke at anything...

“They seem so much more innovative and smarter than that.”

Wow. Take the blinders off, get over it, and develop your app for a platform that will allow it. There are many other devices out there besides those starting with "i", although that is a shocking revelation to those who live under rocks.

And who cares if the guy won a Pulitzer? Does Apple's terms and conditions say that recipients of that prize are exempt from the rules? No, they don't. So in the context of this article and the issue at hand, being a Pulitzer winner has absolutely nothing to do with anything.

I don't want to say that political correctness isn't ever a good thing, but I think it is a bad thing in most cases. What happened to just saying what you have to say, not to manipulate, not to score brownie points, etc?

I say all of that because it just gets old having this crap where God forbid someone says something that rubs another person the wrong way. And I'm not condoning just running your mouth off without thinking. But, does Apple really need to protect us from a cartoon that might be objectionable or defamatory?

Since when is being politically correct or avoiding objections the mandate by which men and women around the world are suppose to live by? As a sovereign, I certainly don't need, want, or respect Apple or any other company or government constantly deciding what they think is in my best interest.

All of that rant aside, I hope Apple is at least being consistent with these types of decisions as far as which apps are accepted and which are rejected.

JayZJay said,
I don't want to say that political correctness isn't ever a good thing, but I think it is a bad thing in most cases. What happened to just saying what you have to say, not to manipulate, not to score brownie points, etc?

I say all of that because it just gets old having this crap where God forbid someone says something that rubs another person the wrong way. And I'm not condoning just running your mouth off without thinking. But, does Apple really need to protect us from a cartoon that might be objectionable or defamatory?

Since when is being politically correct or avoiding objections the mandate by which men and women around the world are suppose to live by? As a sovereign, I certainly don't need, want, or respect Apple or any other company or government constantly deciding what they think is in my best interest.

All of that rant aside, I hope Apple is at least being consistent with these types of decisions as far as which apps are accepted and which are rejected.

well, it's a free world, so Apple is free to regulate its App Store, and you are free to use Android, or jailbreak your iPhone.

I'd say Apple has its rights to think men and women around the world are supposed to be politically correct, that'd be just their opinion, their vision for the future (albeit I doubt it is the case here), and you have your rights to disagree with this opinion/vision of theirs.

And Apple (a company) is different from a government in this case, when you buy a product from them, it generally means you agree to their terms. A person cannot choose in which country he/she is born, but a person can surely choose from which company he/she is buying a product and/or service.

So while a government should not dictate what its people want, a company has all its rights to dictate what it wants its product/service to be, and people have their rights to deny the company's product/service, if enough people deny them, they will go broke.

Things only go bad when the company is a monopoly, in that case the people may not have enough freedom in making a choice. But here we do have Android, we do have Symbian, and we will have Windows Phone 7, so iPhone is hardly a monopoly, not yet at least.

scuzzy19 said,
I'll download it if it shows up on android *hint hint*

What? the platform steve jobs called the porn hub? *gasp*

I think it is a fair trade, Apple is rejecting such kind of application, they are not doing any special treatment for those who are famous or not.

Benjamin Rubenstein said,
/me is sick of Apple and their idiotic ways

They treat customers and developers like dirt but still customers and developers flock to them. iMasochism?

To me the section quoted from the app agreement seems to say that they won't have material which "may be considered obscene, pornographic, or defamatory" which could be seen as more the political nature of the cartoons. I fail to see why the cartoonist thinks it was rejected due to poking fun at iPhone users. I think this is more apple covering their a$$ in case any company / political party starts getting a little snarled up.


defamatory [dɪˈfæmətərɪ -trɪ]
adj
(Law) injurious to someone's name or reputation
defamatorily adv

So it it makes Apple, or its users, look bad...it will be rejected. Hence no one can make fun of Apple and if you do, you will be restricted/limited.

techbeck said,

So it it makes Apple, or its users, look bad...it will be rejected. Hence no one can make fun of Apple and if you do, you will be restricted/limited.


well, if you try to defame a neowin admin or fellow neowin member, you may well get restricted/limited in neowin too.

Really, Apple's App Store is, well, Apple's, so they can restrict/limit whatever they want there. If you don't like it, then don't buy any Apple product and don't try to distribute your works on Apple's App Store, just like if you think neowin is bad, then don't come to neowin, simple as that.

REM2000 said,
I fail to see why the cartoonist thinks it was rejected due to poking fun at iPhone users.

I think you've fallen foul of Neowin's loose use of English. I presume that "This clause... restricts them from making fun of people on the iPhone" really means using the iPhone for making fun of people, not making fun of iPhone owners.

wellofsouls said,

well, if you try to defame a neowin admin or fellow neowin member, you may well get restricted/limited in neowin too.

Really, Apple's App Store is, well, Apple's, so they can restrict/limit whatever they want there. If you don't like it, then don't buy any Apple product and don't try to distribute your works on Apple's App Store, just like if you think neowin is bad, then don't come to neowin, simple as that.

There's a difference...... Neowin is a private company, Apple is a stock held company... Neowin is held to a diffrent set of standards then a publically traded entity

Private/public nature of a business has no bearing. Neowin is a private community where you aren't allowed to discuss how bad Spalding's game of golf is.

neufuse said,

There's a difference...... Neowin is a private company, Apple is a stock held company... Neowin is held to a diffrent set of standards then a publically traded entity

And since Apple is a publicly traded company, its CEO and Board of Directors can be removed. If the shareholders don't like it then they have the power to make a change. But they won't because they see AAPL moving higher and higher despite Apple's "closed" ecosystem and App Store policies. This is yet another non issue. Don't like Apple, their products, or their policies, then don't buy.

So, you cant have an app that may poke satirical fun at someone...
But you can have a song that contains profanities...

njlouch said,
So, you cant have an app that may poke satirical fun at someone...
But you can have a song that contains profanities...

You are not making fun of "someone" You are making fun of Apple and its users. If the song profanities were directed at Apple, they wouldnt be allowed either.

techbeck said,

You are not making fun of "someone" You are making fun of Apple and its users. If the song profanities were directed at Apple, they wouldnt be allowed either.


I could sing a song right now making fun of Apple and its users, then upload it to an iPhone.

Apple doesn't restrict the content of music, but they do restrict the content of apps. Plain and simple.

StarLion said,

I could sing a song right now making fun of Apple and its users, then upload it to an iPhone.

Apple doesn't restrict the content of music, but they do restrict the content of apps. Plain and simple.

Not yet, but I am sure they could if and ever there is a reason to.

Shadrack said,
Wow. Thats just really ridiculous. Apple: just implement an App rating system and stop this censorship hand picking!

Makes me like my Android just that much more. Maybe he will make an app for the Android market instead.

cyansky said,

Makes me like my Android just that much more. Maybe he will make an app for the Android market instead.

Most of the developers in the Istore do it cross platform (multi OS's) and that's what Apple is trying to stop. They want FULL control over their systems with proprietary software. See this way if they remove an App from the Istore they have the ability to remove it from your device also without your permission and likely without a refund and if you do get a refund the developer will have to pay you back the full price while Apple gets to keep their 30% cut from the sale of the App in the Istore that Apple removed because they didn't like something about it, like a cartoon for instance...

Hi, I'm an Apple.
R.I.P.