Bloomsday fans, hold off on ordering that Guinness round: Wednesday may be a cause for protest rather than celebration, especially if you’ve been trying to download that iPad webcomic adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses.
The day honours the lewd — yet transcendental — journey of fictional Dubliner Leopold Bloom, with readings and pub crawls. But commemorations are possibly marred by the censorship of the Irish literary classic in Apple’s App Store.
Thanks to Steve Jobs’ strict no-nudity clause, Rob Berry and Josh Levitas’s Ulysses Seen webcomic has been banned from iPhones and iPads, specifically for its cartoon nudity.
Of course, App Store censorship isn’t an isolated incident. Earlier this year, Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Mark Fiore saw his NewsToons iPhone app rejected by Apple, since its satirization of “public figures” violated the company’s iPhone Developer Program License Agreement.
Yet it doesn’t stop there. The no-nipples edict has affected edgy magazines like Vice and Dazed & Confused, the latter reportedly dubbing their magazine’s iPad version the “Iran edition,” as reported by Anna Leach of British tech blog ShinyShiny.
There are those that argue Apple’s right to such censorship.
Ever since Steve Jobs emailed Gawker’s Ryan Tate about his “Freedom of porn” App Store vision, many have countered that Apple has every right to its closed content garden, likening it to a mall or even a Wal-Mart.
But this goes against Jobs’ promise to media companies that the iPad would make paywalls and e-magazines a solution to print’s current toil.
Now that Apple is trying to cut out digital publishing favourite Adobe, as well as ensure a cut in mobile advertising with their iAd platform, print is now contending with a compromised future: no final say on their product — especially if it’s sold in Apple’s App Store.
Rea McNamara writes about the on/offline statuses of niches and subcultures. Follow her on Twitter @reeraw.