561.404.4350 info@sriplaw.com

CNet reports that Apple has begun refusing to give developers promo codes for iPhone applications rated 17+.

Apple allows its iPhone developers to request up to 50 promotional codes for their apps when they are uploaded to the App Store. The promo codes allow developers to do things like market their apps by providing codes to media outlets.

The codes were welcomed by developers, who were forced to build separate ad-hoc versions of their apps in order to give versions away. Even with the Apple imposed four-week time limit, the promo codes served a very important purpose.

With the release of iPhone OS 3.0, Apple implemented a rating system for apps it sells in the App Store. This allows users to adjust their parental controls on the iPhone, restricting the use and ability to download objectionable content.

According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple has made the promo code functionality unavailable for apps that fall into the 17+ category.  This developers in a bind and eliminates the potential amount of sales that could come from being able to distribute promo copies.

And if you’re thinking this just applies to the massive number of adult-oriented apps that have recently poured into the App Store, you’re wrong. Apple specifies that any application that may contain high levels of offensive language, violence, sexual content, or references to drugs or alcohol receive a rating of 17+. But, according to Apple, apps that feature an embedded web browser or provide access to 3rd party content also automatically require the 17+ rating, regardless of the application’s content or intended audience.


Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.