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Less than a month ago, Apple removed more than 5,000 apps from its iPhone and iPod App Store.  Apple’s reasoning: the apps included inappropriate content.

However, it seems that Apple was acting more in its interest than that of the public. Apple is highly protective of all its properties, especially its Apps Store. And that could pose problems for the company.

According to one news source, Apple’s offical reason for banning these apps is because they were deemed “sexually inappropriate.”  Some seemed to deserve the “inappropriate” donning while others were simply shooting for a cheap laugh.

By rejecting or removing this many apps at once, Apple received a lot of criticism from iPhone users, apps developers and the media.  Apple promptly responded to the public outcry by posting new guidelines to submitting apps, which can be viewed at MobileCrunch.

The new rules are controversial and hypocritical, even for Apple.  What’s more concerning, however, is the thinking behind this list and the rejection or removal of these apps: censorship. Apple seems to be increasing its censorship in regard to its apps.

The harder that Apple clamps down, the more likely it is that the company could be challenged. As Apple censors more material, its users and developers alike will find that their First Amendment rights are being infringed upon.  And if there’s one thing Americans don’t like, it’s having their First Amendment rights stripped from them.  Thus, if Apple continues its path down this slippery slope, it will likely find itself steeped in Constitutionally-based lawsuits.  Also, the more Apple alienates its users and developers, the more likely it is that they will simply leave Apple for another, less restricting alternative.


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.