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Apple bans Cagle’s Tiger Woods cartoon app

Daryl Cagle has received word from Apple that his recently submitted Tiger Woods app has been rejected from the App Store.

Apple’s letter states,

Thank you for submitting Tiger Woods Cartoons to the App Store. We’ve reviewed Tiger Woods Cartoons and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains content that ridicules public figures and is in violation of Section 3.3.17 from the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement which states:

“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.”

Daryl’s previous app, “msnbc.com Cartoons” was stuck in app story purgatory for three months while they deliberated on whether to approve it or not. Other rejections are now legendary: Tom Richmond’s “Bobble Rep” and Mark Fiore’s “NewsToons” – which were only added after public outcry.

Daryl did get a call from Apple to explain the issue which he writes on his blog:

(Update 4/26/10 – I got a call this afternoon from a representative with Apple’s developer relations. He told me that they are familiar with our apps and are OK with all of our cartoons, including the Tiger Woods cartoons, appearing mixed into our general “msnbc.com Cartoons” app – but our Tiger Woods themed editorial app is going too far; Apple remains committed to their policy of not ridiculing public figures.)

His blog has cartoons of Tiger Woods that won’t be in App Store.

Community Comments

#1 Matt Forcum
April/27/2010
@ 9:06 am

Amazing. I honestly do not understand where Apple is going with this. It is their system, and I totally understand and agree that they should police it to keep it appropriate for all age groups. But “ridiculing of public figures”? How the heck are comics supposed to thrive on a device that seems determined to keep them off?

#2 Jeremy Creecy
April/27/2010
@ 12:46 pm

Its almost like a modern day Comics Code Authority. The CCA had similar rules regarding public officials and painting them in an unfavorable light. I really don’t see the iPad and other Apple devices being the next wave of publication until they take away such restrictions.

And like Matt, I fully understand that Apple is well within their rights to do this, I just don’t see how this type of censorship is good for artists in general, or good for Apple’s business. I don’t care to own a device that censors work, I’d rather censor it myself.

#3 Tom Wood
April/27/2010
@ 12:56 pm

Keep it up Apple. Please, please keep doing this.

Die iPad die!

#4 Ryan Sohmer
April/27/2010
@ 1:18 pm

I may be unpopular for saying this, but I agree with Apple’s decision this time. Cagle’s app is specifically going after one individual, and I believe this crosses a line.

This app seems more suited to a tabloid paper than editorial cartoonists, capitalizing on a celebrity/public figure’s disgrace.

It should be noted that I did disagree with Apple’s decisions to reject Richmond’s and Fiore’s apps.

#5 Matt Bors
April/27/2010
@ 2:06 pm

Of course most of the Tiger cartoons are complete garbage that do nothing to add informed commentary on any real issues the scandal could bring up – our bizarre sex hang ups, puritanical devotion to serial monogamy, celebrity worship, scandal obsessed culture, et al… and it’s a shame editorial cartoonists often choose lame gags like they did with Clinton’s sex scandal… but Ryan, how about letting individual users decide what they want to see and you and I can just forgo the Tiger app and get Fiore’s instead?

#6 Ryan Sohmer
April/27/2010
@ 2:14 pm

The App store isn’t the World Wide Web, it belongs wholly to Apple, and they have every right to decide what goes in and what doesn’t.

Apple doesn’t want pornography in their store either, even though the individual user can decide.

#7 Matt Bors
April/27/2010
@ 2:36 pm

Yeah, sure, it’s their sacrosanct Constitutional right as a corporate entity to reject apps that make jokes. Freedom USA #1. I get that.

I’m saying I disagree with their ridiculous decision and all artists – nay, Americans – should too. There shouldn’t be anything controversial about this app.

#8 Jim Thomas
April/27/2010
@ 2:47 pm

It sounds like MSNBC already has an app. Why don’t they just improve it to add categories? Problems solved, no?

Better questions to ask, are the cartoonists making any money by having their work in these apps? They aren’t giving their work away for free are they?

I seriously don’t know, and would seriously just like to know what the situation is.

#9 August J. Pollak
April/27/2010
@ 3:15 pm

“The App store isn?t the World Wide Web, it belongs wholly to Apple, and they have every right to decide what goes in and what doesn?t.”

I don’t think anyone disagrees with this. But apple also dominates the mobile phone market and to an even greater degree the mobile app market. A company having near-total control over the avenues to an entire realm of content distribution is bad even when Bill Gates doesn’t own the company.

Out of curiosity (seriously; this isn’t a gotcha attempt or anything here), what if LICD had some kind of distribution app? Not only do you make a comic that some far-right conservative might unfairly brand “pornographic,” you just did a two-week arc that focused on a single celebrity. Apple’s nondescript criteria would void your app for either of these two reasons. It’s not as much the here and now but the potential these policies have for stifling future content.

I’d love it if ultimately there was some kind of middle ground here. YouTube seems to have a robust system that prevents flat-out pornography while still using signups and account management to filter access to “controversial” content.

#10 Jim Thomas
April/27/2010
@ 5:20 pm

There is a middle ground. The middle ground is not to create an app that focuses on the defamation of one single person. As apple said it has no problem with the content of the msnbc comic app because it is not focused on any one person. Apple has allowed that general app to go through. Msnbc just needs to update their app to have categories and then they can run all the uninspired Tiger Woods hate comics it wants. I don’t see the argument for censorship when all these comics could run in the general app with no issue.

#11 Ryan Sohmer
April/29/2010
@ 12:36 pm

Sorry, didn’t mean to pull a Rall and disappear from the discussion. This cold is killing me.

In any event, I see what you guys are staying, but I stick to my point that Apple alone has the right to dictate what they will or won’t put up in their store, despite how popular their devices may be.

To August: You’re right, I’ve done plenty of arcs making fun of celebrities but I’ve never packaged those arcs as standalone and tried to put them in the app store.

Cagle already has an app that shows his cartoons, the new app was simply trying to capitalize on the Tiger Scandal.

#12 Ted Rall
April/29/2010
@ 1:31 pm

@Ryan: “Sorry, didn?t mean to pull a Rall and disappear from the discussion. This cold is killing me.

In any event, I see what you guys are staying, but I stick to my point that Apple alone has the right to dictate what they will or won?t put up in their store, despite how popular their devices may be.”

“Pull a Rall”? People have jobs. There are TV shows to watch. Nursing a TDC thread isn’t a responsibility.

No one disputes that Apple has the legal right to control what goes into their store. The point that people are making is that, given their control of a huge part of an important emerging media segment, they have an ethical responsibility to err on the side of greater openness.

Get better! Colds suck. Sure it’s not allergies? Allergies often trigger colds at this time of the year. I’ve discovered the joys of local honey…it really works.

#13 Scott Metzger
April/29/2010
@ 1:56 pm

“I?ve discovered the joys of local honey…it really works.”

I’ve tried that and it is very effective.

Plus I feel better knowing I’m supporting my friendly neighborhood bees, instead of heartless corporate bees.

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