Apple’s iBookstore censorship case: The distinction between porn and art

The distinction between porn and art is often in the eye of the beholder, wrote John Brownlee, cultofmac.com, in his comment on the latest censorship case of Apple’s iBookstore:

When Danish author Peter Øvig Knudsen submitted his latest work of non-fiction, ‘Hippie 2’, to the iBookstore, the e-book was rejected based upon the fact that it contained 47 photographs of hippies with exposed breasts, buttocks and genitals.

Knowing Apple’s strict and puritanical policy in order to keep anything resembling porn out of their stores, this could have been anticipated. But to Knudsen’s surprise, iBookstore also rejected his resubmitted version of the e-book, which featured all of the photos censored.

Apple’s problem with the second edition of the book was that Knudsen had used giant red apples to cover the hippies’ nude body parts. The self-censored e-book was removed from the iBookstore over the weekend without a word of explanation.

‘Hippie 2’ is a work of journalism that uses historical photographs to illustrate a specific time in Denmark’s history. “The case was already absurd, but it’s now difficult to find the words: is Apple really going to prevent authors from using apples to censor the very self-censorship they’re demanding authors perform?,” Peter Øvig Knudsen was quoted as saying.

 
“Dangerous when one player is dominant”
President of the Council of Danish Artists Henrik Petersen wrote the following as his comment on Apple’s decision not to distribute Peter Øvig Knudsen’s ‘Hippie’ book:

“You can not legislate for which e-books Apple should offer. Nevertheless, there is an important lesson to be learned from the narrow-minded and spineless decision Apple has taken on Peter Øvig Knudsen’s book – not just for artists and audience, but also for politicians.

Here, it is demonstrated at full scale, how dangerous it can be when one player is dominant in a market. Apple controls sovereignly on its platforms, and what is given to them. The market is extremely large, and it is not one bit too much to talk about artistic censorship when they exclude a book which content is not criminal. (…)

Peter Øvig Knudsen should be commended for his apple stunt where he showcased the company’s hypocrisy. Initially it could be seen as a prostration and self-censorship that he chose to edit the images, but because he did it with apples, he staged a protest which apparently even Apple was able to understand.”

 
cultofmac.com – 6 November 2012:
Apple Kicks Book About Hippies Off The Danish iBookstore For Using Apples To Censor Genitals
John Brownlee

 
The Globe and Mail – 21 November 2012:
Nudity, e-books and censorship: How Apple became Big Brother
The burgeoning trend of censorship in the cyber sphere has claimed another victim. By Michael Posner.

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