Publishers fight Apple over striptease iPhone app

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Publishers fight Apple over striptease iPhone app

Post by popeye on Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:41 pm

German publisher in row with Apple over pin-ups in iPhone app



Conflict sparks debate about online censorship and highlights Apple's control over software platform


The International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP) is considering making a complaint to Apple over the computer firm's request that German publisher Springer censor the naked girls on one of its iPhone apps.

Springer-owned tabloid Bild's "Shake the Bild Girl" app allows iPhone users to undress a model. Each time the user shakes the phone, the girl strips an item of her clothing. While Bild features naked women daily in its pages, Apple ruled that the girls in its iPhone app should wear bikinis.

The Association of German Magazine Publishers (VDZ) asked FIPP last week to approach Apple over the issue. FIPP is debating the issue, but has no further comment at the moment.

The VDZ chief executive, Wolfgang Fuerstner, has warned that Apple's move might represent a move towards censorship. In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel he said: "Publishers can't sell their soul just to get a few lousy pennies from Apple." Bild Digital CEO Donata Hopfen agreed: "Today they censor nipples, tomorrow editorial content."

Apple asks publishers of general interest apps to respect its US "no nipples" policy. In November, German weekly Stern's app was dropped from the App Store due to an erotic photo gallery.

When Apple approached Bild in January, the publisher censored the PDF version of the paper programmed for the iPhone.

According to Doepfner, Springer is Apple's second biggest client worldwide after Google. And Springer makes good money via Apple. The "Shake the Bild Girl" app costs €1.59 a month and can be topped up with a PDF of the printed Bild for €3.99 a month. Springer's head of public affairs, Christoph Keese, said that the iPhone apps launched Bild and its other newspaper Die Welt have sold a total of more than 100,000 units.

Apple's intervention has made it clear to publishers that they find themselves in a new role in a digital world.

When Apple announced at the end of Feburary that it would "remove any overtly sexual content from the App Store", publishers had to follow that request. It is Apple that has final control over its platform, not the publishers.


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