Apple keeps you safe from dirty words

knife_musicHere is a nasty little side-effect of dedicated e-readers that few people, if any have addressed.  In addition to any and all deficiencies they might have compared to print, we have a situation in some cases where there’s a single portal through which data flows.  Apple has recently given us a glimpse of what could happen if all your media came from one source (be it iTunes, or Amazon, or whatever).  Gallycat gives us the story of David Carnoy’s self-published novel Knife Music.  Apparently the guy is tech savvy (he’s an editor at C-net) so he want’s to pimp an e-book version.  He wants it on the iPhone.  He makes it easy by embedding its own reader and putting it up at the Apple App Store.

Or, more precisely, he tries to.

Apparently his book violates the SDK agreement Apple imposes on developers for the iPhone.  “Objectionable content,” quoth Apple.  In the end, Mr. Carnoy wants the book on the iPhone badly enough that he edits out the objectionable content.   Yes, you read that correctly.  Apple wants to dictate what’s in the media played on their devices.  This means we all better hope that iTunes always has competition, otherwise you’re going to have Apple lawyers re-writing song lyrics.

2 Replies to “Apple keeps you safe from dirty words”

  1. The editor was smart for self-censoring his book to get it onto the iStore. While I’m against censorship by the government, I do believe businesses have the right to decide what they want to sell. I don’t think a business should be forced to sell something they don’t want to. No, I don’t want to see the Catholic bookstore forced to sell erotica (although some might argue it would sell well there…). It’s all about Capitalism – if enough people stop buying stuff from Apple because they don’t sell what the people want, then another business will come along and fill the void and Mr. self-published editor will have an avenue for his books as they are without toning them down.

    And before you get your creative nickers in a twist – you just censored a book you wrote for an editor! You toned down a lot of violence, I seem to remember, at the request of your editor. What’s the difference?

    And really, this made news because the editor saw it as a way to pimp his book. “I had to censor my book to get Apple to allow it to be sold.” Now it’s making its way around the blogosphere and people will remember the cover and the name KNIFE MUSIC when they are shopping on Apple. This editor is brilliant, he censors himself to get the book on the site, then cries about it and gets TONS of publicity for it. Brilliant.

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