Apple is holding a press conference today to address consumer complaints about the iPhone 4. Great. But this blogger would also love to see some Apple executives discussing censorship in eBooks.
For a company that is so innovative and cutting edge when it comes to technology, it has taken a prudish approach to publishing. We reported that Apple censored a digital graphic novel adaptation of James Joyce’s classic Ulysses because it contained nudity. It wasn’t until after the publicity heated up, that they took it back.
The Huffington Post has a roundup of a number of other non-porn titles that were rejected by Apple because of “objectionable” language, gay themes and nudity, but then allowed after criticism hit the bloggosphere.
One such title with “objectionable” language is Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, about a “sperm” whale. From HuffPost: “The filter that Boing Boing calls Apple’s ‘naughty words filter’ seems to think so. In a silly mistake, the word ‘sperm’ was censored in the iBookstore description of Melville’s book, though, surprisingly, the word ‘Dick’ was left untouched…”. I would hate to read an eBook from the App store on “How To Get Pregnant.” It might be a little confusing.
Apple also banned Tom Bouden’s comic book adaptation of the Oscar Wilde play The Importance of Being Earnest because of kissing men. CNET editor David Carnoy’s thriller Knife Music was banned because the word “fuck” is used a few times. Both were eventually allowed in.
My personal favorite was an eReader app called “Eucalyptus,” which offered access to Project Gutenberg’s entire catalog of copyright-free books was rejected because it included the Kama Sutra. The app was accepted after Apple got bad press. Who would have thought that Apple would be the new Tipper Gore?